Mississippi State at Ole Miss
Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 - 3 p.m. CT
TV: SEC-TV/ RADIO: Ole Miss Radio Network, OleMissSports.com, Sirius 108, XM 200
MSU Bulldogs (13-5, 3-2 SEC) Streak:
Won 2 Last Game:
Defeated Auburn, 82-74
Colin Borchert (Dangerous perimeter threat averaging 10.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game)
Gavin Ware (Averaging 11.1 points and 8.4 rebounds per game)
Fred Thomas (Averaging 8.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game)
Trivante Bloodman(Averaging 6 points and 2.3 assists per game)
Craig Sword(Averaging 14.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game; zone-buster on offense who keyed Bulldogs win over Ole Miss on Jan. 11)
Ole Miss Rebels (13-5, 4-1 SEC) Streak:
Lost 1 Last Game:
Defeated Vanderbilt, 63-52
Aaron Jones (Averaging 6.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game; had 10 rebounds in win at Vanderbilt)
Sebastian Saiz (Averaging 5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game; had 20-point, 8-rebound effort against LSU)
Marshall Henderson (Reigning SEC Player of the Week is averaging 18.7 points per game, hitting 37.8 percent from 3-point line)
Ladarius White (Averaging 7.6 points and 3.3 rebounds per game; adding 2.3 assists per game in increased role)
Jarvis Summers(Averaging 17.9 points and 3.7 assists per game; shooting 51.5 percent from the floor)
Protect the basketball
Mississippi State is averaging 8.9 steals per game and using that defensive prowess to create easy buckets on the opposite end. Ole Miss has protected the ball well so far this season, averaging just 12.2 turnovers per game. It's a critical area for the Rebels, as they're 11-1 when committing 15 or fewer turnovers and just 2-4 when they commit 16 turnovers or more.
Stop the dribble-drive 2
Mississippi State shot 42 free throws against Ole Miss on Jan. 11, 30 more attempts from the line than the Rebels garnered. Much of that disparity had to do with the dribble penetration of Mississippi State's guards against Ole Miss' zone defense. Craig Sword was a nightmare for Ole Miss, racing through the top of the zone and drawing contact near the basket. Ole Miss has to make the Bulldogs earn points from the perimeter, where they are a subpar shooting team.
Take momentum early
Ole Miss officials have already announced a sellout Saturday, meaning Tad Smith will be loud and intimidating - if the Rebels can jump on Mississippi State early and allow the crowd to play a role. Ole Miss struggled at home in the non-conference, losing on last-second shots and/or in overtime to Oregon, Dayton and Mercer. However, Ole Miss' home-court advantage paid dividends in an overtime win over LSU earlier this month.
Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy on whether his team has improved in the area of stopping dribble penetration:
"I hope so. We weren't very good in Starkville, especially against one kid (Sword) who made more free throws than we shot as a team. That's a recipe for disaster, and that's what happened."
Mississippi State coach Rick Ray on defending Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson:
"We need to have a team defensive effort, but this is really going to boil down to guys individually taking on the challenge and doing a good job. We can't be helping every single possession off of those guys."