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The Rebels fired Andy Kennedy last year and replaced him with former Middle Tennessee State head coach, Kermit Davis Jr. — a move which has paid immediate dividends for the Mississippi basketball program. Ole Miss comes into the weekend off to its best start since 2013, when they went 27-9 and made it into the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Can the Rebels pull off the upset on the road in Starkville versus Mississippi State?
Rebels off to best start since 2013 in first year under Davis Jr.
Ole Miss shocked No.11-ranked Auburn on Wednesday, defeating the Tigers 82-67 behind 27 points and 12 rebounds from senior Terence Davis. The Rebels never trailed and led throughout the game, limiting Auburn to just 28.6 percent shooting from inside the arc and 32.8 percent shooting overall to improve to 12-2 on the year and 2-0 in SEC play.
– Impressive physical tools; 20 y/o, long arms + a strong frame
– Good athletic ability gives him potential as outside shooting, open-court scoring wing who can defend multiple positions
— DraftExpressContent (@DXContent) March 23, 2018
The Rebels enter Saturday’s matchup ranked No. 34 in the latest KenPom rankings after playing their best game of the season versus Auburn. Ole Miss is scoring 113.2 points per 100 possessions (30th in the NCAA) and turning the ball over on 19.3 percent of the offensive possessions (186th in the NCAA). Mississippi crashes the offensive glass and gets to the free throw line at a high rate as well. They sport an offensive rebounding rate of 33.4 percent (92nd in the NCAA) and a free throw rate of 36.8 percent (93rd in the NCAA). The Rebels are shooting 57.0 percent from inside the arc (16th in the NCAA) and 38.2 percent from 3-point range (38th in the NCAA) through 14 games.
On defense, the Rebels have surrendered 97.1 points per 100 possessions (71st in the NCAA), while limiting teams to just 43.7 percent shooting from inside the arc (18th in the NCAA). They have also forced turnovers on 20.7 percent of their defensive possessions for the season (90th in the NCAA).
Bulldogs open conference play with disappointing defeat
Mississippi State opened the SEC season with an ugly 87-82 overtime loss on the road in South Carolina on Tuesday night. Aric Holman had 20 points and 12 rebounds on the evening to lead five Bulldogs players in double-figures on the night, while Nick Weatherspoon added 17 for Mississippi State, which turned the ball over 16 times and hit just 13 of their 23 free throws to fall short on the road.
— Lamar Peters Biggest Fan (@LamarPetersFan) December 31, 2018
Ben Howland’s squad comes into the weekend slotted at No. 24 in the latest KenPom rankings after getting out to a 12-2 overall record to start the season. The Bulldogs are battle-tested too, going 4-0 in Quadrant One games and 1-2 in Quadrant Two affairs. Mississippi State enters scoring 114.5 points per 100 possessions (19th in the NCAA) and allowing only 95.6 points per 100 possessions on the defensive end of the floor (48th in the NCAA). They sport an effective field goal percentage of 56.0 percent (23rd in the NCAA) and an offensive rebounding rate of 35.4 percent (27th in the NCAA) for the season. The Rebels have shot 41.6 percent of their total field goal attempts from distance (107th in the NCAA), while connecting on 38.6 percent of their 3-pointers (27th in the NCAA) on the year. They have also shot 54.7 percent from inside the arc (67th in the NCAA) and 74.2 percent from the charity stripe as a team (52nd in the NCAA).
On defense, the Bulldogs are limiting opposing teams to an effective field goal percentage of 48.5 percent (89th in the NCAA) and forcing turnovers on 19.9 percent of their defensive possessions (130th in the NCAA.
- Bulldogs are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Bulldogs are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games.
- Bulldogs are 27-12-1 ATS in their last 40 games following a ATS loss.
- Rebels are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 vs. Southeastern.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Rebels have covered the spread in 14 of their last 16 games and each of their last five road games. Ole Miss has also covered the number in six of the last seven meetings in this series, but they’ve struggled on the road in Mississippi State in this series, going 4-9 against the spread in their last 13 trips to Starkville. The Bulldogs have one of the best backcourt trios in the country and they should be able to cover the number against the Rebels in this SEC battle on Saturday afternoon.
Prediction: Pick: Mississippi State Bulldogs -6
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams have stayed under the projected total in seven of their last 10 meetings at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have stayed under the projected total in nine of their last 12 games versus a team with a winning percentage above .600 and each of their last six contests versus an opponent with a winning road record. Meanwhile, Ole Miss has gone under in 16 of their last 22 SEC contests. Take they under in this SEC battle in Starkville on Saturday.
Prediction: Under 149