After a tough week for the Ole Miss Rebels in which they lost two games to teams they’re chasing in the SEC–Florida and Kentucky–they’ll look to rebound at ‘The Tad’ tonight against in-state rival Mississippi State.
After a 6-0 start in SEC play, the Rebels got pounded twice this past week but there is still a chance to win the conference’s regular season championship. They have Arkansas to thank for that following the Razorbacks’ upset of the Florida Gators, 80-69. The loss handed the Gators their first conference loss of the season. Kentucky meanwhile has been proving itself time and time again after being written off by many experts. Granted the Wildcats haven’t played the toughest teams in conference but they’ve still managed their way to a 7-2 record, a half-game better than Ole Miss.
The Rebels were bounced from the Top-25 following their forgettable week and need a win tonight to get back on track. They need everyone’s favorite player, Marshall Henderson, to do what Marshall Henderson does–ignite his team and the Rebel faithful. And shoot. A lot. He’s a volume scorer, averaging 19.5 points per game while taking nearly 15 shots per game, but if he gets hot, as he has in the past, this one might be over at the half. He’s not bashful in hoisting up three-pointers either, something Mississippi State had better account for–he’s taken 10+ threes sixteen times this season and has connected on 36.2 percent of his shots beyond the arc.
He’s not the only Rebel the Bulldogs have to stop. Murphy Holloway is having quite a 2012-13 campaign as well, averaging a double-double with 14.6 points and 10.1 rebounds a game. The only part of his game that’s lacking is his free throws He shoots exactly what he shoots from the floor from the line–52.6%. If Ole Miss has a lead late in the game and it’s actually still a game, look for the Bulldogs to foul. Often.
Mississippi State is having a forgettable season, sitting at 2-6 in conference, only a half-game better than cellar-dwelling South Carolina. They’ve dropped six straight SEC games and are one of just three teams in the conference with losing overall records. Their offense stinks (61 ppg), they can’t shoot (40.7 FG%) and they don’t rebound well (34.4 rpg).
This one has all the making of an blowout in favor of the home team. It is, however, a rivalry game, which could even it out a little. A win over Ole Miss would be the silver lining on an otherwise dark cloud of a season for the Bulldogs.
Henderson and Co. are sure to get this home crowd hyped from the tip and I look for this one to be over at the half.