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Mizzou at Ole Miss preview: Play under control and hope Henderson misses

Ole Miss shoots a ton of 3-pointers and goes for a ton of steals and blocks. If their haymakers land, the Rebels are a hell of a team. But they don't always land.

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports


I'm sure I've used this analogy before, but Ole Miss is the crazy guy in the fight. The Rebels are going to take a ton of 3-pointers, and they're going to go for a ton of steals and blocks. They throw uppercuts, sometimes with little rhyme or reason. If the risks are successful -- if Marshall Henderson is knocking down 25-footers, if Henderson and Derrick Millinghaus are successfully stepping into passing lanes -- Ole Miss is a tremendous basketball team. But if the 3s are rimming out and the steal attempts instead lead to open 3-pointers, the Rebels can be pretty easily beaten. They dictate their fate to a large degree, which is disconcerting in a game that Mizzou would really, really like to win.

Ole Miss Rebels (15-7, 6-3)

Ole Miss
Pace (No. of Possessions)
Points Per Possession (PPP)
1.10 1.02
Points Per Shot (PPS)
1.26 1.22
2-PT FG% 46% 45%
3-PT FG% 37% 34%
FT% 70% 65%
True Shooting % 53.7% 51.4%

Ole Miss Opp.
Assists/Gm 13.0 14.4
Steals/Gm 7.8 5.5
Turnovers/Gm 11.6 14.6
Ball Control Index (BCI)
(Assists + Steals) / TO
1.79 1.35

Ole Miss Opp.
Expected Off. Rebounds/Gm 12.3 12.2
Offensive Rebounds/Gm 12.8 14.0
Difference +0.5 +1.8

Ken Pomeroy Stats

UM Offense vs MU Defense Ranks

UM Offense MU Defense Advantage
Efficiency 94 105 push
Effective FG% 189 45 MU big
Turnover % 49 303 UM big
Off. Reb. % 131 102 MU
FTA/FGA 187 110 MU
MU Offense vs UM Defense Ranks

MU Offense UM Defense Advantage
Efficiency 26 82 MU
Effective FG% 65 86 MU
Turnover % 180 50 UM big
Off. Reb. % 41 337 MU big
FTA/FGA 27 198 MU big

Where the Rebels are weakest

Well, they're not very experienced, for starters (187th in Experience). There's only one senior in the rotation (Henderson), and a freshman and two sophomores each average at least 18 minutes per game. There are also four juniors in the rotation, so we're not talking Kentucky here or anything, but this is a lineup that could use a little more seasoning.

Beyond that, Ole Miss' biggest weakness is that it pretty much as to take risks. The Rebels don't create many easy opportunities for themselves -- they're 274th in 2PT% (10th in the SEC in conference play), 301st in Block% (14th), and 187th in FTA/FGA (14th). They either don't get or don't make many chip shots, and they don't get to the line for free points. When the 3s are falling, their terrifying. When they're not, they aren't going to suddenly turn into a team with a great post presence and lovely ball movement (220th in Assists Per FG Made).

Defensively, they take just as many risks, and they too fail to pay off at times. They go for blocks and are therefore a woeful 337th in defensive rebounding (12th in conference play). They go for steals and therefore give up a ton of good looks from 3-point range -- they're 249th in 3PA/FGA, 155th in 3PT%, and 323rd in Assists Per FG Made. If they're not getting their hands on your pass, your pass is finding an open shooter.

Where they are best

Sometimes the risks indeed succeed. The Rebs are a healthy 86th in 3PT% on offense (fourth in conference play), and they take a ton of them (94th in 3PA/FGA, third in conference play). They also protect the ball pretty well -- they don't give up steals (34th, fifth in conference), and they don't turn the ball over (49th, third in conference).

The same goes for defense. They feel it's worth it for them to sacrifice some open 3s and offensive rebounds because they do block a lot of shots (fifth in the nation, 69th in 2PT%), and they do get a lot of steals (41st in Steal%, 50th in TO%). And when they foul, they tend to foul the right people -- they're 20th in FT% Allowed.

Ole Miss is also pretty deep (51st in Bench Minutes), with eight guys playing at least 18 minutes per game and a ninth playing almost 13. And while Henderson and Jarvis Summers aren't enormous (6'2 and 6'3, respectively), five of the nine guys in the rotation go at least 6'6, and four go at least 6'8 (48th in Effective Height).

Ole Miss' Season to Date

  • Wins (Team Rank is from
    No. 60 LSU (88-74, OT)
    vs. No. 83 Penn State (79-76)
    at No. 95 Vanderbilt (63-52)
    vs. No. 112 Georgia Tech (77-67)
    No. 119 Middle Tennessee (72-63)
    No. 125 Auburn (65-62)
    at No. 131 South Carolina (75-74)
    No. 131 South Carolina (75-71)
    at No. 152 Western Kentucky (79-74)
    No. 217 Mississippi State (82-63)
    at No. 253 Coastal Carolina (72-70)
    No. 256 Troy (69-54)
    No. 267 UL-Monroe (75-62)
    No. 327 N.C. A&T (84-50)
    No. 334 Mississippi Valley State (111-82)
  • Losses
    at No. 15 Kentucky (64-80)
    at No. 25 Tennessee (70-86)
    No. 34 Oregon (105-115, OT)
    at No. 42 Kansas State (58-61)
    No. 58 Dayton (80-83, OT)
    No. 81 Mercer (76-79)
    at No. 217 Mississippi State (72-76)

Teams that are able to play under control and limit turnovers have had a good amount of success against Andy Kennedy's squad. The Rebels' general craziness has made them volatile -- capable of nearly beating Oregon at home and Kansas State on the road and also capable of losing to Mercer at home and (even worse) Mississippi State at home. They outscored LSU by 14 points in overtime, and they barely held off Coastal Carolina. Missouri fans can certainly relate to a volatile team, but this one is far more volatile than Missouri's.

