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668 Ole Miss -5.5
Today, we have a NIT quarterfinals battle between the #6 seed Georgia Tech at #5 seed Mississippi…Both teams won the first two games of the NIT tournament, but Ole Miss had to do it on the road where they beat #1 seed Syracuse…while Georgia Tech played two games at home…In this matchup, I am on the Rebels as I feel they have several EDGES which should help them get the win and move on to Madison Square Garden…Below are some of those edges.
The Rebels have a Big Edge at the FT Line:
The Rebels overall are ranked 2nd in the SEC and 38th in the nation averaging 75.9% from the FT line, led by guard Burnett who averages 88.1%…This is a big advantage over the Yellow Jackets as they currently only average 67.5%, which ranks a low 277th in the nation.
Currently, the Rebels are averaging 78.0% shooting from the line over the last 15 games…What is important to know about the Rebels better FT shooting, besides the obvious, is that the Rebels are currently ranked 1st in the nation in both free throws made (FTM) and free throws attempts (FTA) per game…The Rebels are averaging a super 26.2 free throw attempts, where they average making 19.7 per game. (or 19.7 free points per game)
Side Note: One thing that could work in the Rebels favor, is the fact that Georgia Tech lacks depth…So if the Rebels were to continue their solid +20 average of getting to the free throw line…That could not only result in extra points, but also in getting the Yellow Jackets players into foul trouble, as well…And as I mentioned, this Georgia Tech team lacks quality depth.
In games at home, the Rebel are averaging even more trips to the line with 29 attempts, making an average of 22 of them…This could be the difference in this game, as the Yellow Jackets only average just 16 FT attempts with 10 made, in their games on the road this season…One key to beating an elite defense is by is by hitting your shots (especially the freebies ones)…And another, is by getting to the free throw line more then your opponent does.
Side Note: If we compare both teams averages at the line (home/away) it would result in the Rebels having a +12 point edge gained just from the FT line alone…If we were to use their overall FTM averages, it would still result in a +6 point edge for the Rebels.
The Rebels have 4 starters who average 70.3% or higher from the FT line…Forward Saiz averages 74.4%…guard Burnett averages 88.1% …guard Tyree averages 70.3%…And guard Davis averages 72.3%.
Side Note: The Rebels lead the nation in free throws made with 690.
Vs Monmouth, the Rebels were able to get to the FT line 22 times to Monmouth’s 9…and they made 18 attempts for an average of 81.8%…The Rebels won the game by 8 points, but this +11 free points from the line probably help seal the win…Vs Syracuse, the Orangemen took 4 more attempts from the line, but because the Rebels (12-of-15) had the higher shooting percentage of 80% to 73.7%, it only resulted in a -2 pt difference from the line…In that game, the Rebels minimized the Cuse’s edge in FT attempts, with their solid FT% shooting and then won the game from long range going 15-of 32 for 46.9%.
That brings me to the next Edge the Rebels will have today.
*The Rebel’s will have the Edge in Shooting & Scoring:
Everyone knows by now that the Yellow Jackets play a solid brand of defense…I know very well about their stout defense, as I released a Top Rated Play selection (see write-up) on them, when they faced a good offensive team in the Panthers…The big difference though in that game, compared to today’s, was that Georgia Tech was playing at home where they are a solid 17-4, and Pitt’s offense at the time was in a shooting and scoring slump…This game however, is on the road where Georgia Tech is only 2-11, and the Rebel’s offense is currently blazing hot right now.
In fact, the Rebels offense has scored a total of 176 points in their last two wins on the road, at Monmouth and at Syracuse…Overall the Rebels have averaged 78.3 ppg, which ranks 50th in the nation…They also average 42.4% shooting from the field, 35.2% from down town and 75.2% from the line…However, those are overall stats…Current stats, as I mentioned, shows that the Rebels are clearly on fire right now…In their last 11 games, the Rebels are averaging a super 81.5 ppg…And even more recently, the Rebels in their last 5 games continues to average over 80 points, specifically 81.8 ppg in that span.
Even more recent, vs Monmouth 2 games ago…the Rebels shot 52% from the field, 45% from long range and 81.8% from the line…Then in their last game at Syracuse, the Rebels shot 47% from the field, 46.9% from long range and 80.0% from the line…In those 2 NIT games combined, the Rebels averaged 50% shooting from the field, 45.9% shooting from long range and 80.9% from the FT line…Those are some solid numbers for a team that had to do it on the road and as underdogs as well.
