Iowa State takes on Ole Miss Saturday down in Oxford in the Big 12-SEC Challenge. So we went to those who know Ole Miss the best with a few questions. One Man to Beat, a writer for Red Cup Rebellion took it upon himself to let us all know about Ole Miss.
1) After a 12-20 record last season, the fans have to be pleased with the improvement into this season. What has been the biggest factor in the turn around this year?
Well, so last year was just a dumpster fire honestly. The team got off to a slow start, and once Andy Kennedy decided to step down, there was no way the interim was going to be brought back as a head coach. To me, when AK lost one of his key assistants, Bill Armstrong, to LSU he was put onto a collision course with disaster. Armstrong was a good cop to Kennedy’s bad cop and had the player’s confidence more than anyone in the program from what I understand. I think Kermit Davis has come in and said the past is in the past, we’ve got a clean slate and no one expects you to do anything - let’s go play ball. They were underestimated early on, and now the Rebels are getting everyone’s best shot.
2) Who should Iowa State fans worry more about? Breein Tyree or Terence Davis?
What a great question - Tyree for sure is a great scorer, and both have the ability to get up and down the floor in a hurry. However, TD is the heart and soul of the team as the senior leader, and when he has a truly great game, he is capable of scoring 25+ points, getting 5+ assists and grabbing double digit rebounds. He very nearly had a triple double against Arkansas in Oxford last week, so he is an all around threat when he is on.
3) After the loss to Alabama, what will be the key for the rest of the season for Ole Miss to capture an SEC Title?
Tennessee and Kentucky will need to forget how to play basketball. I don’t think we match up well with either of them as their bigs are more talented, but Ole Miss is also extremely thin on depth across the board. We have several unproven young players who would be forced into tough situations if an injury reared its ugly head. Rebels need to stay healthy and get a whopping spoonful of luck for a title to come to Oxford.
4) Do you miss Marshall Henderson? That guy was fun to watch.
There’s fans that thought Marshall was embarrassing, just wanted him to play and become a better player. Those people are honestly joyless and depressing to be around, and I am not one of them. As a fan, I want players who have a ton of emotion, let it fly and are huge risk/reward guys. It’s a game, go have fun and let us live vicariously through you for two hours. When you’re beating the brakes off Florida in the SEC Championship, do the gator chomp at half-court because that’s what we would want to do if we were you.
5) What is the thing to drink for Iowa State fans that may be down in Oxford on Saturday.
You can’t go wrong with a mint julep I suppose, which was William Faulkner’s drink of choice. His recipe is scrawled somewhere in Rowan Oaks right off campus in Oxford. I’m pretty sure it is just bourbon, mint leaves and a tablespoon or two of sugar - ole Billy Faulkner was looking to get tight. If you’re a craft beer kind of person, there’s The Growler on the historic Oxford square that has plenty of options that are locally brewed and sourced in as well.
6) What is the perception of Iowa State in Mississippi? Can we get some tailgating wars going?
Honestly, Ole Miss is known for the Grove and its tailgating. If you come for us on tailgating, you best be ready. I am not sure of the perception of Iowa State outside of knowing Seneca Wallace, Marcus Fizer and the past two football seasons. I would imagine Iowa State folks as being fairly down to earth, take it or leave it, good people if I was pressed for an answer. Whether its Ole Miss or ISU, both fanbases are full of tough people willing to endure the heartache of following traditionally less than high performing programs.