PowerMizzou - Tiger Tipoff Preview: Ole Miss
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Tiger Tipoff Preview: Ole Miss

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Missouri's marquee win over then-No. 10 Alabama on Saturday marked the third win over a top-10 team this season for the Tigers and vaulted them into the top 10 of the rankings. Now, the team will look to keep its momentum going against another team that has been playing well of late: Ole Miss. The Rebels upset Tennessee and beat Auburn on an overtime buzzer-beater last week. In fact, this matchup will feature the two reigning SEC co-players of the week in Missouri's Dru Smith and Ole Miss' Devontae Shuler. Which senior guard plays better will likely go a long way toward determining the outcome.

Here's everything you need to know to get set for the game.

Dru Smith and Missouri will look to continue their three-game winning streak against Ole Miss on Wednesday.
Dru Smith and Missouri will look to continue their three-game winning streak against Ole Miss on Wednesday. (Zach Bland/Mizzou Athletics)

                                         TIP TIME INFORMATION

Missouri (13-3) vs Mississippi (10-8)

WHEN: 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: The Pavilion at Ole Miss, Oxford, Mississippi

TV: SEC Network

RADIO: Tiger Radio Network (Mike Kelly, Chris Gervino)

SERIES: Ole Miss leads 13-3

KenPom Prediction: Missouri 67-65

                                       THE STARTING LINEUPS

Ole Miss Probable Starters
Player Class Height PPG RPG APG

Devontae Shuler

SR

6-2

15.5

3.0

3.6

Jarkel Joiner

JR

6-1

10.7

2.3

1.2

Romello White

SR

6-8

11.1

5.7

1.1

Luis Rodriguez

SO

6-6

7.5

6.6

2.2

Robert Allen

JR

6-8

4.1

2.9

0.8

Mizzou Probable Starters
Player Class Height PPG RPG APG

Dru Smith

SR

6-3

14.0

3.9

3.3

Mark Smith

SR

6-5

10.6

2.4

1.1

Xavier Pinson

JR

6-3

14.7

3.3

3.3

Jeremiah Tilmon

SR

6-10

13.3

7.9

0.9

Kobe Brown

SO

6-7

6.6

6.0

0.6

                                                  BY THE NUMBERS

Statistical Matchup
Mizzou Category Ole Miss

74.8

PPG

69.1

69.9

PPG Allowed

63.4

45.4

Field Goal %

44.0

30.0

Three-Point %

27.9

+2.2

Rebound Margin

+3.6

13.6

Turnovers

13.8

39

Offensive Efficiency Rank

118

32

Defensive Efficiency Rank

19

108

Tempo

305

19

Strength of Schedule

70

                                        MIZZOU KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Stay aggressive on offense. The Ole Miss defense presents a unique challenge. Not only do the Rebels rank in the top 20 nationally in defensive efficiency, they play a 1-3-1 scheme the majority of the time, not exactly a common look. That has allowed them to get opponents out of sync and make it hard to score at the rim. Ole Miss ranks 34th nationally in two-point defense, yet 297th against the three. But Missouri can't get complacent and start relying on the outside shot. The Tigers shot just 3-20 from behind the arc against Alabama and rank No. 310 in the country in three-point shooting. Saturday's win illustrated how Missouri is at its best when it is pushing the pace and getting scoring opportunities at the rim. Everything about Ole Miss is engineered not to allow those two things to happen. Missouri can't let the Rebels take them out of their game.

2. But also, take care of the ball. All that said, while Missouri needs to try to score in transition and get the ball to the basket, it can't get sloppy. Ole Miss has feasted on turnovers this season. The Rebels rank eight in the nation in turnover defense, taking the ball away on an astounding 24.8 percent of opponents' possessions. They rank 14th in steals. Saturday's win over Alabama was Missouri's season in a microcosm when it came to turnovers — the Tigers, which have excelled at taking care of the ball some games and careless in others, didn't turn the ball over at all in the game's first 10 minutes and had just six giveaways at halftime yet finished with 16 turnovers. They need Wednesday to be more like the first half.

3. Stay in front of Shuler. The senior is playing the best basketball of his career and might be making a case for a first-team all-conference spot. Shuler has scored in double-figures each of Ole Miss' last eight games. He scored 15 at Tennessee last week and 26 against Auburn, including a game-winning jumper as time expired in overtime. Shuler is certainly capable of scoring at all three levels, but the majority of his damage has been done inside the three-point line. In his last four games, Shuler has made 25-45 two-point shots and just five of 23 threes. He's also a 79.6-percent free throw shooter on the season. Missouri has had some issues in recent games staying in front of opposing guards, allowing them to get into the paint and score or create an easy bucket for a teammate. The Tigers will need to make sure that doesn't happen for Shuler, because if he gets into a rhythm, the entire Ole Miss offense becomes significantly more difficult to defend.

                                     POWERMIZZOU PREDICTION

The records of these two teams make this matchup look more lopsided than it probably should be. Ole Miss is one of the few teams that can match Missouri in experience — four of its top five minutes-getters are either juniors or seniors — and the Rebels have been playing much better basketball lately. Plus, they match up favorably against Missouri in a couple ways. Missouri has struggled at times against teams that slow the game down and defenses that make it hard to score around the basket. Shuler and fellow senior Romello White are difficult for any opponent to defend. We think this has the makings of yet another nail-biter, but at this point, you can't pick against Missouri in a close game.

FINAL SCORE: Missouri 65, Ole Miss 61