The Tad Smith Coliseum will play host to the Cowboys of McNeese State tonight at 7 PM as the Rebels look to improve to 4-0 on the season. The Cowboys are coming off a pair of double-digit road losses to LSU and Southeast Missouri State. This will be the 26th time in the last 10 seasons that they have played a BCS conference opponent, losing the first 25, including an 83-67 loss to Ole Miss in 2009.
McNeese State lost three starters off a team that went 17-16 last year and has struggled to get anything going at the beginning of the
season. They rank outside the top 300 in the country in points, rebounds, and assists per game. Their 57.7 PPG is 34 points less than the Rebels’ 91.7 PPG, which ranks 4th in the nation. Despite being outrebounded by Coastal Carolina, the Rebels still rank 15th nationally in RPG with 45, 14.7 more than MSU’s average.
Andy Kennedy’s club is currently tied for 9th in the country in blocks per game at 9. The innate shot-blocking ability of the red and blue could prove to be hazardous for an undersized Cowboy team. They start three guards, none of which are taller than 6’3, and two forwards who are 6’5 and 6’7. Going up against a big, athletic Rebel team could cause fits for a team looking to make plays in the paint.
Due to their lack of size, the Cowboys need to shoot the ball well if they want to have a chance. Their poor shooting has been a big reason that their start has been as abysmal as it has. They are shooting 39.5 percent from the field and 21.7 percent from beyond the arc. Jeremie Mitchell and Kevin Hardy are the only true shooters on the team, so expect the likes of Jarvis Summers and Nick Williams to stick to them to make their shots uncomfortable. The majority of their offense comes from the guards, so matching up, adding help defense, and gaining turnovers will be points of emphasis for the Rebs.
Murphy Holloway should have a big game as there is no real threat to stop him down low. If he does not get another double-double, it is due to a lack of minutes for the senior forward. Aaron Jones could have his best game of the year as he is improving on the offensive end to add to his stellar defense. If the inside presence of Holloway, Jones, and Reginald Buckner can match the production of the perimeter of Williams, Marshall Henderson, and Derrick Millinghaus, then Andy Kennedy’s 150th win should come gift wrapped by halftime.