Rutgers (4-1) at Ole Miss (5-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 1, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Tad Smith Coliseum (9,061) -- Oxford, Mississippi. Television: ESPN U. Home Record: Rutgers 2-1, Ole Miss 5-0. Away Record: Rutgers 2-0, Ole Miss 0-0. Neutral Record: Rutgers 0-0, Ole Miss 0-0. Conference Record: Rutgers 0-0, Ole Miss 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Ole Miss Rebels will attempt to keep their perfect record in tact on Saturday afternoon, as they play host to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights as part of the Big East/SEC Challenge.
Rutgers dropped its season opener in disappointing fashion, losing to Saint Peter's at home, 56-52, but since then it has been on a roll. The Knights are currently riding a four-game win streak, with their most recent victory coming on the road on Nov. 25 against UNC Greensboro, 87-80.
This game will mark the final tilt on the Rebels' season-opening, six-game homestand, and so far it has been flawless with wins in each of its first five. The Rebels have won all their games by at least 18 points, and their most recent effort against Lipscomb was their most dominating performance yet, winning 91-45.
These two teams have never met before on the hardwood.
The Scarlet Knights have been very efficient from the floor through five games, making nearly 48 percent of their field goal attempts, and when you pair that with plenty of successful trips to the foul line (82-of-115), they sit with 73.2 ppg, 7.4 ppg more than their opponents on average. Against UNCG, Rutgers connected on a lofty 57.4 percent of its shot attempts and scored more than 80 points for the third time this season. The backcourt duo of Eli Carter (25 points) and Myles Mack (24 points) were outstanding in the win, as the two combined to go a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line, 4-of-8 from three- point range, and come up with six steals. Carter has split his time between the starting lineup and the bench, but no matter what he's been productive, scoring a team-high 18.0 ppg while missing just one of his 23 free throws (.957). Mack (14.8 ppg) has also gotten off to a hot start, connecting on better than 58 percent of his field goal attempts. Wally Judge (7.4 ppg, 8.0 rpg) has been solid in the low post, and he has helped the team to a plus-8.0 rebounding margin.
Ole Miss has barely broken a sweat through its first five games, converting 46.3 percent of its field goal attempts for 88.4 ppg, outscoring its opponents by an astounding 33.2 ppg on average. Not only did the Rebels put up 91 points in their latest outing, but they forced Lipscomb into a dismal 12-of-49 shooting effort while forcing 26 turnovers. Murphy Holloway paced the squad with 23 points and eight rebounds, and Nick Williams netted 14 points on 3- of-5 from three-point range. Marshall Henderson finished with a line consisting of 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists, but he was just 3- of-14 from the floor (2-of-12 from beyond the arc). Reginald Buckner also scored 10 points and blocked five shots. Although he is making good on only 38.8 percent of his field goal attempts, Marshall is the Rebels' leading scorer with 17.0 ppg. Holloway has been one of the best forwards in the SEC in the early going with 15.8 ppg on 71.7 percent shooting while adding 9.4 rpg and 2.0 spg. Williams (10.2 ppg), Buckner (9.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.8 bpg) and Jarvis Summers (5.6 ppg. 3.6 apg) round out a deep starting five.
Ole Miss has yet to encounter a stumbling block, but Rutgers will arguably be its most difficult task to date. It probably won't be the blowout the Rebels are used to, but they have been strong enough at both ends of the floor to defend their home court for the sixth straight time.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ole Miss 80, Rutgers 73
12/01 11:06:07 ET