|Ole Miss O||UF D||UF O||Ole Miss D|
|eFG%||45.7% (10)||38.4% (1)||60.3% (1)||46.8% (3)|
|TO%||15.2% (1)||24.7% (2)||18% (2)||19.1% (10)|
|OR%||34.9% (4)||23.2% (1)||35.3% (2)||29.4% (4)|
|FTR||42.3 (2)||28.6 (4)||22.5 (14)||37.3 (8)|
It’s been a long week for the Rebels. Aside from suffering their first SEC loss, they lost their top two reserves in Nick Williams (out indefinitely with a torn ligament in his foot) and Aaron Jones (gone for season with a torn ACL). The Rebels have options to replace Williams’ minutes, but not to replace his experience. The Jones injury is particularly damaging as he was a real force on defense. When he learns to finish stronger around the rim, he will be a very solid SEC player. While Reginald Buckner gets all the attention for blocked shots – as he should – Aaron Jones Block% (10.0%) is only slightly less than Buck’s 10.5%.
(Demarco Cox has been cleared to play, but he won't be in game shape for tonight. I was hoping for a medical redshirt for Cox this season, but with AJ gone, I'm not sure that's an option any more.)
Pile on top of that the surfacing of more details on Marshall Henderson’s past and now a trip to Gainesville to tangle with a ridiculously-efficient-on-both-ends-of-the-floor Gators team, and it’s very forgivable to start looking ahead to next week’s home thrashing of state.
It’s hard to know where to begin when you look at this Gators team. They are 7-0 in conference with margins of victory of 33,22,21,31,17,35, and 39. I’ll grant you the SEC is down this year, but that’s a +28.2 ppg scoring differential. Ken Pomeroy’s site ranks UF #1 and has 3 Gators in the top 10 of his player of the year rankings. They have 5 guys averaging 9+ ppg.
So far in SEC play, they’ve scored 39.6% of their points from 3-pointers. Conversely, they rarely get to the FT Line. The Rebels FTR is nearly double that of UF, but when you sport a 60.3% eFG%, you don’t really need to get to the line much to score efficiently. Couple that with being the best defensive-rebounding team in conference and the 2nd best offensive-rebounding team, and those scoring differentials become easier to explain.
Let’s be blunt. It’s unlikely that our beloved Rebels win this game. Henderson could come out and be unconscious from the opening tip and Buck and Murph could give them trouble down low for a time, but this Florida team is relentless machine. They just keep scoring. They’ve played a 56-possession game all the way up to a 72-possession game so far in conference and haven’t won by less than 17, so style doesn’t matter. AK and his staff need to work on a rotation with Williams and Jones out. Anthony Perez, Martavious Newby, and Terry Brutus are all going to see a significant bump in minutes with the current injury situation. Might as well throw them into the fire in Gainesville.
(Sure to be terribly, terribly wrong) Predictions:
Florida 84 Ole Miss 69
Rebels stay close for a little bit, but run out of gas
Murphy breaks out of his 2-game slump with a double-double
Martavious Newby makes his first FG since December 14… and makes a few more to go along with it
At least two commenters on this board will call for AK’s job
(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)