Well, there's certainly reason to be scared about this game. Vanderbilt is the second best team in the SEC and just throttled the third best in Tennessee. They're 19-5 overall and 8-2 in conference play. They play well on defense, having not given up 80 or more points since January 9th, and are explosive on offense, with four players in double figures on the year.
Still, they're beatable. If Georgia has done anything at all this year, it has been to show that Vanderbilt is not invincible. 11-13 (3-8) UGA beat Vandy by fourteen points earlier this month. If we plan to do the same, we'll have to follow the blueprint set by the Bulldogs.
Everyone is afraid of A.J. Ogilvy and with good reason. Ogilvy averaged 17 points per game as a freshman. However, his scoring has tapered off. As a sophomore, Ogilvy put in 15.4 points per game, and this season he's only adding 13.3. But at 6'11" 250 lbs., our miniature post players have to be concerned. Ogilvy has the opportunity to totally take the game over on the offensive end. That's why we have to do what Georgia did. They attacked him directly. He picked up four fouls, and while he played for 30 minutes, he was forced to play timidly. Ogilvy picked up his fourth foul with five minutes left in the game and the Dores down by seven. After that, Ogivly did not record a single statistic, and Georgia went on a 13-6 run to win the game at 72-58.
Of course, freshman sensation John Jenkins (6'4" SG - 10 ppg) going 0-9 helped Georgia a lot too. If you know anything about Ole Miss basketball, you know that won't happen tonight. However, Jenkins hasn't played in the Dores' past two games, having sat out with a severe stomach bug. He's listed as probable for tonight's game, but having not played in two weeks and with a body in weakened condition, he may not be able to impact the game in the way that most Vandy fans are hoping.
If 6'3" senior point guard Jermain Beal is on his game, it won't matter. Beal is averaging 15 points per game and boasts an assist to turnover ratio of 2.12:1. Oh yeah. He's knocking down 46 percent of his shots. Frightening, considering our defense.
If the Rebels want to win this one, Eniel Polynice and Terrico White are going to have to attack the basket. I'm sure Eniel will try, but will Terrico? Terrico White has been perplexing for the entire season, having not taken over a single game this year. He needs to start pouring in physical points if he hopes to declare for the draft.
Obviously, it will be nice to have Reggie Buckner back, but I'm not sure in what capacity he'll be available. Having his blocking ability in the game, even if for only ten to fifteen minutes, should help ease the concern over Ogilvy. Also, maybe he can eat up a few fouls that would have gone to Terrance Henry.
Like in all of our past four games, Terrance Henry has to play a huge role. He's slowly becoming what most Rebel fans hoped for when we signed the highly coveted player from Louisiana, but he needs to amp up his game in this situation. This game is huge. People who are saying it's not a must-win have more faith in our ability to bounce back from losing four of five games than I do. We have to win this game to get our players hyped up again, or our matchup against Florida won't be good either.
Ole Miss 68
Predictions of your own?