Side Note: The Rebels hit 15-of-32 from long range vs Syracuse…and over half of their offense was generated from outside the perimeter.
One of the players that have been playing solid of late is soph guard Davis, who is averaging 18.7 ppg over the last 11 games…Junior guard Burnett, who also leads the team with 16.8 ppg and 3.2 assists…and has been on fire from down town hitting 15-of-27 three-pointers in their last 4 games.
In the Rebels last game, where they beat #1 seed Syracuse, 85-80, they shot 15 three-pointers, led by guard Davis’s 6 three-pointers…Forward Saiz finished with another double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds…Junior guard Burnett scored 19 pts, including 5-of-9 from long range and 9 assists…And junior guard Neal, came off the bench to score 15 points…including going 3-of-6 from long range….Solid!
Side Note: Syracuse in their last game of the regular season, lit up Georgia Tech’s vaunted defense at the Carrier Dome, 90-to-61, shooting 53.7% from the field, 62.5% from long range and 77.3% from the line.
Still, Georgia Tech is tough down low with Lammers defending the rim and the Yellow Jackets ability to block shots; ranking 4th in the nation…But the Rebels Big Dawgs down low can hold their own and they are led by the SEC’s best board banger in senior forward Saiz.
And that leads me into the next Edge the Rebels have.
*The Rebels have an Equal or Better Edge on the Boards:
Georgia Tech has one the nation’s best rim protector in center Lammers…He definitely will pose a tough obstacle for the Rebels to overcome…The Yellow Jackets will have the height advantage over the Rebels, but that doesn’t mean they will have the athletic advantage over them.
The Rebels tallest player down low is 6-9 forward Saiz…He may be shorter than other bigs, but he is not someone that can be easily pushed around in the paint…Currently, the Rebels Saiz, is an All-SEC first team selection who leads the SEC and ranks 5th in the nation in rebounding averaging 11.3 rpg…He is also the only player in the SEC that is averaging double-doubles this season…And, he is 1st in the SEC and 5th in the nation with 22 double-doubles this season…That’s more than the Yellow Jackets Lammers.
Side Note: Forward Saiz vs Monmouth had 23 points and 11 rebounds and was a perfect 10-for-10 from the line…Vs Syracuse, he had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Again, Georgia Tech may have the height advantage with 6-10 center Lammers and 6-9 forward Stephens…But they won’t be the only one’s doing the pushing or dominating the boards down low, either.
The Rebels are one of the best rebounding teams in the nations…They are currently ranked 2nd in the SEC and 15th in the nation in rebounds per game averaging 39.6 rpg…They are also ranked 4th in the conf with a +3.2 rebounding margin…Georgia Tech’s weakness on their solid defense is in rebounding, as they average just 35.8 rebounds per game, which rank 148th in the nation…And, today they will be tested on the offensive glass, where the Rebels have averaged 12.7 offensive rebounds per game, which ranks 2nd in the SEC.
The Rebel’s overall rank 45th in offensive rebounding, compared to Georgia Tech who averages just 8.3 offensive rebounds, which rank 211th in the nation…And the Rebels also rank 50th in the country in offensive rebounding% at 31.6%…Georgia Tech ranks 204th in offensive rebounding% at 26.3%.
Side Note: Vs current “Sweet 16” team, S Carolina, who also has a very solid defense, the Rebels forward Saiz scored 21 points and 15 rebounds in their 75-70 win over the Gamecocks.
In the Rebels last 3 games, which were on the road, they out-boarded all three teams (Arkansas, Monmouth and Syracuse) by a combined 133-to-106…And they also had the offensive rebounding edge of 47-to-38.
Side Note: If we compare both teams’ offensive rebounding averages, it would result in the Rebels getting +4.4 offensive rebounding edge, which could result in a possible +8.8 points scored from 2nd chance shots.
*The Rebels will have Home Court Advantage:
The Rebels under coach Kennedy has a win percentage of 79% in home games…The advantage of playing this game at home gives a big edge to the Rebels as they are 13-5 at home, while the Yellow Jackets are just 2-11 away from the McCarnish Pavillion this season.
