Andy Kennedy will take a break from taking advantage of door-buster track suit sales this Black Friday to welcome the Bisons of Lipscomb to town. Lipscomb (2-1) is coming off a 66-62 road victory over Gardner Webb. The Bisons return three starters from last year’s team that went 13-18. Typically a non-factor in the Atlantic Sun Conference race, they have never been to the NCAA Tournament and just once to the NIT (2006). This will be the first BCS opponent for the Bisons, who are 0-8 against BCS competition dating back to a 74-69 victory over Indiana in Bloomington in 2008.
Despite their lackluster historical appeal, this game should be the biggest test to date for the Rebels. The Bisons have size and are a relatively good rebounding team. Malcolm Smith, a sophomore out of Clarksville, Tenn., is essentially a smaller version of Murphy Holloway. The 6’5 210 pound forward averages 15.5 ppg and 7 rpg and is fresh off a 22-13 night against Gardner Webb. Khion Sankey is another paint presence to be reckoned with. The 6’5 220 pound guard is averaging 9.7 rpg. Holloway and the ensemble of Rebel forwards should have their hands full with Smith, Sankey, and 6’10 Stephen Hurt.
While they have good presence on the glass, they need work when it comes to low-block defense. Despite having three players at 6’8 and above, the Bisons have just 2 blocks this season. In the season opening loss to cross-town rival Belmont, all five Bruin starters finished in double-figures. Against a formidable front-line unit like Holloway, Reginald Buckner, and newly returned Demarco Cox, the Bisons could find themselves in trouble if they can’t protect the rim.
When it comes to scoring, the Bisons ride on the deep shot of Deonte Alexander. The lone senior on the team is 8-17 from beyond-the-arc and is second on the team with 12.7 ppg. Alexander and Marshall Henderson could be a good matchup to watch out on the perimeter.
One thing that has helped Ole Miss has been their ability to get turnovers. The Rebels are getting 20.5 turnovers per game while the Bisons are turning the ball over 22 times per game. Securing the turnover advantage and winning the rebounding scrum would make this a merry Black Friday to all Rebel fans and to all a good night.