Marshall Henderson's Hot Streak Will Continue with Strong Showing in Third Round

Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IIMarch 23, 2013

KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 22:  Marshall Henderson #22 of the Ole Miss Rebels celebrates their 57-46 win over the Wisconsin Badgers during the second round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Sprint Center on March 22, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Ole Miss Rebels came into the 2013 NCAA Tournament riding the success of their 22-year-old guard in Marshall Henderson. 

And after another strong performance from Henderson saw the Rebels knock off the No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers in the round of 64, it seems they'll continue to ride the star guard for at least another night, as they take on La Salle in the third round.

Granted, it might not be the smoothest train around, but so far, it's one that's proving very successful for the Rebels in their bid for March Madness success.

Henderson was again the star as they knocked off the Badgers—netting 19 points and four rebounds in the victory. Those numbers did come after a poor shooting night from the guard (0.286 percent from the floor), but it did earn the Rebels a spot in the next round of the tournament.

Which, when it comes to Henderson, is all he can be asked to do.

The 22-year-old has always been somewhat of an enigmatic figure for the Rebels during the season. Be that from his post-game antics, his celebrations in front of opposing fans, or even the emotion he displays during games at his own teammates, Henderson is a man who's almost larger than life for the Rebels. However, he's one that the Rebels will happily have on their side in the tournament.

Few possess the ability that the star guard does to simply get hot and change an entire game in an instant. And few also can claim the run of success that Henderson and Ole Miss have had of late—winning their sixth game in a row now over some very strong basketball teams.

Ever since their loss to Mississippi State on March 3, where Henderson finished with a dismal 4-of-19 shooting performance, the Rebels have been on a roll.

They beat Alabama, LSU, Missouri, Vanderbilt and the country's No. 13 ranked team in Florida to win the SEC Championship. Now they've won their first game of March Madness against a very strong seed, with No. 13 seed La Salle providing a great opportunity to win through to the Sweet 16.

And all of that, has been on the back of dominant performances from Henderson—whose 19 points against Wisconsin were the fewest he's scored since the beginning of the streak.

The 21 shots, however, were the second most he's taken all season, with the only other one coming in an overtime game earlier in the year. But then again, that's just Henderson, and you take the entire package on board when you ask the guard to "do his thing" on the court.

It means that controversy and mixed reactions will follow Henderson for a lot longer still; they might even start to get inside his head from time to time. 

But when the Rebels keep winning and the Henderson roller coaster ride keeps running, there isn't a whole lot more that Andy Kennedy can ask for.

Expect Henderson's hot streak to continue when the Rebels take on La Salle on March 24. The Explorers earned their big upset win in the second round, but it's hard to see them sticking with an in-form Ole Miss side that's looking for it's seventh win in a row.

That would see the Rebels through to the Sweet 16, where a possible showdown with No. 1 seed Gonzaga would provide Henderson, and the Rebels, with their greatest of all. Yet if the last month or so has been anything to go by, it seems that both will be more than ready for the challenge.

As Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! Sports reports, "Coach Kennedy has told me I've got to be... what is it?," said Henderson, after the win over Wisconsin.

"Serial killer," replied Kennedy, still smiling from the victory. 

"But we won't say that in this environment."


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Will Marshall Henderson lead Ole Miss to the Sweet 16 over La Salle?

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