SEC basketball play begins today without Ole Miss, but the Rebels won’t exactly be sitting and watching.

Ole Miss faces No. 24 Wichita State in a 3:05 p.m. tip at Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, Kansas. The game is part of a scheduling alliance between the American Athletic Conference and the SEC and will air on ESPNU.

The Shockers will play at Ole Miss next December.

Wichita State (12-1) has won 57 of its last 58 home games, including 12 straight.

The Shockers have already defeated five teams that played in last year’s NCAA Tournament, including an 80-75 neutral site win against Oklahoma, which eliminated Ole Miss last year in Columbia, South Carolina.

Ole Miss will begin SEC play on Tuesday at Texas A&M.

“Yeah, you probably would just like to get into it and try to get on the same schedule, but Wichita State’s going to be like a really, really difficult SEC road game,” Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said.

The Shockers were challenged at home Wednesday night in a 75-69 win over East Carolina.

The Rebels (9-3) are coming off an 80-63 home win over Tennessee Tech on Sunday in which they trailed 32-31 at halftime.

Davis sees improvement in his team’s sharing of the basketball but questioned their physicality coming out of the Tennessee Tech game.

Ole Miss leads the SEC in assists at 16.8 per game but sits just ninth in both scoring offense and scoring defense.

Rebels center Khadim Sy and backup guard Austin Crowley both missed practice time earlier this week with flu-like symptoms but have since returned.

Wichita State’s entire first five is averaging at least 8.9 points a game. The Shockers play three true centers at least 11 minutes a game.

Guard Erik Stevenson, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, leads Wichita State with 12.9 points a game and has 25 steals over the last three games.

Davis believes his team made gains in physicality this week.

“Because of no school we’ve done some individual work in the mornings. We’ve been more physical trying to improve ball screen defense. We play Wichita State and it’s going to be a rebounding game, a 50-50 ballgame because of the physical nature they’ve had for many years,” he said.

parrish.alford@journalinc.com

Twitter: @parrishalford

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