Ole Miss and Georgia have scuffled in SEC play and are looking for a confidence boosting win.
Georgia has played a tough stretch of games and lost to teams that featured strong and deep frontcourts. Georgia was able to win against teams lacking in the low post in 2020. For Ole Miss, this has been a disappointing follow-up season after an NCAA Tournament berth that resulted in a humiliating First Round loss to Oklahoma. The Rebels’ hangover from last March has continued into the 2019-20 Season and they are 9-9 thus far with an 0-5 record in SEC play. Ole Miss actually has not won in the Year 2020 yet, which is not a good sign. The good news for Georgia in this game is that Ole Miss does not offer much by way in size and have struggled mightily on the road.
Let’s Meet the Ole Miss Rebels
It is Kermit Davis’ second year in Oxford and this is a much more challenging year than last season. Major contributors Terence Davis, Bruce Stevens, and Dominik Olejniczak are gone. Breein Tyree and Devontae Shuler are still there and so are K.J. Buffen and Blake Hinson, but this is a radically different team. Buffen and Hinson are undersized on the interior and the only true post threat on the team is Virginia Tech transfer Khadim Sy.
Ole Miss likes to use an extended 1-3-1 Zone and a 1-3-1 Zone to force turnovers and bad shots. This zone that they play is used to offset their lack of size and strength while exploiting their ability to be disruptive. Ole Miss will also play man-to-man defense either coming out of a 1-3-1 Zone or man-to-man pressure.
Ole Miss may not be the best practitioners of the 1-3-1 Zone this season, but last season it was far more effective. Georgia actually would be a good 1-3-1 Zone team given the team’s length, athleticism and disruptiveness. Georgia has not played in a 1-3-1 Zone since Dennis Felton coached at Georgia. It would also help mask Sahvir Wheeler in the defense by putting him in the Warrior position. In the 2-3 Zone, Wheeler struggles due to his lack of length and size.
Ole Miss struggles with shot selection, but they are a good team at making the mid-range jump shots. They have struggled from three point range, but have done a good job keeping opponents from making three point shots as well. Due to Ole Miss’ size, they really are not as adventurous at attacking the rim and they allow a high Field Goal percentage in the restricted arc. However, Georgia’s restricted arc defense has been atrocious in SEC play.
Ole Miss is an above-average team at forcing turnovers. Opponents not accustomed to facing the 1-3-1 Zone Defense will have issues with turnovers against the Rebels. Ole Miss is an good defensive rebounding team, they have a 75.6% Defensive Rebounding rate. Considering their sporting a zone defense at times, it is quite a feat. However, Ole Miss struggles with keeping opponents from getting to the Free Throw Line. Their own commission of turnovers, poor shot selection, and problems with putting opponents at the Free Throw Line explain why Ole Miss is a 9-9 team.
Players to Watch for the Ole Miss Rebels
It has been a frustrating Senior season for Breein Tyree. He is not getting much help and his Field Goal percentages and efficiency metrics back that up. Tyree is close to the type of player Georgia was expecting from Tyree Crump, but of course it did not pan out as expected with Crump at Georgia in more ways than one. Tyree carries the team and the team flows through him. Stop Breein Tyree from setting up opportunities for his teammates and the victory is pretty much assured.
When Tyree has less than 3 assists, Ole Miss is 1-7 this season. The objective should be to force him to play Hero Ball.
If he scores more than 20 points in a game, Ole Miss is 2-5 this season. Make him the Hero and watch the rest of the team become Zeros.
Tyree was much more effective as a dribble driver last season and he was able to get better quality shots from three point range.
Shuler has also taken a drop from last season, a more precipitous drop than Tyree. Shuler was one of the best three point shooters in the SEC and this season, he has become a very average three point shooter at best. To make matters worse, he went from being an 82.3% Free Throw shooter to becoming a 57.1% Free Throw shooter.
Shuler’s only improvement from last season was his ability to distribute. His assist rate rose and both he and Tyree serve as co-Point Guards on this Ole Miss team.
Shuler is a better defender than Tyree and he forces more live ball turnovers.
The key to beating Ole Miss does seem to be containing their ball movement. When Shuler has less than 3 assists, Ole Miss is 2-6 this season.
Buffen is an undersized Power Forward who has the ability to step out and shoot a three point shot, but this should be a welcomed shot attempt by all defenses. He is the team’s most credible offensive rebounder and second best defensive rebounder. For his position, he is able to force live ball turnovers. He is a stronger defensive player than offensive player.
Buffen is very foul prone due to his physicality and he is also able to get to the Free Throw Line rather effectively as well due to that same physicality.
His value is on the defensive glass when it comes to what determines an Ole Miss win or loss. If Buffen has a Defensive Rebounding rate of 14% or better, Ole Miss is 8-3. Hold him to less than 14%, Ole Miss is 1-6.
Getting him into foul trouble is also important, if Buffen gets 4 fouls or fouls out in a game, the Ole Miss Rebels are 1-6.
Sy is the team’s best defensive rebounder and second most credible offensive rebounder. Sy is versatile for a 6’10” post, but he has not fared well from three point range this season. Sy is very foul prone and this hurts the team’s ability to defend significantly as foul trouble removes him from being able to close out possessions and alter shots. He has been in foul trouble or fouled out in 9 of 17 games played this season.
Sy is not as efficient as Georgia’s posts in the restricted arc and he is often set up for shots within 10 feet of the basket. Ball movement and entries dictate his offensive success.
Sy’s performance is not an indicator of whether the team will win or lose.
What to Expect
Ole Miss’ lack of size and defensive approach will remind Georgia of Georgia Tech. Ole Miss does not have any player who has shown any sort of a threat as a shooter this season outside of Breein Tyree. This game should also resemble the Tennessee game as Tennessee was lacking continuity, size, and shooting ability. Ole Miss is disjointed themselves and lacking confidence. It is an opportunity for Georgia to play like they did against Tennessee and get back to those winning ways. Christian Brown, Mike Peake, and Rodney Howard could definitely benefit from this sort of a matchup. Rayshaun Hammonds should make frequent trips to the Free Throw Line and if you came to see Anthony Edwards, he will likely be resting on the bench at the 12 minute mark cheering on Jaykwon Walton in the Second Half.
Georgia will force Ole Miss into foul trouble and this could end up getting rough for Ole Miss. Georgia will enjoy a size and aggression advantage in this game. It’s a terrible matchup for Ole Miss and a good opportunity for Georgia to build momentum for a challenging trip to face the Shootin’ Smiths and the chokehold defense of the Missouri Tigers. Georgia does catch a break with not having to face Jeremiah Tilmon in Columbia due to a stress fracture in his foot.
Prediction: Georgia 86 Ole Miss 64