USA TODAY Sports
|Ole Miss O||Mizzou D||Mizzou O||Ole Miss D|
|eFG%||50.2% (103)||43.2% (26)||50.9% (81)||42.6% (17)|
|TO%||16.1% (11)||16.7% (325)||18.2% (62)||23.6% (45)|
|OR%||37.3% (44)||29% (66)||42.3% (8)||31.2% (144)|
|FTR||39.9 (83)||23.4 (8)||32.0 (253)||34.9 (155)|
To say that Saturday’s nights tussle with the #10 Missouri Tigers is just a "big game" is an understatement. With the overall conference strength of the SEC low, this game – along with a 2nd game against Missouri and games against UK and Florida – is one of the few chances left to get an RPI-boosting signature win in the regular season. Couple that with the fact that the Rebs will likely be jostling with Mizzou for one of the top 3 spots in the conference, and this is as close to a must-win game as you can have in the 2nd game of an 18-game conference season.
The Rebs catch the Tigers at an opportune time as leading scorer/rebounder Laurence Bowers will miss tomorrow’s game with a sprained knee. Fortunately for the Tigers, it’s not a severe injury and he’s only expected to miss 2 games, but from the Rebels’ viewpoint, this is something that they have to take advantage of. Frontcourt mate Alex Oriakhi is formidable as well, but so far this season, hasn't had to produce without the aid of Bowers' presence.
Just looking at the Four Factors, you can tell how important Bowers is to them (More on that from ESPN’s Andy Katz here). Mizzou has been dominant on the glass all season, particularly on the offensive end. While Phil Pressey is arguably the best PG in the country, he’s a poor shooter who has benefited from Bowers and company dominating the offensive glass. If Holloway plays as he typically does and Buckner continues his monstrous play of late, that aspect of the Tigers’ game should be neutralized. Tennessee boasted impressive rebounding numbers heading into Wednesday’s night game and the Rebels dominated them in category.
Missouri, also like Tennessee, guards shooters well (43.2% defensive eFG%) but doesn’t force a lot of turnovers. While the Rebels were a little sloppier than usual in Knoxville, they have been very good at protecting the ball this year, and that should continue tomorrow night. Both Mizzou and Ole Miss have very similar eFG% numbers on both sides of the court. With that in mind, the turnover battle is key.
Where Mizzou differs from the Vols is their inability to get to the FT line. They score only 18.8% of their points from the foul line, which is a surprising stat considering how dominant their front court has been. They have done an incredible job of keeping opponents off the line as well. The mindset for the Rebs has to be the same as Wednesday night against UT – attack, attack, and attack some more.
We’ve got to start the offense from inside out. Put the pressure on Missouri to adjust to life without Bowers from the opening tip. Keep the pressure on Pressey. He averages more than 7.5 apg, but he’s also had 4 games of 5+ turnovers. Mizzou was on fire the other night against Alabama – an eFG% of 65.1%! – but Alabama is reeling right dropping 6 of their last games. The Rebels seem to be rounding into their own and should hold up much better against Missouri’s attack.
Ole Miss 78 Missouri 62
Tad Smith Coliseum is as loud and raucous as it has been since 2001. If Marshall Henderson gets hot, hide the women and children because the roof of the place is coming down
Martavious Newby plays 10+ minutes. Not coincidentally, Pressey has 7 turnovers
Reginald Buckner locks up SEC Player of the Week after flirting with a Big Man’s Triple-Double – 16 points, 13 rebounds, 7 blocks
(As always, the national rankings pulled from kenpom.com, quite possibly the coolest site on the whole wide intertubes... Red Cup Rebellion excluded of course)