|Ole Miss O||Vanderbilt D||Vanderbilt O||Ole Miss D|
|eFG%||48.7% (5)||45.7% (4)||47.7% (8)||49.9% (11)|
|TO%||25.8% (1)||17.4% (11)||19.5% (7)||19.8% (8)|
|OR%||32.4% (6)||28.5% (2)||38.7% (11)||32.1% (8)|
|FTR||40.9 (4)||31.2 (4)||36.5 (7)||30.2 (3)|
The Rebels, fresh off an incredible comeback against Missouri last night, take on the Commodores today with a chance to solidify an NCAA Tournament berth. Depending on who you read the Rebels are either just barely in or just barely out. A win today over an improving Vanderbilt team (6-1 in their last 7) would be another step toward earning that elusive berth. The Rebels beat the Dores in Nashville earlier this year in the game that launched Marshall Henderson into the national spotlight when this happened.
As exciting as it was to watch Derrick Millingahus come into his own last night, let's not lose sight of the reality here. Jarvis Summers is likely unavailable today at all with all signs pointing towards a concussion. Millinghaus won't be able to play 40 minutes today, particularly at the breakneck pace at which he prefers. That means the Rebels will have to be a serviceable offensive unit with Snoop White running the point, which is outside his comfort zone. He's playing much better now than he was earlier in the year, but that's something to watch as the game progresses.
Obviously, against Vanderbilt, you've got to guard the perimeter all game long. They score 39.3% of their points in conference from behind the arc (most in conference) and just 40.4% from inside the arc (least in conference). 45% of the shots VU takes are from deep and they shoot at a respectable 34.8%. Vandy hit 17 3s earlier in the year against Ole Miss, but was undone by a 10-23 performance from the FT line.
The key player today in mind is the mercurial enigma that is Reginald Buckner. He was fantastic in the first meeting - 14 pts, 11 rds, 3 blks - but has the tendency to disappear at times when he is needed most. Vanderbilt's frontline is undersized (at best) and both Buckner and Murphy Holloway should be able to control the paint. Missouri dominated the glass last night. The Rebels have to be able to do the same today. Vandy has a lot of long rebounds because of their propensity to chuck it from deep, so the guards will have to be alert as well to not only rebound, but find shooters off a miss.
The Rebels have excelled at protecting the ball on offense all season long under the careful watch of Summers. Millinghaus and White will have to do the same today. Vanderbilt has struggled forcing turnovers this season. Feed the ball to the post early and often. If Buck and/or Murph get going early, it will open up lanes for Millinghaus to drive and soft spots for Henderson to shoot. My hope is that we can play an effective man-to-man defense so we can force the tempo of the game. Regardless of defensive strategy, you've got to find the shooters on defense... and they are everywhere for the 'Dores.
(Sure to be terribly, terribly wrong) Predictions:
Ole Miss 71 Vanderbilt 62
Double doubles for both Murph and Buck
Millingahus is effective as the primary point guard, though he's not without his share of headshaking moments
Frank Haith sees both teams shaking hands after the game ends, gets a confused look on his face
(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)