Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#799 LSU -4.5 vs.
#800 Ole Miss 148.5
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 8:00pm EST
Written by Chris Kubala

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#799 Louisiana State University
#800 University of Mississippi
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It’s a battle of teams from the SEC on the college hardwood in the Magnolia State in search of a victory. The LSU Tigers are on the road as they travel to face the Ole Miss Rebels Saturday night. LSU came back to down Texas A&M 89-85 in overtime on the road Tuesday night in their last game. Ole Miss was dropped 71-55 on the road by Florida Tuesday night in their previous contest. The Tigers own an 81-60 edge in the all-time series between the schools, including an 83-69 road win in the most recent matchup on January 15, 2019.

LSU Tigers Seek to Keep Rolling

LSU is rolling along coming into this one as they have been clicking recently. The Tigers started the year 3-2 with losses to VCU on the road and Utah State on a neutral floor, both by two points. LSU then won four straight, all by double figures, before losing back to back games at home to East Tennessee State and by two at the Staples Center against LSU. Since then, the Tigers have reeled off five straight wins, with four of those in conference play. LSU rolled to a double-digit win over Tennessee but has won the last three (at home vs. Arkansas and Mississippi State, at Texas A&M) by a combined seven points.

The Tigers are putting up 79.9 points per game on the season, putting them 28th in the nation in scoring offense. LSU collects 39.8 rebounds per game and dishes out an average of 13.8 assists per contest. The Tigers hope to improve defensively as they come in 171st in scoring defense by allowing 68.6 points per night. Skylar Mays leads LSU with 16 points plus 4.8 rebounds a game this season. Trendon Watford (13.1 points, 6.7 rebounds), Emmitt Williams (13.2 points, 6.8 boards), Darius Days (12.5 points, 8.4 boards) and Javonte Smart (11.2 points, 4.7 assists) are all scoring in double figures. Charles Manning Jr., James Bishop and Aundre Hyatt are all part of the rotation for the Tigers. LSU shoots 48.4 percent from the field as a team on the year. The Tigers connect on 6.5 triples a night while shooting just 31.4 percent from beyond the arc. LSU has been solid at the charity stripe, knocking down 75.2 percent of their chances this season. Manning underwent surgery January 17 for a broken foot that could sideline him for at least a month. That puts pressure on Hyatt, Bishop, Marlon Taylor and Marshall Graves to step up and replace his production.

According to KenPom, LSU is fifth in the nation in offensive efficiency on the year. The Tigers are 28th in effective field goal percentage (53.8 percent), 13th in offensive rebound percentage (36 percent), 48th in free throw percentage and a sparkling second in two-point field goal percentage (57.3 percent) this season. By comparison, LSU’s opponents shoot just 43.8 percent from inside the arc, leaving the Tigers’ defense 33rd in that category on the year. LSU will push the pace if given an opportunity as they are 103rd in tempo with 70.3 possessions per game.

Ole Miss Rebels Hoping to Right the Ship

Ole Miss has had their share of issues this season and it’s going to be tough for Kermit Davis to get things going in the right direction again. The Rebels started the season with four straight victories before a stretch that saw them lose three of four games, including a 41-point blowout on a neutral floor against Oklahoma State where the margin of victory was greater than the number of points the team scored (37) in the contest. Ole Miss rebounded with four straight wins but have dropped their last four games, including their first three SEC contests, to drop to 9-7 overall entering this game.

The Rebels are averaging 68.8 points per contest on the year, which puts them 251st in the nation in scoring offense. Ole Miss is grabbing 34.7 rebounds per contest and dishes out 14.2 assists per game this season. The Rebels are 104th in the nation in scoring defense as they give up 66.2 points per contest. Ole Miss is led by Breein Tyree, who puts up 17.8 points a night. Blake Hinson puts up 11.4 points plus 5.2 rebounds a night. KJ Buffen kicks in 10.4 points plus 6.5 boards a night while Devontae Shuler chips in 10.5 points and 4.6 rebounds plus 3.9 assists per contest. Khadim Sy, Luis Rodriguez, Austin Crowley and Bryce Williams are key pieces in the rotation for second-year coach Kermit Davis. Ole Miss shoots 43.3 percent from the field as a team on the year. The Rebels sink 6.3 threes per game while shooting 31.7 percent from downtown. Ole Miss is mediocre at the charity stripe, cashing in 72.3 percent of their attempts. Rodriguez has been out with a foot injury since November 27 but is expected to return in the near future.

Looking at the numbers from KenPom, Ole Miss has some decent metrics going for themselves. The Rebels are 112th in the nation in offensive efficiency and 121st in defensive efficiency on the year. Ole Miss is close to average in pace as they are 202nd in tempo with 68.4 possessions per game this season. The Rebels are 35th in three-point field goal percentage defense (29.3 percent) and 36th in offensive rebound percentage allowed (24.3 percent) this season. That second number is going to be critical against a very aggressive LSU group of glass crashers.

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Ole Miss is struggling with four straight losses while LSU rolls in with five straight wins. The Rebels are also potentially without Sy (disciplinary) and could be missing Tyree, who missed the game against Florida with a back contusion. If Tyree doesn’t play, you can mail this one in. Ole Miss doesn’t have enough weapons to hang with LSU on a normal day with him in the lineup. If he’s missing or limited, the Rebels’ chances are slim at best. The Tigers have to work around the loss of Manning Jr. but that will give Will Wade a chance to give meaningful minutes to some of his young guys to figure out who can contribute. In this one, LSU’s talent and experience, plus their aggressiveness, get them the victory on the road.

Prediction: LSU Tigers -4

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Trying to slow a LSU offensive attack that has sliced through defenses this season is a tough task for Ole Miss. That challenge becomes more difficult if the Rebels are shorthanded like they were Tuesday. LSU comes into the game 11th in the nation in field goal percentage. On the other end, Ole Miss is just 212th in field goal percentage defense (43.3 percent) and it might be a challenge trying to match size with the Tigers. We saw how the Rebels struggled offensively without Tyree on Tuesday. LSU will get their points but I'm not sold that Ole Miss can do their part. Look for this one to end up just shy of the mark.

Prediction: Under 145.5
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.