Ole Miss Player Stats

Player AdjGS*/Gm GmSc/Min Line
Jarvis Summers (6'3, 186, Jr.) 15.8 0.53 29.8 MPG, 17.5 PPG (50% 2PT, 52% 3PT, 78% FT), 3.8 APG, 2.4 RPG, 2.6 TOPG, 2.7 PFPG
Marshall Henderson (6'2, 177, Sr.) 15.0 0.51 29.7 MPG, 19.1 PPG (37% 2PT, 36% 3PT, 81% FT), 2.3 APG, 1.9 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 1.6 TOPG
Aaron Jones (6'9, 220, Jr.) 10.1 0.37 27.6 MPG, 6.7 PPG (47% 2PT, 14% 3PT, 69% FT), 6.9 RPG, 2.4 BPG, 1.0 SPG, 2.8 PFPG
Sebastian Saiz (6'9, 233, Fr.) 6.7 0.32 20.9 MPG, 5.1 PPG (47% 2PT, 62% FT), 6.1 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 1.1 TOPG
LaDarius White (6'6, 211, Jr.) 6.4 0.28 22.7 MPG, 8.0 PPG (41% 2PT, 28% 3PT, 70% FT), 3.3 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.6 TOPG
Demarco Cox (6'8, 276, Jr.) 6.1 0.31 19.8 MPG, 5.0 PPG (53% 2PT, 54% FT), 4.7 RPG, 2.4 PFPG
Derrick Millinghaus (5'10, 172, So.) 5.9 0.28 20.8 MPG, 8.0 PPG (39% 2PT, 28% 3PT, 63% FT), 2.3 APG, 2.0 RPG
Anthony Perez (6'9, 213, So.) 5.6 0.30 18.5 MPG, 6.4 PPG (47% 2PT, 38% 3PT, 68% FT), 3.0 RPG, 1.2 TOPG, 2.3 PFPG
Martavious Newby (6'3, 210, So.) 3.8 0.30 12.6 MPG, 2.1 PPG (60% 2PT, 25% 3PT, 53% FT), 2.2 RPG, 1.0 APG
Dwight Coleby (6'9, 236, Fr.) 1.3 0.15 8.7 MPG, 1.8 PPG, 1.2 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 (31%), Summers (27%), Millinghaus (25%)
  • Highest Floor%: Newby (47%), Summers (45%), Cox (40%)
  • Highest %Pass: Newby (70%), Summers (55%), Millinghaus (54%)
  • Highest %Shoot: Jones (61%), Henderson (46%), Cox (45%)
  • Highest %Fouled: Cox (25%), Perez (20%), Jones (13%)
  • Highest %T/O: Saiz (11%), Perez (11%), Cox (10%)
  • Highest OR%: Jones (13%), Saiz (12%), Cox (10%)
  • Highest DR%: Saiz (19%), Cox (15%), Jones (14%)

  • Henderson gets most of the attention, and we all know why -- he's nuts, and he takes nearly TWELVE 3-pointers per game -- but Jarvis Summers is Ole Miss' best, steadiest player. If an Ole Miss player is dishing an assist, it's probably Summers. If an Ole Miss player is drawing a foul and getting to the line, it's probably Summers. And while he's taken not even one-third as many 3-pointers as Henderson (69 to 224), he's still made nearly half as many (36 to 81). His steadiness is why Henderson's crazy-guy routine can work sometimes.

  • Man, if Jones and Saiz were any good at offense, this team would be awesome. They combine for 13 rebounds (5.8 on offense), 3.4 blocks and 1.6 steals per game, and they do so without fouling excessively, but neither shoots even 50% on 2-pointers. Neither are awful from the line, and lord knows they're not wasting a lot of possessions on offense (not with Henderson and Summers taking 25 shots per game), but neither team is likely to have much of an inside presence in this game, at least not until second-chance points enter the equation.

Keys to the Game

  1. BCI! BCI! If you're not turning the ball over against Ole Miss, you're probably getting a pretty decent shot attempt. The Rebels also block a ton of shots, but you can live with that if you're getting good looks from 3-point range and grabbing offensive rebounds. Ole Miss has a big advantage over Missouri on both sides of the ball in this category, and if the Tigers can limit the damage, they could be alright.

  2. The 3-Ball. Jabari Brown is one of the best 3-point shooters in the country, and Marshall Henderson is the most high-volume 3-pointer shooter in the country. If he's making his I-dare-you 3s and Summers (an actually good shooter) is getting decent looks while nobody but Brown is making 3s for Missouri (or Brown has his first off-night in more than a month), Mizzou's probably in trouble.

  3. The Glass. Ole Miss is a decent offensive rebounding team and (again, because of the blocks) a terrible defensive rebounding team. Mizzou lives and dies to some extent by rebounding -- they destroyed Arkansas on the glass and lost tight battles to both Florida and Kentucky -- and will need to win this battle by at least a couple in terms of expected rebounds.


Play under control and hope Henderson misses. He made 14 of 31 (45%) against LSU and Tennessee but made just 14 of 55 (25%) in his other five conference games. Ole Miss can beat iffy teams without him bombing away successfully (and the Rebels did almost beat Kansas State while he shot 2-for-13 from long range), but if he's on, it's perhaps one too many elements for Missouri to handle on the road. Pomeroy projects this as a 74-72 Ole Miss win, a virtual tossup. Because of last year's experience in Oxford, I'm leaning toward something similar -- say, 76-70 or so -- but Mizzou could very much win this game, and it would help the Tigers' tourney case to do just that.