Mississippi Men's Basketball 2013 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Mississippi Rebels
SEC (26-8, 12-6)

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After a torrid start that saw Mississippi begin the year with a record of 17-2, things cooled off a bit for the Rebels as they lost four of their next five games. Three of those losses came at the hand of the three best teams in the conference: Florida, Missouri and Kentucky. In an otherwise putrid Southeastern Conference, this was not a great sign. Ole Miss would finish the regular season with a record of 0-1 versus Florida, 1-1 versus Missouri and 0-1 versus Kentucky. However, behind an explosive offense and a star player of its own, Mississippi put together a rather solid, if not overly impressive all-around season. Without the upper echelon wins in-conference, a successful season will be mostly determined by the run the Rebels are able to make in postseason play.

Big Wins: 1/09 at Tennessee (92-74), 1/12 Missouri (64-49), 3/05 Alabama (87-83)
Bad Losses: 12/22 vs Indiana State (85-87), 2/20 at South Carolina (62-63), 3/02 at Mississippi State (67-73)
Coach: Andy Kennedy (7 seasons at Mississippi)

Why They Can Surprise:
Mississippi can score the basketball at a level approaching anyone in the nation. They finished the year ranked fifth overall in points per game, and that’s in the country, not in their conference. Led by junior transfer student Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss was putting up just a shade under 90 points per contest through the month of November. Although their scoring slowed down once conference play started, Marshall Henderson didn’t. After playing for the Utah Utes in 2009-2010, Henderson sat out the next two seasons before finding a home and playing time here at Ole Miss. And the man with a fiery attitude has flourished as a Rebel, no pun intended. Other than an early season game against McNeese State, Henderson has scored in double figures every game this season. He scored 32 against Tennessee in his first ever SEC conference game. On the year, the scoring numbers are very good across the board. Even if his field goal percentage is a tad lower than desired, he makes up for it with his shooting ability from the free throw line and from three. Flanked by high-percentage shooters and rebounders in Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner, Marshall Henderson has the ability and personality to carry Ole Miss further than people would expect.

Why They Can Disappoint:
One-man shows have a tendency to fall short of expectations. Although the aforementioned Holloway and Buckner shoot efficiently from the floor and rebound the basketball well, they are not play-makers. They are character actors in Marshall Henderson’s production. The rest of the team’s main contributors also score reasonably well (which is why the team puts up so many points) but scoring late in games or from distance always comes down to Henderson. And Henderson is not perfect. Some games he will shoot 5-19 from the floor and 2-11 from three, as he did against Kentucky, and Ole Miss will loose by a fair margin. Other times he will shoot 4-11 from the floor and finish with a measly 11 points while the team only scores 64. But in that instance, the defense stepped things up big time and held Missouri to 49 points. Mississippi has upside as a team but the ceiling is really only as high as Henderson can take them. As evidenced by their low assist numbers, the Rebels are not a team-centric, fluidly moving, offensive work of art. If their star is shut down, how the rest of the team responds will determine their fate.

Probable Starters:
Marshall Henderson, Junior, Guard, 20.1 ppg, 1.7 apg
Jarvis Summers, Sophomore, Guard, 9.0 ppg, 3.7 apg
Ladarius White, Sophomore, Guard, 6.5 ppg, 1.2 apg
Murphy Holloway, Senior, Forward, 14.6 ppg, 9.6 rpg
Reginald Buckner, Senior, Forward, 9.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.7 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Nick Williams, Senior, Guard, 8.1 ppg, 1.4 apg
Derrick Millinghaus, Freshman, Guard, 5.6 ppg, 1.8 apg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 79.2 (5th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.1 (213, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.9 (142, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.3 (106, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.0 (86, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.8 (170, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.5 (165, 5)
Rebound Margin: 1.3 (137, 7)
Assists Per Game: 12.9 (159, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.5 (42, 2)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
2012    NIT    First Round loss to Illinois State
2011    NIT    First Round loss to California
2010    NIT    First Round win over Troy
2010    NIT    Second Round win over Memphis
2010    NIT    Quarterfinal win over Texas Tech
2010    NIT    Semifinal loss to Dayton
2008    NIT    First Round win over UC Santa Barbara
2008    NIT    Second Round win over Nebraska
2008    NIT    Quarterfinal win over Virginia Tech
2008    NIT    Semifinal loss to Ohio State
2007    NIT    First Round win over Appalachian State
2007    NIT    Second Round loss to Clemson

*all team stats through 3/10


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