Ole Miss Basketball: Ole Miss Rebels vs Mississippi State Bulldogs Game Preview


Ole Miss Rebels (12-7, 3-3 SEC) vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (9-10, 2-4 SEC)

Date: Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015

Time: 8:00 p.m.

Location: Oxford, Miss.

Arena: Tad Smith Coliseum (8,867)

Television: SEC Network

Dave Neal, play-by-play

Daymeon Fishback, analyst

Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network

David Kellum, play-by-play

Keith Carter, analyst

Satellite Radio: Sirius 119, XM 190

Live Video: WatchESPN.com

Series: MSU leads 141-109

Streak: OM, W2

In Oxford: OM leads 80-43

Last Meeting: OM W, 78-66 (3/13/14)

OXFORD — The last time a Mississippi State men’s team beat Ole Miss on the field was on Apr. 22, 2014 in baseball. That was 282 days ago. Can the Ole Miss Rebels men’s basketball team continue the trend? Last week the Lady Bulldogs pulled off a buzzer beater shot to beat the Lady Rebels by one in Oxford. If that had not happened, we’d be talking about a more broader streak for the Rebels.

The Ole Miss Rebels (12-7, 3-3) are coming into tonight’s game off of a huge thrilling win over Florida last Saturday. Senior guard Jarvis Summers led the Rebels in the 72-71 victory over the Gators, with a team leading 16 points and a pair of last second free throws. Ole Miss’ bench outscored Florida’s bench 40-19, as three Rebels scored double figures. Senior guard LaDarius White led the way off the Rebels’ bench with 13 points. Senior guard Terrance Smith was behind White with 11 points, adding three three-pointers, and Dwight Coleby added 10 points and led the team with six rebounds.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs (9-10, 2-4) come into tonight’s game after splitting last week’s matchups against Auburn (W, 78-71) and Georgia (L, 72-66). In the midweek win over the Tigers, the Bulldogs ended a 22 road game losing streak. Sophomore guard I.J. Ready led the Bulldogs with 18 points. Junior forward Gavin Ware was right behind Ready with 16 points, and junior guard Fred Thomas led the Bulldogs bench with 10 points. Overall, the Bulldogs had a good night from the field against the Tigers. They finished 26-56 (46.4%) in field goals, and even back that performance up in the loss to Georgia with 23-47 (48.9%) from the field.

Jan 24, 2015; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels guard Jarvis Summers (32) dribbles the ball against the Florida Gators at C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum. The Rebels won 72-71. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Junior guard Stefan Moody is a player to watch for Ole Miss tonight, as he leads the Rebels on the season averaging 15.1 points per game. He scored scored 25 points, including 16 in the first half, when Ole Miss took No. 1 Kentucky to overtime. He would score a career-high 26 points in the Rebels’ loss at Georgia, including hitting all 10 of his free throw attempts. Moody also leads the SEC and ranks 10th in the nation shooting 90.2 percent from the free throw line.

Senior forward Roquez Johnson is a player to watch for Mississippi State tonight, as he leads the Bulldogs averaging 11.0 points per game. In Saturday’s loss to Georgia, Johnson had a career-day as he finished with a double-double, 25 points and 11 rebounds. He was 10-for-18 from the field.

The gantlet task for the Bulldogs is that they are on the road at the Tad Pad in Oxford. The Bulldogs may have beat Auburn on the road last week, but it was their first road win in 22 straight games. State will have to score a lot of points in tonight’s game, as they currently rank 315th in the nation in scoring average (61.3 points per game), compared to Ole Miss’ 45th national ranking (74.2 points per game). From the field, Ole Miss is ranked 161st nationally, with a .438 scoring percentage. The Bulldogs continue to struggle in this category, ranking 262nd nationally, with a .417 scoring average.

Defensively, the Bulldogs will have to avoid drawing fouls against Ole Miss, as the Rebels led the nation in free throw percentage hitting 80.0 percent of its attempts, which would also lead the NBA. Ole Miss and Mississippi State will met for the 250th time tonight, as the SEC’s most-played rivalry. The Rebels won two of the three meetings last year and have won three-straight games in Tad Smith Coliseum against the Bulldogs.

My prediction for this game has Ole Miss winning this one outright. The Bulldogs will be lucky to keep the game within 10 points by the final buzzer. Ole Miss ranks No. 46 in the latest RPI rankings, as Mississippi State continues their struggles with a No. 201 ranking. Coach Andy Kennedy would pick up his 185th career win as Ole Miss’ head coach tonight, ranking him fifth all-time amongst SEC coaches. Tonight’s game will be aired on the SEC Network with an 8:00 p.m. CST tip-off. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @OleHottyToddy for live updates during tonight’s game.