The O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off starts tomorrow. Our Ole Miss Rebels will face the traditionally strong Indiana Hoosiers.
Kelvin Sampson almost got Indiana in a death penalty situation for their program after blowing up recruits on his cell phone during dead periods. Scholarships were lost, and players have transferred(including Rebel G Nick Williams).
It doesn't mean that the Rebels should absolutely blow out Indiana, however. Jump on this preview.
Indiana coach Tom Crean coached Marquette up in a very competitive Big East – facing powers like Georgetown, Villanova, Connecticut, Syracuse and Louisville just to name a few.
Terrico White is the leader of this Ole Miss squad in scoring with roughly 17 points per game, but he's also the most talented player on our team. I don't know if Indiana has an answer defensively for White. The Hoosiers have mustered up seven blocks in their first two games, which is less than our leading blocker: the magnificent Reginald Buckner(he's got NINE DAMN BLOCKS).
The Rebels as a team are averaging 91 points per game, but both games were against vastly inferior opponents and in the crumbling but cozy confines of the Tad Smith Coliseum. Over the past two seasons, Ole Miss is 6-6 in neutral site games, including a 3-0 record in the San Juan Shootout in 2007 where the Rebels beat out LaSalle, Depaul and Clemson.
Two freshman, Maurice Creek and Christian Watford, lead the Hoosiers in scoring with 15.5. points per game. The team is in a transition phase from the scandalous past of Kelvin "gimme a tracfone" Sampson to Tom Crean. Watford and freshman Derek Elston seem to be the big presence down low both standing 6'9".
The Rebels will wear down the Hoosiers over the game by using a lot of up-tempo offense and full court defense. Indiana is most likely going to have more traditional sets and try to limit their turnovers(since they're averaging about 17 per game against the likes of SC Upstate and Howard).
Since this is a tournament setting, I hope Andy Kennedy doesn't use our best players for 30+ minutes per game. The cyclical approach he took in the first two games of finding good mismatches could possibly work against a young Hoosier team.
If Ole Miss wins, they'll face either Kansas State or Boston University(see: Kansas State). It wouldn't be an upset if Ole Miss won, but it would be an introduction to a national audience early on.
Ole Miss 78 Indiana 65
Post your predictions below including who will provide the most ballin-tastic dunk during the Indiana game.