NCAA Tournament Picks: Ole Miss vs. BYU

David Lawrence

Monday, March 16, 2015 12:16 PM GMT

Monday, Mar. 16, 2015 12:16 PM GMT

Those who backed BYU Cougars & Ole Miss Rebels with NCAA Basketball Futures picks were worried at times this season. Just being able to play in a First Four game is something they'll welcome.

The Ole Miss Rebels Can Win Because…
They’ve been given a new lease on life. A lot of people thought that Ole Miss was going to miss the NCAA tournament when the team lost to South Carolina this past Thursday night. The Rebels really allowed that game to slip away. Now, however, with a berth secured in the NCAA tournament, Ole Miss can look at this game as a chance to set things right and forget about what’s happened in the past. You should see this team play with a lot of enthusiasm as NCAA Basketball odds underdogs after essentially having its loss to South Carolina be forgiven by the NCAA committee which made the selections for March Madness.

Ole Miss has an excellent player, Stefan Moody, a guard who loves to shoot the three from anywhere on the court. Moody leads the Rebels with an average of 16.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. He has hit at least six three-pointers in three different games this season. Two of those games have come in the past four weeks.

What will also make Ole Miss a tough opponent for BYU is that the Rebels defend the two-point shot well. Ole Miss is in the top 35 in the country in two-point field goal defense. If Mississippi can extend its defense to the extent that it can take away the three from BYU and force the Cougars to hit tough two-point shots, the bubble team from the SEC can break through in this game.

 

The BYU Cougars Can Win Because…
They have a great offense, and their opponent struggles to hit shots. Ole Miss is eighth or worse in the SEC in overall shooting percentage, two-point shooting percentage, and three-point shooting percentage. Moody is a talented player, but the other members of the supporting cast are not as threatening on offense. Ole Miss does defend the two-point shot at a high level, but the Rebels are ranked in the bottom three of the SEC and below 200th in the nation in three-point field goal defense.

BYU’s strength is the three-point shot. The Cougars were second in the West Coast Conference and just inside the top 30 of the nation in three-point field goal percentage, at 38.7. Tyler Haws averages 22.2 points per game. Teammates Kyle Collinsworth and Chase Fischer both average at least 12.9 points per game. This is a potent offense with multiple threats. As long as BYU remembers to move both the ball and bodies – not stagnating – it should be able to prevent Ole Miss from winning here, because ball movement should keep the Cougars a step ahead of Ole Miss’ defensive rotations.

 

Outlook
Ole Miss doesn’t shoot very well, and BYU does. Ole Miss needs Moody to be great in order to win this game, but BYU might not let Moody do so. The odds suggest that BYU has more ways in which to win this game than the Rebels. The Cougars are not going to be tossed around the way they were before last year’s tournament. Take BYU with your NCAA Basketball picks.

NCAA Basketball Pick: BYU -2.5 at The Greek

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