The roundball Rebels, reeling from the most Ole Missian loss this young calendar year after falling to Auburn in double overtime by one point, return to the Tad Pad to take on the nationally-ranked archrival Mississippi State Bulldogs. Ole Miss hasn't defeated Mississippi State in like two years or something - I dunno, I kinda lost count there for a while - and doesn't look like a team capable of ending that streak in 2012. Still, there are a few keys to a Rebel victory, all of which would need to take place tonight to give Ole Miss a chance.
For starters, the game will be close. State seems to play down or up, depending on the competition. Their recent two-point victory over Utah State and their early season loss to Akron serve as testaments to such. Similarly, their two-point loss to the now top-five Baylor Bears and their four-point win over Alabama both serve as testaments to this. Ole Miss, like every opponent State has had this year, could legitimately keep this game interesting all the way into the final minutes.
Dee Bost will have to be forced to make poor shots and decisions. This won't be at all easy, as Bost is one of the conference's best guards, but the stingier-than-normal Rebel defense should, at the very least, force him to earn whatever open looks he gets.
Arnett Moultrie is, for all intents and purposes, unstoppable. Just keep the ball away from him. To have an idea of what he is capable of, imagine a guy with Murphy Holloway's presence, motor, and basketball acumen, but bigger. He'll likely have a double-double against Ole Miss tonight. Also getting a double-double tonight (I call it a meat cube) will be Renardo Sidney, who should as well look to earn double-digit statistics in two significant categories.* He seems to play very well against Ole Miss every time he takes the floor against us.
As far as our offense goes, we'll need to be lightning fast with the ball. We will need to be able to score from a distance, something which has been a bit of a luxury since CousCous' dismissal. If Nick Williams, Jarvis Summers, and (gulp) Maurice Aniefiok can keep them honest from beyond the arc, we'll be able to distribute the ball well enough amongst Terrence Henry, Murphy Holloway, Reginald Buckner, and Jalen Kendrick.
Speaking of Kendrick, tonight would be a wonderful opportunity for him to McDonalds All-American it up for us, don't you think?
As you can see, it's a bit of a long shot for a Rebel victory, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't make it out to the Tad Pad if you can tonight. It will be a lot of fun, I imagine.
OLE MISS VS. MISSISSIPPI STATE
TAD SMITH COLLISEUM
8:00 PM CENTRAL
SCORE PREDICTION: Ole Miss 59 - Mississippi State 65
*What I've done here, you see it. It involves Renardo Sidney being fat, which he is. Also, he's disgusting. Also, he's foul. Also, he's a hothead. Also, he hates Ole Miss' guts - like, hates us. He'll go off on us unless he a) fouls out early or b) gets ejected for biting Reginald Buckner.