The de facto Ole Miss Rebel men's basketball preseason is over, as the 5-0 Rebels will host the 4-1 Rutgers Scarlet Knights in our installment of this year's SEC/Big East Challenge. Tip off will be at 1:00 PM in the Tad Pad, and the game will be televised on ESPNU.
The Rebs are coming off of a quintet of convincing victories over, simply, bad competition, beating all five of their opponents by at least 18 points. Rutgers, on the other hand, got their season off to a shaky start, losing to St. Peters by four at home before winning four straight.
The Scarlet Knights are led by a duo of guards in Eli Carter and Myles Mack. The two average 18 and 14.8 points per game, respectively, with just about 26 minutes per game for each of them. In Rutgers' four victories, Carter has lead them in scoring.
Wally Judge is another guy to watch for. Judge, a former McDonald's All-American who originally signed with Kansas State out of high school, is a 6'8" power forward who averages 8.0 rebounds and 7.4 points a contest. He has his a big impact on the box score though, notching blocks, steals, and assists to go along with his points and boards.
Buster_bluth and his incomparable basketball knowledge, in his four factors preview of this game, posits that "the Rebels should win the turnover battle in this one," pointing out that "Rutgers struggles to force turnovers on defense, while the Rebels have been very stingy with the ball this year."
There are two things the Rebels need to guard against this game. First, they've got to rebound the ball well defensively. That was a real weak spot early in the season, and while it's still not great - 184th in the country - it is better. Rutgers hits the offensive glass well, grabbing nearly 40% of its own missed shots. Neutralizing that part of the Scarlet Knights' game will be a tough task.
This will be the toughest test the Rebels will have before the Diamondhead Classic in Hawai'i. The Rebels should win due to our pace and ability to score quickly and often, but it'll be a fight.
Again, the game is at 1:00 PM and will be televised on ESPNU. Still, if you're on campus or within a short drive of the Tad Pad, there's no reason you shouldn't be there to cheer on the Rebs. The regular football season is over so, c'mon, you've got nothing better to do with your Saturday and you know it.
Hell, Denzel Nkemdiche agrees with me: