Know your Rebel rival: Ole Miss

USA TODAY Sports

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Mizzou's first official SEC road test comes at a pretty tough time. The Tigers must face a fast, physical Ole Miss squad without Laurence Bowers and perhaps without Tony Criswell. The Rebels will try to beat you up and run by you -- they kind of play basketball like an SEC football team -- and Mizzou will have to get some excellent shooting and steady play from Phil Pressey if the Tigers are to move to 13-2.

Ole Miss Rebels (12-2)


Miss.
Opp.
Pace (No. of Possessions)
73.2
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.14 0.88
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.29 1.09
2-PT FG% 51.5% 43.6%
3-PT FG% 31.9% 27.0%
FT% 70.1% 67.4%
True Shooting % 54.7% 47.1%




Miss. Opp.
Assists/Gm 13.6 11.5
Steals/Gm 9.6 6.1
Turnovers/Gm 12.1 17.6
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.92 1.00




Miss. Opp.
Expected Off. Rebounds/Gm 12.6 13.0
Offensive Rebounds/Gm 14.7 12.2
Difference +2.1 -0.8

Hello, Pace

Remember our old friend Pace? He left town this past offseason, but he will be revisiting us with a new companion on Saturday. Ole Miss averages more than 73 possessions per game, 10th-most in the country. (Mizzou: 68.4, 105th.) The Rebels have scored 80 points or more in 10 of 14 contests (mostly against awful teams, granted), but they are an interesting squad, capable of speeding you up, turning you over, and still rebounding pretty well. Andy Kennedy's got a pretty fun team on his hands.

Ken Pomeroy Stats

UM Offense vs MU Defense Ranks

UM Offense MU Defense Advantage
Efficiency 38 53 Push
Effective FG% 103 26 MU
Turnover % 11 325 UM big
Off. Reb. % 44 66 UM
FTA/FGA 83 8 MU
MU Offense vs UM Defense Ranks

MU Offense UM Defense Advantage
Efficiency 16 32 Push
Effective FG% 81 17 UM
Turnover % 62 45 Push
Off. Reb. % 8 144 MU big
FTA/FGA 253 155 UM

Where the Rebels are weakest

Despite the fact that Ole Miss attempts more than 22 3-pointers per game, they aren't really very good at them. They have made just 31.9 percent of their attempts this season, 233rd in the country. Marshall Henderson alone attempts almost 11 3's per game. Sometimes he makes them (7-for-16 versus Indiana State, 6-for-13 each versus ETSU and Coastal Carolina) and sometimes he doesn't (3-for-12 versus Tennessee, 2-for-10 versus McNeese State), but he always takes them. That's scary, simply because it takes part of the game out of your control, but on average the team still doesn't shoot very well from long range. The Rebels are also only average at shooting free throws (138th) and generate almost no offense off of passing (305th in Assists Per Field Goal Made).

The Rebels also aren't incredibly deep, ranking just 180th in Bench Minutes.

Where they are best

They leverage you into poor shots -- they rank 61st in 2PT% Defense (14th in Block%) and seventh in 3PT% Defense* -- if you get a shot at all (33rd in Steal%). They are good on the offensive glass (if only average on the defensive glass), and they get to the line reasonably well. You can't really block their shots, either.

* Insert ongoing "Can you really control your opponent's 3-point %?" debate here. Know that Ole Miss is 142nd in Opponents' 3PA/FGA, meaning opponents don't necessarily take a lot of 3-pointers (and that they prevent such shots pretty well), so they really might play pretty good 3PT% D.

Ole Miss' Season to Date

  • Wins (Team Rank is from KenPom.com)
    No. 73 Rutgers (80-67)
    at No. 93 Tennessee (92-74)
    vs. No. 140 San Francisco (85-78)
    at No. 198 Loyola Marymount (73-70)
    at No. 202 Hawaii (81-66)
    No. 208 Coastal Carolina (90-72)
    No. 214 UALR (92-52)
    No. 238 Fordham (95-68)
    No. 286 McNeese State (76-50)
    No. 299 Lipscomb (91-45)
    No. 321 East Tennessee State (77-55)
    No. 340 Mississippi Valley State (93-57)
  • Losses
    at No. 48 Middle Tennessee (62-65)
    vs. No. 83 Indiana State (85-87, OT)

Average Score, Ole MIss vs. Top 100: Ole Miss 79.8, Opponent 73.3 (+6.5)
Average Score, Ole Miss vs. No. 101-200: Ole Miss 79.0, Opponent 74.0 (+5.0)
Average Score, Ole Miss vs. No. 201+: Ole Miss 87.7, Opponent 57.0 (+30.7)

Because of the large load of poor opponents (nine games vs. teams ranked 198th or worse, none vs. teams ranked better than 48th), we still have an incomplete picture of Ole Miss at this point in the season.

We know the Rebels aren't necessarily good after long road trips (they barely beat Loyola Marymount in L.A. and looked pretty average vs. Indiana State, San Francisco and Hawaii in the Diamond Head Classic), but that doesn't really apply here.

We know they thoroughly whipped a mediocre Tennessee team in Knoxville, and that they were outlasted by an actually decent Middle Tennessee squad in Murfreesboro.

We know they have looked good at home. We also know that they have only played one team with a pulse at home.

So in the absence of a full picture, we turn to the Pomeroy rankings themselves, which have Ole Miss as a solid No. 25 in the country. The Rebels certainly looked the part on Wednesday, holding Tennessee to 46 percent shooting on 2-pointers and 27 percent shooting on 3-pointers (though from what I read about the game, a lot of those misses were pretty good looks), dominating the glass, playing both fast and physical and winning easily despite making just four of 15 3-pointers. They looked good, in other words.

Ole Miss' Player Stats

Player AdjGS*/Gm GmSc/Min Line
Murphy Holloway (6'7, 240, Sr.) 16.8 0.58 29.0 MPG, 15.7 PPG (57% 2PT, 14% 3PT, 53% FT), 11.0 RPG (4.1 OFF), 1.6 SPG, 1.4 APG, 2.2 TOPG, 2.6 PFPG
Reginald Buckner (6'9, 235, Sr.) 15.1 0.56 27.0 MPG, 10.9 PPG (68% 2PT, 60% FT), 7.6 RPG (3.1 OFF), 2.9 BPG, 1.5 SPG, 1.4 TOPG, 3.1 PFPG
Marshall Henderson (6'2, 175, Jr.) 14.7 0.50 29.2 MPG, 19.1 PPG (50% 2PT, 37% 3PT, 87% FT), 3.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.3 SPG, 2.1 TOPG
Nick Williams (6'4, 212, Sr.) 8.1 0.31 26.1 MPG, 10.7 PPG (44% 2PT, 33% 3PT, 93% FT), 2.8 RPG, 1.6 APG
Jarvis Summers (6'3, 184, So.) 8.1 0.34 23.7 MPG, 7.7 PPG (42% 2PT, 38% 3PT, 71% FT), 3.6 APG, 1.2 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 2.8 PFPG
Aaron Jones (6'9, 218, So.) 6.4 0.39 16.3 MPG, 3.8 PPG (65% 2PT, 71% FT), 3.9 RPG, 1.7 BPG
Derrick Millinghaus (5'10, 170, Fr.) 5.5 0.31 17.9 MPG, 7.2 PPG (35% 2PT, 30% 3PT, 74% FT), 1.8 APG, 1.6 RPG, 1.4 SPG, 1.4 TOPG
Martavious Newby (6'3, 210, Fr.) 3.7 0.39 9.6 MPG, 3.3 PPG (55% 2PT, 7% 3PT, 85% FT), 2.3 RPG, 1.1 SPG
LaDarius White (6'6, 210, So.) 2.0 0.12 16.1 MPG, 3.6 PPG (36% 2PT, 29% 3PT, 62% FT), 2.2 RPG, 1.4 TOPG
Anthony Perez (6'9, 205, Fr.) 1.5 0.21 7.3 MPG, 2.3 PPG (44% 2PT, 18% 3PT, 75% FT), 1.4 RPG

* AdjGS = a take-off of the Game Score metric (definition here) accepted by a lot of basketball stat nerds. It redistributes a team's points based not only on points scored, but also by giving credit for assists, rebounds (offensive & defensive), steals, blocks, turnovers and fouls. It is a stat intended to determine who had the biggest overall impact on the game itself, instead of just how many balls a player put through a basket.

  • Highest Usage%: Henderson (28%), Holloway (25%), Millinghaus (23%)
  • Highest Floor%: Jones (53%), Buckner (49%), Summers (45%)
  • Highest %Pass: Summers (70%), Jones (56%), Newby (52%)
  • Highest %Shoot: Henderson (47%), Holloway (45%), Williams (44%)
  • Highest %Fouled: Buckner (26%), Holloway (15%), Henderson (12%)
  • Highest %T/O: White (12%), Perez (10%), Buckner (9%)
  • Ole Miss has quite a few players who both put a lot onto the table and take a lot off. Buckner gets fouled like crazy but turns the ball over quite a bit and fouls a lot. Millinghaus logs something in every category in the box score, including turnovers and missed shots. Henderson takes a ridiculous number of 3-pointers (and misses a lot of them) but also gets fouled a lot and plays pretty good defense. Et cetera. This is not a passive team.

Keys to the Game

  1. Dear Jabari Brown and Earnest Ross: Score, please. Thx. Against Bucknell, Brown and Ross scored eight points on 2-for-18 shooting, and Mizzou almost lost. Against Alabama, they scored 41 points on 14-for-23 shooting, and Mizzou won comfortably. Above everything else, Laurence Bowers brings some offensive stability to the table; without him, Mizzou is dependent on some seriously streaky scorers like these two and, of course, Phil Pressey (37 points on 14-for-32 shooting in the last two games, 31 points on 11-for-41 shooting in the two before that). Who steps and becomes not only a scoring option, but a semi-reliable one?

  2. BCI! BCI!. Ole Miss has forced opponents into some shoddy ball-handling in 2012-13. Mizzou has been baited into some shoddy ball-handling at time, especially by pressing teams like Louisville. This is probably the scariest part of the matchup for Mizzou; Ole Miss will play fast and often press, and Mizzou has not handled that well this year. Either Phil Pressey needs to play out of his mind or (god forbid) somebody else will need to emerge as a steady, reliable ball-handler.

  3. Back to your supposed strengths. Ole Miss hits the offensive glass awfully hard, and Mizzou has been kept off of the offensive glass for two straight games. It will be difficult for Mizzou to win this game if the Tigers are not generating second-chance points. Doing so without Bowers and, perhaps, Criswell is a dicey proposition, but Mizzou might not have a choice. Consider that a calling-out, Stefan Jankovic, Ryan Rosburg and Earnest Ross.

Prediction

I understand why people are skeptical of Ole Miss. The Rebels have neither played, nor beaten, a truly good team yet, and they lost to the only Top 70 opponent they've played. But I'm starting to side with Pomeroy on this one. I'm not sure Ole Miss is truly a Top 25 team, but I'm willing to believe they're Top 30-40, and without Bowers, Mizzou will need a much more reliable performance from its current roster than it has gotten at times. I think Ole Miss is good in precisely the ways Mizzou isn't ready to handle, and I say the Rebels win this one, 81-74. Mizzou will get its revenge in Columbia, but the Tigers will need someone to get super-hot to come away with a W.

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