The Rebels are led by a three-headed monster of Breein Tyree, Devontae Shuler, and KJ Buffen who have been steadily contributing offensively while the rest of the team sees sparks at times. Freshman Austin Crowley has been a good deep range threat, but his minutes have been pretty limited. Transfer center Khadim Sy defensively has been an upgrade around the rim, but he has yet to have that breakout offensive game yet.
Wednesday’s game against Penn St. will be another good test for this Rebel team that has a lot of new faces beginning to gel after five games. Forward Blake Hinson will be back for his second game of the year after being out from a blood disorder diagnosed over the summer.
Analysts, including ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, have deemed this Penn State team as one that will finally break through the very competitive Big Ten and be dancing in March. Considering the damn near home court advantage they have in Brooklyn compared to Ole Miss, a loss to the Rebels wouldn’t be the end of the world for the Nittany Lions, but it would shake things up in terms of expectations.
The NIT Tip-off and next week’s game against Butler marks the most competitive stretch of the Rebels’ non-conference schedule. Grabbing one or two wins will put the program’s best foot forward after coming up a basket short of upsetting top-20 Memphis last weekend.
Line: Ole Miss +2.5
How to watch
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
When: 4pm CST
Online streaming: WatchESPN