Primer: Ole Miss - MVSU

Ole Miss (2-0) hosts Mississippi Valley State tonight at 7:30 p.m. What to watch for? We take a look.


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Game: Ole Miss - Mississippi Valley State
Date: Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m.
Location: Oxford, Miss.
TV/Radio: None/Ole Miss Radio Network


The Lede:

Ole Miss senior guard Marshall Henderson made his season debut at Coastal Carolina on Saturday. And his return couldn't have come at a better time.

The Rebels are searching for offense outside of junior guard Jarvis Summers who, through two games, leads the team in scoring with 21.0 points per game. He scored a career-high 28 points, including 22 points in the first half, on a career-best 5 of 10 from 3 in Ole Miss' 69-54 season-opening win over Troy.

Outside of Summers, however, the Rebels haven't gotten much. Ladarius White is 1 for 12 to start the season. Derrick Millinghaus is 9 of 25, though he is averaging 12.5 points per game.

The Rebel offense, as was proven a year ago, is reliant on Henderson. His 19 points in the win at Coastal assured the Ole Miss victory. Fourteen of those points came in the second half. He'll need similar efforts the rest of the way if Ole Miss is to have success in 2013-14.


Scouting MVSU:


Marshall Henderson
USA TODAY images

Mississippi Valley State is 1-3 on the young season after dropping road contents at Mississippi State, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. The Delta Devils do claim a home victory over Champion Baptist College, of Hot Spring, Ark.

Anthony McDonald and DeAngelo Priar are tied for the team lead in scoring averaging 15.5 point per game, while Blake Ralling leads the squad pulling down 5.3 boards per game. McDonald has also hit a team-high 12 3-pointer, knocking down 41.0 percent of his attempts.

Ole Miss in 5-0 all-time versus the Delta Devils having won each of the contests by an average of 30.0 points per game, including last year's 93-57 season-opening win at Tad Smith Coliseum. Henderson hit five three-pointers and poured in a game-high 22 points and Martavious Newby added 11 points as the Rebels cruised to the 36-point victory.


The Rundown:

Tonight is less about the final score than the performance. Ole Miss shouldn't have much trouble earning its third win against a hapless Mississippi Valley State, and the Rebels have history on their side in that they're 36-0 all-time against SWAC opponents.

But how they perform - if they're able to shake White of his early-season struggles, the front court duo of Aaron Jones and Demarco Cox play an increased role in the offense, etc. - will provide some clarity prior to Ole Miss making an all-important trip to Brooklyn, N.Y., for the Barclays Center Classic next week.

Ole Miss has held its own defensively, despite closer-than-expected results to two inferior opponents. The Rebels fall just outside of KenPom.com's top-60 in adjusted defensive efficiency (97.2), which is an estimate of the defensive efficiency a team would have against the average Division-I offense.

Offensively, though, they have been much worse. They're 113th in adjusted offensive efficiency with a rating of 105.8. The struggles have only been magnified at the free throw line. Ole Miss is 37 of 63, good for 59 percent, so far.

"You have to play the right way in order to give your team a chance the opportunity to be successful," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "Defensively, we were pretty consistent from game one to game two. I thought we defended fairly well. Offensively, we're not close to where we need to be. Our timing hasn't been where it needs to be."

Spirit's Pick:

Ole Miss


Ole Miss Logo
Ole Miss should coast against Mississippi Valley State. The Rebels are the far superior team, despite their struggles through two games. And if the game goes as expected, Kennedy should be able to play his entire bench, allowing for further evaluation as the eighth-year head coach attempts to settle on a rotation prior to Brooklyn.


Ole Miss forward Sebastian Saiz meets the media to preview Ole Miss - MVSU.


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