Big hoops game today

It's very natural that the dismissal of Ed Orgeron and hiring of Houston Nutt has taken center stage in the last week, but don't forget what's taking place at Tad Smith Coliseum. There's a huge non-conference game with 7-0 New Mexico at 1 p.m. today.

Financially and numbers-wise, football rings the dinner bell in Ole Miss athletics.

Nobody suggests anything differently.

So it comes as no surprise the firing of Ole Miss Football Coach Ed Orgeron and the quick hiring of new Rebel Football Coach Houston Nutt have grabbed all the headlines since the Rebels gave the Egg Bowl to Mississippi State a week ago.

There haven't been many weeks like this - from the lowest low to an extreme high - and only one football game has been played in the whole process.

You already know our thoughts on the football sitaution. In a nutshell, a firing that had to be done, a statement hire that also had to be done. Kudos all the way around.

There is really nothing more to be said about football until Coach Nutt lets us know who will be included on his Ole Miss staff. Nothing but speculation, that is.

The current players seem elated, as we reported. Yancy is digging around trying to get info on the recruits to get their pulse on the firing-hiring. AD Pete Boone is scrambling making sure he's got enough money to pay all the salary obligations UMAA now has.

Beyond that, there is absolutely nothing going on in football tomorrow.

So, here's what's awfully, immediately important.

Andy Kennedy's men's basketball team is hosting New Mexico in Tad Smith Coliseum at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Both teams are undefeated - the Rebels are 5-0, New Mexico is 7-0 under Coach Steve Alford.

Former Kansas Jayhawk standout J.R. Giddens leads New Mexico in scoring while sophomore Eniel Polynice leads the Rebs.

Kennedy's troops are averaging 96.4 points per game, second in the nation. Let me repeat - 2nd in the nation in scoring. Here. At Ole Miss - home of the 59-56 game.

Ole Miss shooting 51.9% from the field, which is tops in the SEC.

The Rebels have a good mix of old and new. The senior frontline of Jermey Parnell, Dwayne Curtis and Kenny Williams can be formidable, but a lot of the fun is being provided by a young backcourt, led by Eniel Polynice, Chris Warren, David Huertas and Trevor Gaskins.

Kennedy has developed - in just a season and a piece - a lot of excitement with his troops. Don't blink, you could miss two baskets and a steal.

So, what's the problem?

I understand football just ended. I understand our non-conference hoops schedule has not been mouth-watering to fans. I understand football is king.

But our crowds at hoops games, in my humble opinion, have been crappy, overall.

For those who have been attending, this is not meant for you. You have done your part by having your rear end in a seat, which is all any one individual can do.

It's those who are waiting until the Rebs get into SEC play who are drawing my tisk-tisk-tisk.

New Mexico is a formidable foe. We have a young team who needs to know we care, needs to hear us shake the rafters of "our" house, and needs to see fans who aren't disguised as empty seats.

Houston Nutt is going to hit the ground running, but not until Sunday at the earliest. We may or may not know who his assistants are going to be until Monday or later. There's little that can be said until we do know.

Personally, I'm going to put football on the back burner for 24 hours.

The Rebel basketball team, unlike the football team, hasn't lost a game. They are busting their tails every day to put an exciting, winning product on the court.

They deserve to be seen.

They deserve for us to be there today when they face their first "major" test of the year.

I told some members of the athletic department I was going to lie to get ya'll to come to the game. I was going to say Houston Nutt is going to be there with his frisbee catching bassett hound.

But that wouldn't work. The basketball team needs you there based on their merit, their so-far undefeated season, their excitement and their ability.

Don't lay around the house tomorrow waiting on a football game you really don't care about to come on. Go support the Rebels.

You'll have a lot more fun and a vested, emtional interest.

See you there.

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