|Ole Miss O||AU D||AU O||Ole Miss D|
|eFG%||47.1% (9)||51.2% (13)||51.4% (2)||45.7% (5)|
|TO%||16.7% (1)||18.2% (12)||20.8% (7)||21.9% (7)|
|OR%||32.6% (5)||34.4% (12)||25.1% (14)||29.3% (4)|
|FTR||49.8 (1)||35.7 (9)||31.2 (11)||32.3 (8)|
After yet another come-from-behind victory last night, the Rebels move on to step 2 of the dreaded Thursday-Saturday-Tuesday scheduling quirk, this time heading down to Auburn. The Rebels are clearly the superior team, particularly on defense, but this game has TRAP! written all over it. Consider:
- Coming off the high of a hard-fought emotional game Thursday night
- Travelling to Auburn with a quick turnaround. Teams are just 1-3 this year on Saturday after playing on Thursdays
- Super Tuesday showdown with Kentucky looming
- What could be a national showcase game next Saturday in Gainesville, depending on how the next two games go
Offensively, the Rebels matchup very well against Auburn. The Tigers have been unable to rebound effectively or force turnovers on defense and teams are shooting a blistering 51.3% eFG% through 5 games in conference. The Rebels have gotten to the FT Line better than any other SEC team in conference play and have converted – 71.4% - once they’ve gotten there. The Rebs score a higher % of their points from the FT Line – 27.1% - than any other team in conference.
Overall, Auburn has shot the ball very well in conference, but it hasn’t translated into wins. After a strong 2-0 start and dropping a 2OT thriller in Fayetteville, the offense has sputtered badly in losses at home to UK and @Vandy. The Tigers don’t rebound the ball well on offense either and struggle to get to the line, meaning when they don’t hit the first shot a possession, it’s unlikely they score. Reginald Buckner should control the paint in this one. Murphy Holloway should definitely get back to his usual self as being held to a season-low 8 points last night.
Auburn is led by do-everything guard Frankie Sullivan, who is playing what has to be his 8th season on the Plains. I swear he’s been there forever. He’s averaging 17.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.1 apg. He’s not an efficient scorer 46.7% eFG% - but he’s still a guy you have to know where he is. Big man Rob Chubb (insert your own joke here) is having a solid senior campaign with 10.8 ppg and 7.8 rpg, including 4 straight double figure point games and 2 double-doubles in the same stretch.
Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t think twice about this game. We should win this on the strength of Jarvis Summers’ ball control and the presence of Buck and Murph in the middle. Throw in the hot shooting of Marshall Henderson, and there’s no legitimate reason to think Auburn should win this game. Fortunately for the Rebels, Auburn plays at a only slightly slower pace (69.2) than the Rebels have averaged in conference (71.8). I expect that Tony Barbee will attempt to junk it up some, but if the Rebels start to push the pace, the Tigers are likely to follow.
(Sure to be terribly, terribly wrong) Predictions
Ole Miss 76 Auburn 65
The Rebels attempt 15 more FTs than Auburn and have a +12 rebounding margin
Murphy has a monster double double – 16 points, 15 rebounds. He may even score going to his right.
Either Nick Williams or Snoop White will hit for 10+ points
(As always, the conference rankings pulled from kenpom.com, quite possibly the coolest site on the whole wide intertubes... Red Cup Rebellion excluded of course)