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Men's Hoops Preview - K-State vs. Ole Miss Rebels

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K-State gets a weekend at home - and a Big 12 gauntlet reprieve - as they take on Ole Miss.

Really happy this guy isn't around any more.
Really happy this guy isn't around any more.
Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

Let's keep things short and sweet today... The Kansas State Wildcats (12-8, 2-6 Big12, #39 kenpom, #52 RPI) plays their game in the Big 12/SEC Challenge today, taking on the Ole Miss Rebels in Manhattan. Tipoff scheduled for 1:05p CST.

Know Your Opponent

Ole Miss (13-7, 3-5 SEC, #106 kenpom, #97 RPI) is not a great team, but most Power 5 schools are dangerous enough to beat anyone on any given night. Their profile doesn't look spectacular: two of their seven losses are to teams outside of the RPI top-100, George Mason on a neutral floor and Mississippi State on the road. They've also picked up three top-100 wins; for comparison's sake, they beat Georgia by 1 at home, and we beat Georgia by 2 in a true road game. Because, you know, transitive property in sports.

The Rebels have a stat profile that is delightfully average across the board, and their RPI and kenpom ratings bear that out. They're not particularly good at anything, but they're not particularly bad, either. Notably, they give up the three at a high rate, and don't shoot the three that well themselves (give credit where credit is due - they still shoot it better than us). They're not a lock-down defensive squad, but they steal the ball at a pretty high rate, one of the top 25 in the country in that arena.

They're coming into the game missing two starters - big man Sebastian Saiz and guard Sam Finley - to injury.

Keep a close watch on:

This team is essentially Stefan Moody, and a bunch of support/role around him. The mini-sized senior guard is coming in averaging 24.3ppg, 4.1apg, 3.1rpg; the ball will be in his hands nearly every trip down the floor. Moody shoots the 3 at 38%, and from the stripe at 85%.

Offense/Defense Strategy:

I really don't know much about Ole Miss outside of some highlights from their win over Auburn, which showed a bunch of Stefan Moody isolation, and some decent man defense against the Tigers.

Same ol', same ol' from us. We need to be able to close out and contain Moody, help quickly and get second rotations to keep him from letting other people hurt us, and rebound the ball. Offensively for us, it's going to be running that high-post zone offense through Wade and/or Iwundu, finding kickouts for long range jumpers or getting a 3-on-2 advantage below the free throw line. Crash the glass hard. If we can execute, we can win.

Probable Starters

Kansas State:

Wesley Iwundu, 6-7 210 Jr
Dean Wade, 6-10 225 Fr
Stephen Hurt, 6-11 265 Sr
Justin Edwards, 6-4 200 Sr
Kamau Stokes, 6-0 170 Fr

Ole Miss Rebels

F Tomasz Gielo, 6-9 228 Sr
Marcanvis Hymon, 6-7 216 So
F Anthony Perez, 6-9 226 Sr
G Stefan Moody, 5-11 179 Sr
G Rasheed Brooks, 6-5 201 Jr

3 Keys To The Game

1. Clean the glass.

K-State is 10-2 when outrebounding their opponent.

So is Ole Miss.

We need to rebound the ball on both ends to give us the best shot at a victory today.

2. Protect this house.

Bramlage is familiar to these young kids, so we need to take advantage of that and come out like we did against Oklahoma State, with solid D, high levels of execution on offense, and make a few buckets from tipoff.

3. Limit live ball turnovers.

Ole Miss steals the ball at an 11.2% rate, good for 22nd in the country. You've heard me harp on this one before - steals are live ball turnovers, and usually lead to easy buckets on the other end. Gotta keep our hands on that ball and make sure we're getting something out of our possessions.

All stats by http://www.kenpom.com, or by the respective university's sports information.