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Mizzou Hoops Preview: Ole Miss, Part 3

Missouri faces a familiar foe in the play-in game. Can they complete a three-game sweep over Ole Miss?

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Life is funny sometimes.

Take Missouri Basketball for example. No, I’m not saying anything has been literally funny about this season, unless you’re really into comedy of the macabre. What I’m trying to say is that there’s a sort of absurdist humor in some elements of the past few months. I’m thinking of one in particular.

For instance, if I’d have told you in October that Missouri was about to have its worst season of the Cuonzo Martin era, which SEC teams would you have predicted wins over? Probably not Kentucky or Auburn or any of the usual suspects. However, I suspect some of you would have also avoided picking the Tigers against Ole Miss, a program which has given Mizzou fits since joining the SEC.

As you’ve learned in the past few months, you’d have been wrong... at least when it came to Ole Miss! Despite only logging 10 wins during the months of October through February, two of them came against Ole Miss. In the span of one month, Missouri doubled its win total over the Rebels since 2013. Cuonzo Martin’s team could never get any traction, but if they played Ole Miss? The negative script went out the window.

Now, as the Tigers’ season comes to a close in Tampa (and it will almost certainly end there), they have a rare opportunity to do something no Tiger coach has done since the move to the SEC: complete a three-game sweep over a single opponent in a season.

Is that a weird thing to be looking forward to heading into the postseason? Probably. But you have to find joy in the little things, especially when everything else about the situation seems uncertain heading into the future.

The Scout

The Starters

Position Missouri (11-20) Ole Miss (13-18)
Position Missouri (11-20) Ole Miss (13-18)
PG Jarron Coleman (Jr., 6'5", 210) Jarkel Joiner (Sr., 6'1", 180)
CG Javon Pickett (Sr., 6'5", 215) Matthew Murrell (So, 6'4", 200)
WING DaJuan Gordon (Jr., 6'3", 190) Luis Rodriguez (Jr., 6'6", 210)
PF Kobe Brown (Jr., 6'8", 250) Jaemyn Brakefield (So., 6'8", 220)
POST Trevon Brazile (Fr., 6'9", 215) Nysier Brooks (Sr., 7'0", 245)

Note: These starting lineups are projected.

We’ve had two full previews of Ole Miss at this point — here’s Part 1 and Part 2 — both of which contained different scouts based on injuries sustained throughout the season.

When Missouri has the ball...

Missouri Offense vs. Ole Miss Defense

Team Adj. Eff. Poss. Length eFG% TO% OR% FTA/FGA 3P% 2P% FT% Blk% Stl%
Team Adj. Eff. Poss. Length eFG% TO% OR% FTA/FGA 3P% 2P% FT% Blk% Stl%
Missouri 104 (169) 17.9 (234) 46.7 (309) 21.3 (330) 31.2 (75) 29.5 (205) 27.8 (355) 49.1 (205) 73.9 (103) 9.7 (247) 10.8 (317)
Ole Miss 99.9 (104) 17.5 (159) 51.2 (231) 19.4 (115) 26.6 (107) 27.6 (102) 32.3 (104) 52.7 (288) 71.1 (147) 7.9 (216) 10.4 (92)
NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

What to Watch | Attack the paint... again

Missouri won in January on the strength of their two-point shooting then won the rematch as a result of a hot streak beyond the three-point line. Regardless of how the Tigers shoot beyond the arc, though, the truth remains that the Rebels are soft in the middle. This should benefit the Tigers, whose primary scorers are all more effective down low.

When Ole Miss has the ball...

Ole Miss Offense vs. Missouri Defense

Team Adj. Eff. Poss. Length eFG% TO% OR% FTA/FGA 3P% 2P% FT% Blk% Stl%
Team Adj. Eff. Poss. Length eFG% TO% OR% FTA/FGA 3P% 2P% FT% Blk% Stl%
Ole Miss 106.7 (113) 18 (235) 49.7 (191) 18.2 (161) 27 (216) 28.7 (229) 32.7 (228) 50.1 (163) 71.3 (187) 9.2 (204) 10.2 (272)
Missouri 101.9 (142) 17.6 (188) 50.7 (211) 17.8 (215) 30.4 (268) 35.9 (304) 35.6 (285) 49.2 (159) 69.9 (82) 11.6 (60) 9.4 (162)
NCAA Basketball: Mississippi at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

What to Watch | No second chances? No “third times a charm”

Ole Miss’ offense has rebounded from its moribund middle of the season, but the Rebels still struggle with any semblance of production on the offensive glass. The Tigers took advantage in each of the two previous meetings, dominating the defensive boards. It’s a formula that’s worked twice in a row... why mess with it now?

KenPom predicts...

Ole Miss 68, Missouri 65 | It’s hard to beat the same team twice. Would you believe it’s even harder to do it three times? Missouri trounced the Rebels in Oxford and escaped them in Columbia, and the Rebels will be itching to avoid the three-game sweep. The scout is familiar on both of these clubs. It all comes down to execution, something Missouri has struggled with down the stretch. History tells us the Tigers have the upper hand this season, but completing a treble over Ole Miss would be one of their more impressive feats of the season.