Arkansas will have to stop Mississippi Rebels forwards Reginald Buckner (23) and Murphy Holloway (31) to get a needed SEC road win on Saturday. Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

College Basketball Preview: Arkansas vs. Ole Miss

Oxford, Miss. – On Saturday the two highest scoring teams in the SEC will collide at Tad Smith Coliseum in Oxford when the Arkansas Razorbacks travel to play the Ole Miss Rebels. Fatigue could be a factor when both teams hit the hardwood after both squads had to go extra innings for SEC wins earlier in the week.

The Arkansas Razorbacks (11-5, 2-1) are coming off an 88-80 double-overtime win against Auburn on Wednesday. The win was the second straight for the Hogs after losing their opening conference game to Texas A&M.

Ole Miss (14-2, 3-0) enters the game on a three-game conference winning streak having survived an 89-79 overtime win against Vanderbilt on Tuesday after upsetting No. 10 Missouri 64-49 in Oxford last Saturday.

For Mississippi, the size and play down low of Murphy Holloway, 6’7”, 240 pounds, and Reginald Buckner, 6’9”, 235 pounds, will largely depend on the success of their opponents throughout the remainder of the college basketball season.

Holloway is a Southeastern Conference MVP candidate averaging 15.9 points per game and leads the SEC with 10.6 boards per game.

Buckner averages 10.4 points per game along with 8.0 rebounds per game. A huge shot altering presence in the paint, Buckner averages 2.8 swats per game to round out the excellent low post play the Rebels receive game-in and game-out.

If the two big men were not enough to contend with, Mississippi has the conference’s leading score in 6’2” guard Marshall Henderson.

Henderson will stretch the court for opposing defenses allowing Holloway and Buckner room in the paint while spotting up for kick-out three point attempts. Henderson leads the SEC in three-point field goals made with 61, averaging 3.8 successful attempts per game.

Arkansas counters with a one-two punch of guard B.J. Young and forward Marshawn Powell. Young is third in the SEC with a 17.4 per game scoring average. Powell is tied for tenth on the conference’s scoring per game list with Kentucky’s Archie Goodwin at 15.2 per.

Powell and Young are in the top five of the SEC in field goal shooting percentage making both players a big target for Ole Miss defenders.

For Arkansas to win, the Razorbacks will need to keep Marshawn Powell out of foul trouble and on the court to open up jump shots for his teammates and get as many shot attempts as necessary to keep the Hogs in the game.

Arkansas will also need forward/center Hunter Mickelson to be a dominate low-post presence throughout the game instead of in spots. Mickelson is among the top shot blockers in the SEC with 23 on the season and averages 7.1 points per game but tends to disappear at times during different games.

The Hogs will have to keep Holloway and Buckner off the offensive glass as both clean up for easy put-backs well. Holloway averages 4.0 offensive rebounds per game while Buckner grabs 3.3 per game.

If both teams get out to a hot start the game should be a barn-burner for fans. Ole Miss averages an SEC-high 82.8 points per game. The Razorbacks’ 79.6 points per game average is second best in the SEC.

The last meeting between the two teams in Feb. of 2012 was a heartbreaking loss for the Hogs 77-75.

The Arkansas vs. Ole Miss game tips off at 12:30 p.m. CT on Saturday at the Tad Smith Coliseum in Oxford, Miss.

 

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