NCAA Basketball

College Basketball Preview: Kentucky vs. Mississippi

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After an impressive first half and a sub-par second half in the win over Georgia, the Wildcats now move on to Oxford to take on the Ole Miss Rebels.


The first thing you will notice about the Rebs is they still have Chris Warren (5-10, 168) at point guard. Warren, who is now finally a senior, is one of those guys that seems like he has played forever because he has been producing since his freshman year. He averaged 15.8 points his rookie season, followed that with 19.6 the next year, 17.2 the next and is averaging 18.2 points during his senior campaign.

Last time out in their 74-58 loss vs. Tennessee, he led Ole Miss with 16 points and moved into a tie for fifth in Southeastern Conference history with his 296th career 3-pointer. He is shooting 35-percent from deep on the year.

He is also exceptional at the line. Against the Vols on Saturday, his streak of consecutive free throws was halted at 36, finishing one shy of Dave Rhodes’ school record. Warren entered the game as the national leader in foul line shooting at 94.8 percent and is now shooting a decent 93.9 percent.

Warren has a unique presence on the floor and a certain poise to his game. He gets in the lane and has the ability to pull up and make shots. The senior guard doesn’t need to get all the way to the rim to score.

He has scored in double figures in all but one game this year, he scored nine in that contest, and has 1,784 points in his career.

The only other player averaging double figures for the Rebs is senior guard Zach Graham (6-6, 218). Graham enters the UK game averaging 14.0 points-per-game and he does an excellent job of using his big body to get to the rim. He plays a lot bigger than his size indicates. He has also developed into a decent threat from deep. Last year he knocked down a career-high 50 threes and shot nearly 40-percent from distance. His numbers are down this year, just 24 makes at a 31-percent clip, but he is still a threat.

Inside they rely on sophomore Reginald Bucker (6-8, 233) and junior Terrance Henry (6-9, 205). They are not that big underneath. In their last contest they were outrebounded by Tennessee, 45-32. Vandy outrebounded them, 38-23, and Georgia did so, 25-16. Terrence Jones and Josh Harrellson have to take advantage of Ole Miss on the glass.

Henry is third on the team in scoring with 8.8 points and is second in rebounds with 5.8. He is long, but extrememly thin underneath. Buckner leads the team in rebounds with 6.4 and blocks with 3.0, while averaging 7.1 points.

Ole Miss is a team that relies on their offense to win games. They want to score and at times it seems as if they allow their opponent to score in an effort to get the ball back. Georia put up 98 in their win over the Rebels and the Wildcats could put up a big total as well.

They average nearly 76 points a game, which ranks 46th in the country, and they lead the SEC in field goal percentage with a 46-percent clip. In their loss to Tennessee they were held to a season-low 26.7 percent and this was one game removed from their best shooting performance of the year – 62.2 percent at LSU.

Despite the loss to Tennessee, they made 22 of 26 free throws and continue to lead the league in shooting percentage from the charity stripe at 75-percent.

This is a good matchup for the Wildcats. You are talking about an offensive oriented squad, with a lack of size and depth underneath, that likes to get up and down the court.

If Kentucky comes to play they should leave Oxford with an easy win.

Kentucky 82, Ole 69