Rebels rocket into poll for first time since 2013; Bulldogs drop 10 spots to No. 24

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Ole Miss wrapped up a great week with a win over archrival Mississippi State on Saturday. It started the next one with more good news.

The Rebels entered the Associated Press Top 25 poll for the first time in five years on Monday, coming in at No. 18 after a pair of wins over Top 15 teams Auburn and Mississippi State.

It’s the program’s first ranking since spending two weeks in the Top 25 in January 2013. The Rebels did not receive a single vote in the poll last week.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Also getting recognition was Ole Miss forward Terence Davis. He was named the Southeastern Conference’s Player of the Week after averaging 19.5 points in the 82-67 win over then-No. 11 Auburn and the 81-77 victory over then-No. 14 Mississippi State.
Against Auburn, Davis recorded team highs in points (27) and rebounds (12) while earning the first double-double by a Rebel this season.

Davis had 12 points against Mississippi State as Ole Miss beat back-to-back ranked teams for the first time since the 2002-03 season.

Ole Miss (13-2, 3-0 SEC) has won 10 consecutive games. It will host LSU (12-3, 2-0) on Tuesday and Arkansas (10-5, 1-2) on Saturday. Five of its next seven games are at home.

While Ole Miss is surging, Mississippi State (12-3, 0-2) is trying to regain its footing after a difficult week.

The Bulldogs have dropped their first two SEC games after winning nine in a row coming into conference play. They dropped 10 spots in the AP poll to No. 24, the biggest slide this week among ranked teams.

After the loss to Ole Miss, Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said subpar defense — particularly in the frontcourt — was at the root of the team’s recent struggles.
South Carolina forward Maik Kostar had 25 points and nine rebounds in an 87-82 overtime win over the Bulldogs. Ole Miss power forward Blake Hinson had 26 points and made five 3-pointers.

Mississippi State did not allow an opponent to score more than 80 points in any of its first 10 games. It has given up at least 81 in four of its last five.

“This is two games in a row now where we’ve had the power forward on the opposing team have career nights against our defense,” Howland said. “I’ve always been a coach that believes defense wins first. We really did a poor job of defending here in the last few games and even our efficiency defensively on the year is not even close to what we’re doing offensively. Defensively, we’ve got to get better.”

Elsewhere in the AP poll, Duke remained firmly entrenched at No. 1 for a fourth straight week. That gave coach Mike Krzyzewski his 122nd week at No. 1 in the AP poll, breaking a tie with the late UCLA coach John Wooden for the most in poll history.
Duke had set a program record for most weeks at No. 1 in the AP poll in November, also by passing UCLA.

Behind Duke, second-ranked and unbeaten Michigan earned nine first-place votes, third-ranked Tennessee had 13 and Virginia — the only other unbeaten team — had the remaining six. That quartet is significantly ahead of the rest of the field, with the gap between the Cavaliers and No. 5 Gonzaga (158 points) being bigger than that between Duke and Virginia (85 points).

Virginia plays at Duke on Saturday.

Michigan State, Kansas, Texas Tech, Virginia Tech and Nevada rounded out the top 10 for a second straight week.

The changes started from there after a week that saw 12 of the 15 teams outside the top 10 lose at least once, with five of those losing twice, and combining for 17 losses.

Three teams — No. 19 Maryland, No. 22 Villanova and No. 23 Iowa — returned to the poll after appearances earlier this season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


6 p.m. ESPN – Kentucky at Georgia
6 p.m. ESPN2 – Arkansas at Tennessee
6 p.m. SEC Network – Florida at Mississippi State (Radio: 105.5 FM)
8 p.m. SEC Network – LSU at Ole Miss (Radio: 1490 AM/107.7 FM)
6 p.m. ESPNU – Auburn at Texas A&M
6 p.m. SEC Network – South Carolina at Vanderbilt
8 p.m. SEC Network – Alabama at Missouri