Vanderbilt (15-14) at Ole Miss (17-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 8, 1:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Tad Smith Coliseum (8,700) -- Oxford, Mississippi. Television: SEC Network. Home Record: Vanderbilt 10-6, Ole Miss 11-5. Away Record: Vanderbilt 3-7, Ole Miss 4-8. Neutral Record: Vanderbilt 2-1, Ole Miss 2-0. Conference Record: Vanderbilt 7-10, Ole Miss 8-9. Series Record: Vanderbilt leads, 74-42.
GAME NOTES: Two struggling SEC teams will try to regain momentum in the regular-season finale on Saturday afternoon, as the Ole Miss Rebels welcome the Vanderbilt Commodores to Tad Smith Coliseum.
Vanderbilt has performed poorly at the end of the regular season with losses in three in a row and six of eight, most recently dropping a home contest with LSU on Thursday night, 57-51. The Commodores are now 15-14 overall and 7-10 in the SEC, and they have to head back out on the road, where they've gone just 3-7.
Ole Miss has been solid overall this season at 17-13, but it has picked the wrong time to go cold, as it has dropped to just 8-9 in league play after losing six of its past seven games. The Rebels were most recently blown out on the road, losing 110-80 at Arkansas on Wednesday night, but they'll welcome a return home to Tad Smith Coliseum, where they gone 11-5.
The Rebels went into Nashville on Jan. 22 and delivered the Commodores a 63-52 defeat, but Vanderbilt still has a comfortable 74-42 lead in the all-time series.
The Commodores controlled their most recent contest early, running out to a lead as large as 16 in the first half, but after seeing their advantage dwindle to just two with under four minutes left, LSU finished the game off on a 10-2 run to pull away. The squad played strong defense on the night, holding the Tigers to a mere 33.3 percent shooting from the floor, but it could not take advantage with its attempts, shooting a woeful 30.5 percent. Rod Odom was the lone player to score in double figures with 15 points, although he did so on only 4-of-18 from the floor. Damian Jones was solid in the paint with nine points, six rebounds and four blocks.
Vanderbilt has found modest success this season thanks its stout defense, which allows just 65.0 ppg on 40.3 percent shooting, but unfortunately it does not have the necessary offensive attack to properly support it, as it scores a mere 64.6 ppg on 43.2 percent shooting. Odom is the top scoring threat with 14.3 ppg, having drained 81 3-pointers at a 38.9 percent clip. Kyle Fuller scores 11.3 ppg and hands out 4.3 apg, while Jones (11.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.4 bpg) and James Siakam (7.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.4 bpg) have both been solid in the frontcourt.
The Rebels never stood a chance earlier in the week, as they went into halftime trailing 56-34 before suffering the 30-point setback. On top of playing porous defense, the squad only managed to shoot 37.3 percent from the field on the evening (including 8-of-29 from 3-point range) while committing 18 turnovers. Marshall Henderson was just 6-of-15 from the floor but still finished with a team-high 15 points. Jarvis Summers added 11 points, while Anthony Perez and Sebastian Saiz chipped in 10 points apiece.
On the season, Ole Miss has been underwhelming in terms of its field goal percentage (.419), but thanks to its up-tempo style and a +2.4 turnover margin, it still manages to rank in the upper half of the SEC in scoring offense (75.5 ppg), which is enough to hide a poor defensive showing (73.2 ppg). Henderson (19.0 ppg) shoots only 36.4 percent from the field overall, but his 118 3-pointers rank third-best nationally. Summers scores 17.0 ppg and has been much more efficient from the field than his backcourt mate Henderson (.484). Aaron Jones hasn't been much of a scorer (6.1 ppg), but he's a staple in the frontcourt with 6.8 rpg and 2.1 bpg.
Ole Miss already took care of Vanderbilt once this season, and the outcome should be similar in this matchup on its home floor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ole Miss 70, Vanderbilt 65
03/08 10:22:26 ET