Ole Miss basketball cracks Top 25 rankings for first time since 2019

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The Ole Miss men’s basketball team has reached the top 25 for the first time since 2019.

Coming in at No. 25 in the latest USA Today Coaches Poll, first-year head coach Chris Beard’s crew has started the season with a perfect 9-0 record featuring wins against NC State, Memphis, and most recently, a 70-68 victory over Central Florida on Sunday.

“We’re just trying to trend in the right direction. Certainly, to win these nine games to start the season is a credit to our guys,” Beard said following the UCF game.

“I do think we’re a team that’s gonna have to demand some respect. We’ve won a lot of games … There’s not a lot of narrative on our team right now. I think our guys are using that. We appear to be a team that has a little bit of a chip on our shoulder right now. That’s good.”

Last season, the Rebels only won 10 total games, and the lack of victories ultimately led to the program parting ways with former head coach Kermit Davis.

With a change in leadership and the addition of six newcomers from the transfer portal to join veterans Matthew Murrell, Jaemyn Brakefield, and TJ Caldwell, Ole Miss has had a red hot start to the 2023-2024 season that has included six victories by three or fewer points.

Leading the way for the Rebels is Auburn transfer Allen Flanigan, who is averaging 18 points and 6.9 rebounds. Saint Peter’s transfer Jaylen “Juju” Murray, who has taken the role of point guard, is averaging 4.3 assists per game. Seven-foot-five center and Western Kentucky transfer Jamarion Sharp’s 2.3 blocks per game is the most on the team.

Ole Miss, though only one of seven remaining unbeaten teams in the nation, has not yet cracked the Associated Press Top 25 but did receive 86 votes in the most recent rankings.

Beard’s squad will have an opportunity to amass as many wins as the team did one season prior and earn a spot in the AP rankings on Saturday in a road match against California in San Antonio, Texas. That game will tip off at 6:30 p.m. central and will be broadcast on the SEC Network as well as participating SuperTalk Mississippi stations.

The full USA Today Coaches poll can be viewed below (Not 25 teams here?):

  1. Arizona
  2. Kansas
  3. Utah
  4. Purdue
  5. UConn
  6. Baylor
  7. Marquette
  8. Creighton
  9. North Carolina
  10. Tennessee
  11. Clemson
  12. Oklahoma
  13. Gonzaga
  14. Florida Atlantic
  15. Kentucky
  16. Illinois
  17. BYU
  18. Colorado State
  19. Duke
  20. James Madison
  21. Virginia
  22. Texas
  23. Wisconsin
  24. Miami
  25. Ole Miss

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