#59 Mississippi Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Ole Miss Rebels

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #59
Conference Rank: #8 SEC

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Mississippi’s 27-9 record during the 2012-2013 campaign is a little misleading. The non-conference schedule was pretty much littered with cupcakes and the SEC consisted of Florida and then everybody else. That is why the Rebels ended up with a 12 seed despite the 26 wins they had heading into the tournament. But anybody who goes 16-1 at home, wins their conference tournament and records a victory in the NCAA Tournament had a very good season. The continued success depends largely on Marshall Henderson. The junior college transfer had an amazing season, leading the SEC with 20.1 points per game. But the year ended with obscene gestures pointed towards La Salle fans after the team lost in the NCAA Tournament and it all kept going downhill during the summer. Henderson is, apparently, on track to return to the program this fall, but the ice is thin and this Rebels team will not make it back to the NCAA Tournament without him.

2012-13 Record: 27-9, 12-6
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Andy Kennedy
Coach Record: 152-87 at Ole Miss, 173-100 overall

Who’s Out:
Even with Henderson Ole Miss will find it tough to repeat last year’s success. The absence of Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner leaves Coach Andy Kennedy with virtually no experience in the frontcourt. Holloway nearly averaged a double-double, tallying 14.5 points and 9.7 rebounds per contest and adding 2.7 blocks. Buckner tallied 9.4 points and 7.5 rebounds. Two years ago guard Nick Williams was almost always on the floor due to lack of depth behind him. He got some help last year and his production dipped along with his playing time. He was still a very important part of the rotation and started 24 contests.

Who’s In:
Jerron Martin is the only newcomer on the perimeter, but it is in the frontcourt where Ole Miss needs bodies. Forward Janari Joesaar will be better off at the small forward position in the long run, although if Mississippi can play small, he could get into the regular rotation. Dwight Coleby, at 6-9 and 236 pounds, is the big body who can push people around in the paint. However, it is Sebastian Saiz who is expected to step into a starting gig from day one. The 6-9 freshman has a lot of international experience playing for Spain at the Under-18 and Under-19 level. Even if it takes some time for his scoring to come around, he has the toughness on the glass that this team needs to help replace Holloway and Buckner.

Who to Watch:
Jarvis Summers, LaDarius White and Aaron Jones are the likely candidates to fill in the starting five around Henderson, if available, and Saiz. Summers, a junior point guard, averaged 9.1 points and 3.8 assists last season and he is very effective attacking the basket. With a little more consistency and confidence when it comes to outside shooting, Summers will be an extremely dangerous point guard. White is going to be asked to do a lot this season, especially if Henderson spends any time off of the team. The 6-6 wing will need to help out the frontcourt on the glass as much as possible and help take the pressure off of Henderson on the offensive end of the floor. He is a decent outside shooter and slasher, but there is room for improvement in both departments. Jones missed the end of last season with an injury, yet otherwise had a promising sophomore season. He was not asked to do much scoring, yet the shots are going to be there now. He is a quality rebounder and tallied 4.1 per contest in under 17 minutes.

Final Projection:
Sophomores Anthony Perez and Terry Brutus will again provide depth to the frontcourt. Both averaged fewer than ten minutes per game as freshmen, although that had more to do with the talent in front of them than anything else. Derrick Millinghaus is another sophomore who showed promise in 2012-2013. For now the point guard is going to have to be content backing up Summers, but it is also possible that Summers could slide over to the shooting guard spot if Henderson gets into trouble again. And that is basically what this season will come down to for the Rebels. The development of the frontcourt will play a part in the success or failures of this group, but that will hardly matter with Henderson around to score 20 plus points per game.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Jarvis Summers, Junior, Guard, 9.1 points per game
Marshall Henderson, Senior, Guard, 20.1 points per game
LaDarius White, Junior, Guard, 6.4 points per game
Aaron Jones, Junior, Forward, 3.5 points per game
Sebastian Saiz, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.2 (10th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.9 (181, 9)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.8 (143, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.8 (80, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.6 (122, 4)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.4 (230, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.8 (223, 8)
Rebound Margin: 1.4 (134, 6)
Assists Per Game: 12.5 (185, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.4 (36, 2)


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