clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Layup Line: Ole Miss

The Cincinnati Bearcats have advanced to the championship game of the Emerald Coast Classic. If only there were other storylines to write about...

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes the stars align, the clouds part, and the heavens reign down on blog writers. And this is one of those times. A matchup I didn't actually think we'd see has come to fruition in the form of Andy Kennedy vs. Mick Cronin. The last two coaches of the University of Cincinnati basketball program face off tonight in what's sure to be an emotional moment for cab drivers everywhere.

  • Game: Saturday, November 29 @ 9:00pm ET
  • Location: The Arena at NW Florida State; Niceville, FL
  • TV/Radio: CBS Sports Network; 700 WLW

Where oh where to start with this game preview? We could re-hash Kennedy's one-year stint as men's basketball coach in Cincinnati - where the Bearcats reached the Elite Eight of the NIT.

We could talk about the time when then-AD Mike Thomas cut off the microphone before Kennedy could address the Cincinnati crowd at the conclusion of the regular season in 2006.

Or we could analyze the lack of playing time his wife was getting between the sheets after his run-in with a Cincinnati cab driver. You can't make this stuff up.

Regardless of how you feel about Mr. Kennedy, it's obvious the Bearcats basketball program is in a better spot now than it was back in 2006.

So maybe we'll just focus on the game, huh?

The Ole Miss Rebels needed a huge second half comeback to beat the #23 Creighton Bluejays last night in Florida. I selfishly wanted the Bearcats to face Creighton - if only for the fact that it'd be a ranked opponent. But the blog fodder surrounding Ole Miss doesn't have me too upset...

The Rebels have 3 guys averaging double digit points each game, led by senior guard Jarvis Summers (#32 in your program) at 16.0 a game. Summers is a pure scorer and can get to the free-throw line almost at will. He had 23 last night against the Bluejays.

LaDarius White (#10) is another one of those guys averaging double digit points - at 12.8 a game - but the senior guard is Kennedy's spark off the bench. He had 16 in the second half of last night's game (on 6-6 shooting) and was a big reason why the Rebels came back to win.

Junior guard Stefan Moody is the final Rebel averaging double digits at 10.4 a game. He's a short dude - just 5'10" - but he's quick, shifty, and automatic from the free throw stripe.

What the 'Cats have to do to win:

  • Stay physical down low. The Rebels don't usually light it up from outside (in fact, they only have 2 shooters you have to pay any attention to), so this should be a game decided in the paint. Ole Miss hasn't played against a shot-blocking team like the Bearcats yet, so Saturday night could get interesting.
  • Clean the glass. Goes hand-in-hand with the first point, but it's important enough for it's own mention. The Bearcats have been outrebounding opponents by 10 boards a game, and Ole Miss has a +6 margin. Something's gotta give...
  • Keep Ole Miss off the stripe. The Rebels are averaging 24 free throw attempts each game - and make them at a 79% clip. Bearcat opponents are only averaging 13.8 attempts a game. Again, something's gotta give...
The key, in my opinion, is whether junior forward Octavius Ellis can stay out of foul trouble. He hasn't been prone to fouling so far this year, but I think the Rebels take it to him early and often. And that'd be a mistake. The Bearcats defense and rebounding proves too much for the Rebels; it just feels like they're starting to click: Bearcats win 61-58.