The Ole Miss faithful may not be in attendance Saturday at the Tad Pad, but you can expect Andy Kennedy to have the Ole Miss Rebels focuses and prepared for their first SEC game of the season.
The game is going to feature two conflicting styles of basketball. The Bulldogs are led by their frontcourt and defensive super star Jarvis Varnardo. Ole Miss nationally heralded backcourt will look to defend its No. 14 ranking against the in-state rival.
Getting to know Mississippi State
When you are talking about Mississippi State the first name that is going to be brought up is Jarvis Varnardo. The senior is averaging a double double this season and has an obscene 74 blocks on the season, which is an average of 5.3 blocks per game.
Varnardo has also added to his defense with an improved offensive game averaging 14.3 a game, which is second best on the team.
Varnardo has gotten some help on the blocks this year from players like Kodi Augustus. Augustus is averaging just under 10 points per game and is second on the team in rebounds. If Augustus can spend less time bickering with Stansbury and just play his game he could become a very solid player for the Bulldogs.
Here is what Augustus had to say about his coach after their loss to Rider:
I know it is the Bleacher Report, but it was the first hit Google brought up and I didn't feel like finding a more legitimate source.
Phil Turner is another frontcourt player to watch out for with the Bulldogs. Turner averaged 5.9 a game and is their top player off the bench.
The strength of the Mississippi State backcourt is with 6'7 Ravern Johnson. Johnson is shooting 48% from three this season hitting an absurd 47-97 three pointers this season. With his size and shooting prowess the Rebels are going to have to hope that it is just an off night for the guard. Expect to see Graham and Polynice shadowing Johnson the entire game
Don't underestimate Dee Bost. Bost can get streaky and really torch a team. Bost is third on the team in three point shooting, but has been a great facilitator for Stansbury with 81 assists on the season.
Barry Stewart is another guy that the Rebels CANNOT leave open. Last year in Oxford Stewart hit four threes and led the Bulldogs with 17 points.
The depth the Bulldogs do have on the bench is in the front court with Phil Turner and Romero Osby. These two guys will help Varnardo and Augustus, and give them some time on the bench while the Rebels try to turn the game into a track meet.
Expect the Bulldog starting guards to play upwards of 30 minutes with Riley Benock getting a few minutes to relieve Bost and company.