Imperfect Perfection

Ole Miss is off to a blistering 12-0 perfect start and is finding many different ways to close out games. However, the Rebels are failing to excel in a few key areas. Go inside for a look at where Ole Miss needs to improve before SEC play begins.

Free throw shooting

The good news is that the Rebels are averaging 86 points per game while failing to capitalize on opportunities at the charity stripe. The bad news is, well, they are failing to capitalize on opportunities at the charity stripe. A modest 66 percent free throw percentage has frustrated Andy Kennedy and let teams hang around with Ole Miss this season. Against Southern Miss Friday, the Rebels converted only 11-21 attempts, including three misses on the front end of one-and-one tries in the second half. Conversely, USM blistered the nets from the foul line and kept the game in doubt for 35 minutes. Other teams' good fortunes on freebies only magnifies the Rebels' troubles, and there have been plenty of chances to witness thanks to…

Too many fouls

Ole Miss used its exemplary depth to overcome foul trouble against the Golden Eagles and several other occasions this season, but the depth is more effective to wear teams down and sub in different rotations. Also, certain players need to avoid foul trouble whenever possible. Brian Smith is invaluable as an experienced guard surrounded by underclassmen at his position, but he needs to give Chris Warren a breather, not replace him because of foul trouble early in the second half. Warren's speed can't be duplicated by anyone else on the roster. Trevor Gaskins and Jermey Parnell top the team with 32 fouls apiece, while Dwayne Curtis should be credited for being only sixth on the team in fouls committed. Curtis does a good job of taking charges and knows when to attempt it. The guards have the biggest issue with fouling away from the basket because of…

Poor perimeter defense

Quick guards that have the ability to score are doing a nice job of beating the Ole Miss defense off the dribble. The end result is an open look, a reach-in foul or a difficult defensive move by a forward to slide over and pick up the slasher. This area will improve over time because of the inexperience factor in the backcourt, but with games against Chris Lofton of Tennessee and Jamont Gordon of State upcoming, addressing the weakness isn't a bad thing.

Considering it is the first 12-0 start in school history, there are infinitely more positives than negatives with the Rebels, but some inefficiency is present as well as some unknowns. Like how the young Rebels will handle the first loss or a truly hostile crowd, but those will be answered later. And for the first loss, hopefully much later.

The zero is pretty perfect right now.

OM Spirit Top Stories