Ole Miss basketball, win-less in true road games this season, is back on the road again to take on the Miss State Bulldogs at The Hump in Starkville.
Once again Ole Miss basketball (11-15, 4-9) finds itself entering familiar and hostile territory. The Rebels are 0 for 8 in true road games this season and now they are back on the road again. This time they are headed just down the road to take on TSBU in Starkville. Naturally this being an intrastate rivalry and with the history between the two schools this is a huge game for both teams.
Besides the rivalry there is a lot to be gained by either team should they win. For State College (18-8, 6-7) there is a really good chance to make the NCAA Tourney. Of course, a win would put them one game closer to the 20 game threshold. For Ole Miss it would be more than a big road win and the chance at possibly seeing a winning season. It will also the final game coach Andy Kennedy faces the Bullies so there may be fireworks.
Miss State comes into the game with two straight losses. Their last was an 81-80 loss to Vandy. This Ben Howland coached basketball team had been playing incredibly well up until their last 2 games and are looking to bounce back against the Rebels at home. Ole Miss is hoping to snap a six-game skid. We all know Ole Miss basketball needs a win so let’s look at what we are up against with Miss State.
Scouting The Bulldogs
Ole Miss Rebels Basketball
Miss State basketball and Ben Howland know they have a good team who can probably play with anybody. Unfortunately the Bulldogs didn’t have a real a very hard non-conference schedule coming into the 2017-2018 season. However, they do have a talented and well-coached team.
The Bulldogs play hard for forty minutes and are great at the basket. They are a very physical team with a scrappy attitude. Of course, they do have several players which they rely heavily on to play Howland’s game.
Miss State depends on its leading scorer junior Quinndary Weatherspoon to find rhythm and maintain the pace of the game. Weatherspoon averages 14.7 points per game while also averaging 5.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. Weatherspoon also wreaks havoc defensively as MSU’s steals leader with 1.5 per game.
Another player Howland and the Bulldogs depend on is 6’11” freshman forward Abdul Ado. Ado leads the team in rebounding and blocked shots averaging 6.9 and 2.0 per game respectively. Ado also averages 8.1 points per game. Sophomore guard Lamar Peters leads the team in assists with 3.9 per game while also averaging 8.4 points and 2.1 rebounds per outing.
What To Expect
First and foremost we can be sure there will be complete chaos in the rowdy Hump Saturday night. Coach Andy Kennedy is not well liked at all by Miss State fans so we can expect the crowd to be very vocal. On the court we can expect Howland to turn his team loose early and try to play the Rebels in the paint. I see this being a fast game for State offensively. Howland knows his recipe for success in this game is putting away Ole Miss early.
This is another game where we really can’t be sure what lineup Andy Kennedy will go with. At this point we have no idea how AK will open this game up offensively. Of course, we can expect a super heavy dose of senior Deandre Burnett and junior Terence Davis to get things started. The Rebels will need to get out in front early and maintain a lead to take the crowd out of the game. If AK and the Rebels play smart and consistent basketball then they have a chance.
With this game Ole Miss basketball has only five regular season games left under coach Andy Kennedy’s watch. Good luck to AK and the Rebels as they travel to Starkville to take on the Miss State Bulldogs. Tip-off from the Hump is set for 7:30pm CT and can be seen on the SEC Network. Hotty Toddy!