Marshall Henderson: Does Chaos Surrounding Ole Miss Star Hurt Opponents?

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Marshall Henderson: Does Chaos Surrounding Ole Miss Star Hurt Opponents?
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Marshall Henderson took shots Friday that would make chuckers blush. He yelled at the officials. He yelled at himself. He yelled at the Ole Miss fans. He pounded his chest. He stuck out his tongue. He did, more or less, what he always does. 

The show—or as Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy calls it, "Marshall Mania"—will go on in the NCAA tournament. Henderson's Rebels beat fifth-seeded Wisconsin, 57-46. 

And thank goodness. This NCAA tournament is much more interesting with Henderson in it. 

Henderson is polarizing. No, better yet, he's mesmerizing, and the Badgers couldn't look away. 

"There's no question that 'Marshall Mania' affects the psyche of the other team," Kennedy said. "How can you avoid it?"

You cannot. You cannot look away. When you do, he might do this. 

Photo Credit: USA Today

Or he might do this. 

Photo Credit: The Big Lead

"Marshall this, Marshall that," Kennedy said. "We live with Marshall Mania."

The rest of the country is now experiencing it, and it's probably not going away until another team can ignore it. 

The Rebels, in many ways, stayed with the Badgers despite Henderson. He missed 12 of his first 13, and these weren't just "not-my-day" misses. The guy shot twice from behind the backboard. He took contested shots when his team was creaming Wisconsin in the paint.  

Henderson hogs the spotlight and hogs the ball, yet somehow the Rebels seem to be one big happy family. 

"Marshall always makes big plays," teammate LaDarius White said. "When he makes big plays, the whole team makes big plays, one after another. He can go 2-for-15, when he makes the first one, it's like it's all over." 

"Me and him talk about it all the time," Nick Williams said. "All it takes is one. It was nuts. We went crazy once he made it, because we knew once that one came, he was going to go crazy." 

That's what happened, too, and the Badgers seemed to just accept that it was coming. 

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss was only down three with 9:45 left when the lid finally lifted. Henderson nailed one of the first good shots he took all day, an open three from the wing. 

Henderson, obviously, followed that up with a heat check, because who wouldn't throw up a heat check when you're 2-of-14? He missed, the Rebels got the rebound and Henderson nailed the redo three from the corner.

"We knew Henderson was going to get going," Wisconsin's Jared Berggren said. "Doesn't take much for a player like that to get going. He got hot, did what he does. I think that was part of the difference." 

Only he probably should not have been the difference, and honestly, the difference was an active Ole Miss zone that Wisconsin never figured out.

Yet the story is Henderson. The story will always be Henderson. 

"For us, it's another day at the office," Kennedy said.

Henderson spent the final minutes of the game smiling, egging on the crowd and burying a few more jumpers on his way to 19 points on an absurd 6-of-21 shooting.

Wisconsin, meanwhile, limped to the finish line. 

"End of the game, I think they got a little tired," Murphy Holloway said.

Marshall Mania will do that to you...unless you're a Rebel.

 

*All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

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