It was odd to see Ole Miss beat an inferior opponent by a safe margin, but here we are. Andy Kennedy’s squad hopes to extend their recent offensive tear late into the SEC tournament, as the three-seed Razorbacks await the Rebels, likely feeling confident after the shellacking they dealt a few weeks ago.
As expected, Ole Miss relied fairly heavily on getting to the line to get points against Missouri, but they complemented it with a 43 percent outing from three to maintain a healthy lead. Deandre Burnett was able to play through his health issues to put up 23 points on just nine shots. The hot side of his streaky play will be needed once again on Friday.
Last time these teams played, both scored down low with ease by converting 93 percent of their attempts near the rim. The ultimate difference came down to Arkansas shooting 41 percent from three, validating their status as one of the best shooting teams in the conference. The Hogs needed Daryl Macon to score 30 points off the bench to get the win, so perhaps there’s not quite as much separating the two as is perceived.
Ole Miss will have to bring their A-game defensively, considering the Razorbacks rank 17th in adjusted offensive efficiency. Figuring out where to focus resources is tough, too. They’re the seventh best team in Division I at converting field goals near the rim, but have also made 38 percent of their threes in conference play.
Outside of their incessant ability to generate free throw opportunities, the Rebels’ method for getting points seems difficult to sustain. In three of the last four games, they’ve been more efficient from beyond the arc than inside it. Regardless of Friday night’s outcome, Andy Kennedy is a national treasure, and any conflicting opinion is unwelcome here.
How to watch:
Where: Nashville, Tenn.
When: 8:30 PM CT
TV: SEC Network
Online Streaming: WatchESPN