Even though the Bulldogs are a sub .500 team for the season, this is a game that Ole Miss can't overlook. See who we like as our betting pick in this matchup.
Tip-off is set for 9:00 pm ET tonight at the Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, Mississippi. Respective bettors and fans alike can watch this game on ESPN 2.
According to the NCAA basketball odds, the Rebels are a 5.5 point betting favorite and the total for the game is 135.
An Important Game
This is a victory that Ole Miss should secure and as for the Bulldogs, they would basically have to go close to running the table or win the SEC Tournament for a spot at the Big Dance. Although it seems very unlikely, teams have done it before, therefore don't expect them to lay down and give up on their home court and in an inter-state matchup. This could be a competitive matchup.
No Definite Go To Guy
Neither one of these teams has a big time scorer to showcase, but in the Bulldogs case, they're hoping that senior Roquez Johnson can carry over the momentum from his last game.
Johnson, who leads the team at 10.4 points per game, wasn't really looking to shoot the basketball in his previous 4 games as he was just 6 for 14 from the field. In his last game, he took matters into his own hands against Missouri and Mississippi State came up with a 77-74 victory.
In this game, Johnson was aggressive and was 12 of 13 from the free throw line for 22 points and 5 rebounds. I don't need to tell you that against a team such as Ole Miss, Johnson must stay aggressive if Mississippi State expects to win.
Mississippi State is a team that won't look to shoot the 3-ball and will do most of their damage on the inside. At 260 pounds, Gavin Ware is a big part of this scheme and he's a major force on the boards and can provide a decent amount of offense. Ware is another key component to a Bulldogs win at home against a superior Ole Miss squad.
Ole Miss was on a 6 game winning streak and had it broken as Arkansas got revenge for an earlier game. Now, the level of competition drops a bit and we should expect to see the Rebels use their team depth as a key to victory. This is a team that goes about 10 players deep with players seeing anywhere from 10 minutes to 27 minutes per ball game. Teams like Kentucky use this method of substitution to keep their players fresh, but in Kentucky's case, the talent is much higher.
Guard, Stefan Moody, has never seen a shot that he didn't like and will likely be the centerpiece for the offense. Moody is shooting just 40.5 % from the field, but he can nail the 3-ball and is money from the free throw line in case of a close game. Moody is shooting over 90% from the charity stripe to go along with his team leading 15.6 points per game.
In his last 5 games, Moody has been productive, averaging 18.2 points per game and look for him to have a big game as this is a necessary and expected win for the Rebels.
The question for the Bulldogs will be "Where will the offense come from?" This is a team that averages just 62 points and 8.4 assists per game and I think their lack of offense will hurt them in this game. Take the Rebels in this inter-state rivalry as your college basketball pick.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Ole Miss -5.5 at 5Dimes