Ole Miss quickly figured out a pattern of success for itself this season.

But, as the Rebels prepare to play at Georgia today, they’re also quickly realizing what happens when they deviate from the plan.

Point guard Jarvis Summers is shooting 11-of-34 from the field in his last three games, after making 30-of-56 in his previous five games. Marshall Henderson was fantastic at home against Missouri, but was 10-of-33 (and 8-of-26 from 3-point range) from the floor in road losses to Kentucky and Alabama.

Without those two leading the way, Ole Miss (16-8, 7-4 SEC) was in trouble and it led to three losses away from Tad Smith Coliseum.

“I met with Jarvis earlier, and I just need Jarvis to play with energy and with pop,” coach Andy Kennedy said. “I can’t allow the grind to wear him down. I didn’t feel like he played to the standard of which we’ve become accustomed, because he’s been an all-league player.

“He wasn’t on his best game at Alabama, Marshall continues to struggle on the road with shooting and if you’re not getting second and third-chance opportunities off the glass then ultimately you’re not going to be able to manufacture enough.”

It does not help Ole Miss’ case for a turnaround today that Georgia (13-10, 7-4) has quietly become a much better basketball team than many thought in January, when the Bulldogs were 6-6 with losses to Temple and Davidson. Instead, Georgia is tied with Ole Miss for third place in the SEC, and has already defeated Arkansas, LSU and Missouri — the first two at home. The Bulldogs have been the third-best defensive team in the SEC, giving up 100.2 points per 100 possessions, and are particularly strong defending the paint.

“They have guys that were (just) players last year, but now they are prominent in whether or not the Bulldogs win or lose,” Kennedy said. “It took them a little while in the non-league to figure that out. Once they got into league play, they figured it out.”

Ole Miss’ 67-64 loss to Alabama on Tuesday was greeted by some as proof the Rebels were not an NCAA Tournament team, and they were correct in it not helping their case (Alabama is the second sub-100 RPI loss of the season, though the Tide are close enough to the line to simply be a No. 51-100 loss). Ole Miss, according to all the experts, was not in the NCAA Tournament before Tuesday, and it’s not in it now. The Rebels can still play their way in, though; it’s just that now the margin for error has decreased, making today’s game essential.