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Ole Miss vs. Dayton Basketball Preview

This is going to be short because I'm about to head to Oxford to watch the game.

The Blackburn Reviewhas been very thorough in their interest in this game due mostly to the fact that they don't cover Dayton's football team. It's a great blog. Check it out if you haven't already.

Click below for a brief preview.

Dayton will swarm to the ball on defense and don't intend on letting up. I would guess they'll try to match us man-on-man at first before realizing that they can very effectively hurt our offense by throwing a zone at us.

Chris Johnson and Chris Wright should have success, but it will be interesting to see how Johnson is able to cope with Reginald Buckner's presence down low. Johnson isn't a post player, but he will have to deal with Buckner's imposing defense a good bit if he wants to improve his scoring. He was excellent against Buckner last year, but Reggie was playing on an injured ankle. Buckner's immediate test though is from 6'10" Center Devin Searcy. Searcy is averaging nearly 13 points per game and 11.5 rebounds. If Buckner can help keep him relatively quiet, it should really help.

Obviously PG Juwan Staten can't have a big game, and that could be a problem for the Rebs since Chris Warren has struggled defensively in the past. Staten is bound to make a few freshman mistakes, and we need to capitalize off of them. Honestly, I'd like to see us try and pull Warren off the court a good bit in this game to see if Gaskins can match up well against the freshman. Obviously, you don't want your offense stalling with Warren on the bench, but I'm not sure that Gaskins isn't capable of getting things going as well (assuming he doesn't just shoot the ball every time he brings it down the court.)

I'd look for another big game from Zach Graham, though I don't expect him to match last week's career-high 22 points. 15 points and a line that puts a few tallies in each stat column sounds about right. Nick Williams is imperative to our success in this game. Last year, Dayton got to us by wanting it more and working harder to get the ball back. Nick Williams is one of several players on the team this year who gives it his all on every possession. We need him to continue that.

Honestly, a week ago I expected Dayton to handle us with relative ease. Now, I'm not so sure. Against Murray State, we showed ourselves to be a team that can play together and doesn't rely on jacking up contested threes to win. If we continue to display this chemistry, I think we'll win this one.

Rebs 75, Flyers 68

Your prediction?