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Ole Miss basketball looks to take down a struggling 18th-ranked Memphis team on Saturday

Why are we playing at 11am?

NCAA Basketball: Boise State at Mississippi David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

The Ole Miss Men’s basketball team got back on track after its failed trip to Charleston with a must win over former Rebel Dimencio Vaughn and the Rider Broncs Tuesday night. The biggest non-conference test of the season lies in front of the Rebels Saturday in Oxford against the Memphis Tigers.

When schedules drop every year, fans and media alike scan through for a quick preview to estimate predicted records at season’s end. This game against Memphis would have gone down as a “scheduled loss” simply due to the talent gap between the two rosters.

Looking at the rosters and the coaching staffs, it should be assumed the Tigers have a massive advantage heading into this game but that does not seem to be the case. Memphis is searching for answers after dropping back to back games to Iowa State and a bad Georgia Bulldogs team.

NCAA Basketball: Memphis at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Can Penny Hardaway actually coach or is he just a great recruiter that struggles to put the pieces together on the floor? Having the most talent on the floor does not guarantee wins or rings, ask John Calipari at Kentucky. How many seasons has he had the most 5 stars on his roster and failed to produce anything?

Ole Miss has an outside shot to add a Quad 1 win to its resume this weekend. There are some things they must do as well as hope the Tigers’ embarrassing loss to Georgia does not motivate a turnaround so quickly.

Keys to the Game

These two teams are eerily similar as teams that do not have a true point guard and struggles to score from the perimeter.

  • Memphis averages 78.6 points per contest while surrendering 67.6 points.
  • Ole Miss scores at a 74.1 point clip while giving up 61.7 points per game.
NCAA Basketball: Boise State at Mississippi David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

Nysier Brooks is going to have his hands full with stud freshman Jalen Duren. The Tigers seem to go as Duren goes, which is a dangerous precedent in college basketball, to have a big as your No. 1 option. If Brooks can use his length to disrupt Duren and the driving lanes, Memphis will struggle to score.

The Tigers turn the ball over a lot, four players averaging over two per game, leading to a 316th ranking in the country in that stat. If the pressure of Ole Miss can continue to frustrate the Tigers without a true point guard, the Rebs will have a fighter’s chance.

Ole Miss out rebounds Memphis on the defensive glass, but the Tigers crash the offensive glass as a source of some easy points. The Rebs will need to win the rebound margin by at least 5 and limit second chance opportunities.