Time and place: 2:00 PT, Tad Smith Coliseum, Oxford, MS
Suspensions: Starting point guard Dominic Artis and forward Ben Carter will be out while continuing to serve their nine-game NCAA suspensions.
The No. 13 Oregon Ducks travel to Oxford to face the Ole Miss Rebels in a Sunday afternoon tilt. Ole Miss was a second round Sweet Sixteen team last season, upsetting Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA Tournament behind the nation's most famous gunner, Marshall Henderson. The Rebels currently sit at 6-1, sporting wins over Georgia Tech and Penn State, with their only loss coming in their last game with Kansas State.
Henderson gets the bulk of the attention from coach Andy Kennedy's team, but he has not had a great year thus far. His scoring is down over five points per game from last season, to 14.8, and he's shooting a paltry 33% from the field. At 6'1", Henderson isn't the greatest athlete, and it was his shooting prowess that made him such a weapon. He obviously hasn't adjusted well to being the focal point for other teams, or perhaps he just stopped making those silly shots that even Tajuan Porter wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole, and there should be little doubt that much of Dana Altman's game plan will be ensuring Henderson doesn't have a big game.
While Henderson gets the fame, for his attitude and off-court exploits as much as what he does on the court, point guard Jarvis Summers is actually the Rebels' best player. He shoot over 50% from the field and from three, while also dishing out three assists per game. The third guard in the Rebels' three guard lineup is Derrick Millinghaus who, like Henderson, is a low percentage volume shooter.
What the Rebs don't have is the kind of dominant big men that give Oregon fits. DeMarco Cox, Aaron Jones, and Sebastian Seinz are all forwards in the 6'8"-6'9" range who pull down about seven rebounds a game. What they don't do is score. After all, if the ball were passed into the post, it would rob Henderson of a fantastic opportunity to put up another terrible shot. Most of the points that these guys score are garbage-man buckets. While their rebounding numbers can seem a bit concerning, the Ducks have really good rebounding guards, while the Ole Miss guards avoid rebounds like the concept will cause them to break out in hives, presumably because they are finding a really terrible place to spot up for another bad shot.
Let's be very clear what Ole Miss is. They have guards who are absolutely capable of catching fire, a terrifying scenario in which the points start to snowball in a hurry. However, the Oregon backcourt, led by Joseph Young, Johnathan Loyd, and Damyean Dotson, can match them on shooting, while also sprinkling in defense and rebounding. If this game is at Matthew Knight Arena, the odds of a Duck victory would be overwhelming. However, on the road in Oxford, the Ducks must keep their legs under them, shoot consistently enough to keep up with the occasional Rebel scoring barrage, and lock Ole Miss off the glass. Winning on the road in SEC territory is no small task, but one that Oregon must complete to justify it's lofty ranking.