Here's how the Rebels (6-0) match up with the Kansas State Wildcats (4-3) using the Four Factors. (National Rank in Parentheses)
|OM O||KSt D||KSt O||OM D|
|eFG%||51.2% (111)||44.1% (37)||46.3% (268)||43.8% (31)|
|TO%||14.7% ( 30)||21.2% (39)||20.6% (279)||19.6% (108)|
|OR%||33.2% (136)||33.5% (226)||35.4% (79)||30.5% (135)|
|FTR||43.5 (139)||44.3 (224)||47.9 (78)||37.3 (120)|
Official Preview from OleMissSports.com is here.
The Rebels take their undefeated record on the road tonight to take on the Kansas State Wildcats in the inaugural SEC/Big 12 Challenge. It's been an up and down season for Bruce Weber's Wildcats, but this is still a dangerous team that poses a real challenge for the Rebels.
Glancing at the Four Factors, it's easy to see why the team has been up and down this year. Anything they do well on one end of the court, they do poorly on the opposite end. All their national ranks are either top 80 or 224+. Teams are only shooting 44.1% eFG% against this year, which is very good, but they shoot only 46.3% eFG%. They force a lot of turnovers, but then turn it over just as much. Looking deeper, opponents are coming up with steals on 10.8% of K-State possessions this year, which leads to a lot of transition points.
The Wildcats are led offensively by 6'2 freshman Marcus Foster (14 ppg, 4 rpg, 50.7% eFG%). 6'7 senior Thomas Gipson (11.4 ppg, 5 rpg, 55% eFG%) is playing very well after missing some time early on in the season and has scored 18, 18, and 17 in his last 3 games on 60% eFG% shooting. Outside of those two though, KSU has trouble scoring efficiently. Shane Southwell (41.5% eFG%) and Will Spradling (45.7% eFG%) each average about 9 ppg, but need a lot of shots to get there. In fact, KSU shoots just 26.6% from the 3-point line, which ranks 326th in the country. The Rebels eFG% defense has been amongst the best in the country, which poses a bad matchup for the Wildcats. The Rebels haven't been great rebounding the ball defensively this season, which is likely a key point on AK's game plan tonight - limiting 2nd chance opportunities.
For the Rebels to continue their surprising undefeated start, they will need to continue to play smart, efficient offense and not give the Wildcats the opportunity to score off a steal. So far, the Rebels have 6 major contributors shooting better than 50% eFG% for the season: Marshall Henderson (50.8%), Jarvis Summers (64.3%), Anthony Perez (51.7%), Demarco Cox (63.3%), and Martavious Newby (62.5%). That, coupled with a very low TO Rate (14.7%), has led to a very efficient, balanced scoring attack for the Rebels. That efficiency and balance will likely be too much for KSU to handle, even on their home court.
(Sure to be terribly, terribly wrong) Predictions:
Ole Miss 75, Kansas State 64
Rebels attack the basket offensively early and often, going right at the Wildcats' smaller and thinner frontcourt
The Rebels block a season low number of shots, but still hassle KSU into a sub 45% eFG% shooting night
Henderson gonna Henderson
(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)