Rebels-Mountaineers: No. 15 Ole Miss faces unbeaten West Virginia

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Rebels-Mountaineers: No. 15 Ole Miss faces unbeaten West Virginia
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Setting

There is a Gold Rush tonight in Morgantown. Mountaineer fans will pack the WVU Coliseum clad in yellow as Andy Kennedy’s No. 15 Ole Miss Rebels (10-1) pay a visit to Bob Huggins and his No. 6 West Virginia Mountaineers (8-0).

 

Plot

Kennedy served as an assistant to Huggins for four years at Cincinnati. The Rebels are trying to win seven straight for the first time since 2007, while The Mountaineers look to consolidate their six spot in the polls—the program’s highest ranking since 1982.

West Virginia has won 29 in a row during the month of December. Over the last seven seasons, West Virginia is 47-2 at home against at non-conference opponents. Their last loss was to Dusquesne in 2001, 68-61. Ole Miss has never defeated a top 10 non-conference opponent.

 

Flashback

West Virginia downed the Rebels last year, 80-78. The game marked the first time the two coaches faced each other and the first meeting of the two schools.

 

Conflict

Ole Miss averages 85.4 points per game. Last time out, the Rebels shot 67.7 percent from the field while trouncing Morris Brown, 92-45. West Virginia allows 58 points per game.

Saturday, the Mountaineers barely escaped with a victory over Cleveland State, 80-78. The Vikings used a 2-3 zone to create 17 turnovers in the final 20 minutes.

Da’Sean Butler leads three Mountaineers in double figures. The pre-season All-American averages 16.9 points to go with six rebounds. Kevin Jones leads the Mountaineers with 7.3 rebounds and chips in 14.5 points. Darryl Bryant averages 10.6 points.

Chris Warren leads four Rebels with 18.3 points. Terrico White adds 16.6, Murphy Holloway goes for 11.3 points, and Zach Graham puts in 10 per game.

Ole Miss comes with a three-guard set. Freshman, Reginald Buckner (6′9″) is the biggest Rebel. West Virginia goes with three in the front court: Jones (6′8″), John Flowers (6′7″), and Wellington Smith (6′7″).

West Virginia is grabbing rebounds at a rate of 36.6 per game and has a rebound margin of 7.7. On the other hand, Ole Miss gets 39.5 boards per game but only has a rebound margin of 1.8. WVU is 46-6 under Huggins when out-rebounding opponents.

Warren, Graham, and White have led the Rebels to 37 percent from behind the arc. West Virginia holds opponents to 33 percent.

25 of Bob Huggins’ 57 victories with WVU have been by 20 points or more.

Can Ole Miss stay close? Can the Rebels steal a page from the Cleveland State playbook? Will the Rebs go 2-3?

Thoughts on the game? Post them here.

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