Ole Miss Rebels vs. La Salle Explorers - NCAA Round of 32 Prediction and Open Thread

USA TODAY Sports

The Ole Miss Rebels are facing the La Salle explorers for a chance to make the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2001.

WHO? Ole Miss Rebels vs. La Salle Explorers
WHAT? Basketball
WHEN? 6:40 PM Central
WHERE? Sprint Center, Kansas City - TruTV
WHY? Oh, you wanna know why? Here's why...

This is it. Win this, and it's on to the Sweet 16. Lose and go home. This should be exciting, and it's possibly the most talked about game in recent Ole Miss history from a national media standpoint.

Speaking of, the announcers and media are likely to focus on Marshall Henderson as they've done all week, but Ole Miss' biggest advantage will come down low. La Salle has one big man they play. One. I expect Murphy Holloway and Reggie Buckner to get the ball early and often. If we could get their big to foul out, they'd be put into a situation where they play five guards (which they do sometimes anyway). Have fun with that against our size advantages.

Of course, if their shots are dropping, then that could significantly weaken the advantage. I have no doubt that they're looking to rely heavily on their guards on the perimeter.

There's also the possibility that La Salle exploits speed mismatches when they're playing offense. Their team is full of capable shooters, and the Rebels struggled with defending the perimeter for much of the season until they righted things a few weeks ago. If the Rebels lapse again on defense, La Salle could definitely win. That's exactly how the Explorers beat K State, and they'll obviously look to duplicate that tonight.

I do think that those particular defensive demons are behind the Rebs though. They're certainly not without faults as a team, but effort on D hasn't been one recently.

My prediction:

Ole Miss 74 - La Salle 70

Thoughts?

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