|eFG%||50.5% (122)||47.2% (97)|
|TO%||16.1% (57)||20.5% (66)|
|OR%||32.1% (155)||36.1% (309)|
|FTR||45.9 (80)||39.1 (152)|
The Rebels open conference play Thursday night against Auburn. After a promising 6-0 start, the Rebels are limping into conference play with a 9-4 record. The Rebels have done a lot of things well this season (see: Summers, Jarvis) but definitely have some glaring weaknesses (see: Rebounding, Defensive) to shore up if they want to play meaningful basketball in March.
Jarvis Summers has been just this side of unstoppable this season. Playing off the ball more this season, the junior guard is scoring 17.8 ppg this season on a ridiculous 64.2% eFG%, good for 38th best in the country. Last year, he scored 9.1 ppg on 43.6% eFG%.
The Rebels continue to protect the ball very and turn their opponents over at a high rate. Last year, the Rebs turned the ball over on just 15.9% of possessions, good for 9th best in the country. This year, their 16.1% TO% is good for 57th best. Last year opponents turned it over on 21.5% of possessions - 85th best in the country - while they're turning it over 20.5% of possessions this year - 97th best in the country.
The Rebels rank 51st in the country in 3P%, shooting a solid 37.8% from deep. They're also 3rd in the country in Block%, blocking 18.5% of opponents' 2PA. Teams are shooting just 44.4% on 2s against them.
Derrick Millinghaus has really cut down on his turnovers. He has just 1 TO over the last 5 games, which has been 90 minutes. Offensively, he averaged 14.1 ppg on 46.4% eFG% over the first 8 games.
I know that he made some crucial mistakes that hurt us late against Dayton, but Sebastian Saiz has quickly become my second favorite player on this team besides Summers. (No, it's not Henderson. Sue me.) He has earned the start the last 2 games and has averaged 8.5 ppg and 9 rpg over that stretch. His continued development will be key to success in SEC play. Aaron Jones is a good defender and shot blocker, but is very limited offensively. Plus, at just 220 lbs, he's not built to survive extensive minutes down low. Saiz brings strength and offensive skill set that Jones just doesn't have.
The Rebels have been very inefficient when it comes to scoring inside the 3-point line, shooting just 47% on 2PAs, which is 230th in the country. They're hitting just 67.8% of FTs, which is 229th.
Over his last 5 games though, Millinghaus is averaging just 4.8 ppg on 31.3% eFG%. He's forcing too much in transition and getting stuck between 2 defenders much taller than he is. He needs to settle back down and get into his early season rhythm.
Snoop White - the most talented player on the roster - has just a 38.7% eFG%. He has as many 2-point games - 4 - as he does double-figure scoring games. We have to quickly find a way to get him consistently rolling as we head into conference as Marshall Henderson will miss the first two games to finish out his suspension.
Speaking of Henderson, while his 3P% - 38.4% - is very solid considering the unbelivable volume at which he chucks up 3s, his 2P% and FT% are down significantly from last year. After shooting 45.8% last year, he's shooting a paltry 27% this year. He's not attacking the basket as much and most of his 2PAs are off balance shots from just inside the arc. His 76.7% FT% - while still very good - is way down from last season's SEC-leading 88.3%.
Defensive rebounding, or, more specifically, the lack thereof. Check out the OR% for our last 7 opponents. 5 of them are 39% or higher. The only low one - Oregon's 22.2% - is negated by their blistering 66.9% eFG% that game. We give up an incredible number of second chance opportunities and it's killed us. It was the #1 reason we lost to Kansas State, Mercer, and Dayton. We've guarded the initial shot well all season, but then get caught out of position on the rebound and give up an open jumper or layup. We have haven't outrebounded anyone since we outrebounded Penn State back in November.
I'm not ready to write this team off yet. There's enough talent in the backcourt and enough potential in the frontcourt to make a decent run in a still-down SEC. A glass-half-full-kinda-guy would tell you that this team is only a handful of plays away from being 13-0 and a top 20 team. With 3 3-point losses and an overtime loss, grabbing a couple more defensive rebounds or knocking down a couple more shots or FTs makes all the difference and you're right there. It's not like we haven't been competitive, we just can't make the big play when we need to. This team seems to be a little snake-bitten to have that many heartbreaking losses this early in the season.
While we do have 2 more losses than last year, we also had 0 wins of note before SEC play started last season. This year, the wins over Penn State and Georgia Tech are better than any non-conference wins we had last season and the Kansas State loss is proving to not be so bad as they've put together a nice run of late. If we can shore up the rebounding and find a consistent 3rd scorer - SNOOP! - we've got a chance to make a run in conference. While the NIT seems a more likely destination at this point, there's still a lot of ball to be played.