Georgia Tech overall is scoring 67.4 ppg, which ranks 271st in the nation…They are average 43.8% shooting from the field, 33.3% from downtown and 67.8% from the line…Their defense is allowing just 66.6 pgg, which ranks 44th in the nation…They are allowing just 39.7% from the field, which ranks 12th in the nation and just 33.5% from long range, which ranks 89th in the land.
Side Note: The Yellow Jackets only average just 33 rebounds per game on the road, and just 8 offensive boards as well.
The Yellow Jackets in road games are poor, averaging just 63.0 ppg, 41.5% shooting from the field, 34.7% from long range…including just 5 three-pointer per game, and just 67.0% from the line…Their defense in road games has struggled the most, giving up 74.7 ppg, 45.4% shooting from the field, 38.5% shooting from long range…including giving up an average of 8 three-pointers, and 76.4% from the line.
Side Note: If we were to compare the amount of three-pointers Georgia Tech makes in road games with how much their defense averages allowing…That would result in +3 three-pointers edge or +9 points for the Rebels.
At home the Rebel still allow 74.9 ppg, which is not good…However, their defense only has allowed opponents to average 41.0% shooting from the field at home…The Jackets are a team that likes to get the ball down low, as they are rank 2nd in 2 pt attempts…The problems for them, is they only average 46.8% in 2pt % shooting which ranks 276th in the nation…They have an effective FG% of 47.3%, which ranks 302nd in the nation…They are not a very efficient shooting team, ranking a poor 306th in overall shooting efficiency…And, the Rebels play their best defense down low, where they rank 58th in the nation in 2pt % defense and also 84th in opponent shooting % defense, allowing just 42.3%.
Because the Rebels and Jackets look to be an even battle down low, this game will most likely come down to who can shoot from the line or the outside bombs better…The Rebels weakness on defense is on the perimeter, where they rank 263rd in the nation…However, fortunately for them, shooting the long ball is not Georgia Tech’s forte as they rank 278th from long range…In addition, they have also been one of the least likely teams in nation to attempt a three-point shot on any given possession, which is evident by their low 13.7 three-point attempts per game average, which ranks 348th fewest in the nation.
The Rebels perimeter defense was able to hold Syracuse’s long range shooting to just 8-of-30 for 27%…They also held South Carolina to just 30% and Alabama to just 28.6% from 3pt land…So, they do have the capability to defend the arc…And they will need to do it again in this game, as Georgia Tech is coming off a game where their they shot 40% from 3 pt land.
Side Note: Ole Miss currently ranks 76th in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI)…while George Tech ranks 106th.
Lastly, two areas where the Rebels need to be control is their committing a lot of fouls, averaging almost 20 per game…And also their turnovers with 14.3 per game…Georgia Tech commits 13.4 turnovers per game…Fortunate for them again, is Georgia Tech is a very poor FT% shooting team, averaging just 67%…And that the Rebels defense, has been good at forcing 14 opponents turnovers per game, which ranks 92nd in the nation.
Bottom line is Georgia Tech was fortunate that Indiana didn’t want to host any NIT games, and they took advantage of that by winning two straight at home…Now though, they must travel to Oxford where the Rebels return after playing and winning two impressive games at Monmouth and at Syracuse…The winner of this game gets a ticket to the semifinals at Madison Square Garden, so having this game on their floor is a big advantage for the Rebel, especially as they have a win % of 79% under coach Kennedy.
Georgia Tech will have the advantage on defense, while the Rebels will have the advantage on offense…But, the Rebels offense is hot right now and the key to beating a good defensive team is hitting your shots…which the Rebel at the moment are definitely doing a good job at…Control of the boards will be a battle, but the Rebels bigs can definitely hold their own against the taller, but lighter Jackets.
Lastly, with both teams strengths being down in the paint and no one having a clear advantage…This game could be won at the line or from behind the arc…If it does come down to that, then the Rebels surely has the edges in their favor as they are the best in the nation at getting to the FT line, scoring from the FT line and getting opponents to commit fouls, that could lead to foul trouble….And they also have the edge from 3 pt land, even though the Jackets hit 40% in their last game, because this game is on the road and they are not a team that has been consistently been putting up or scoring a lot of threes per game this season, as the Rebels have been with their long range bombing attack.
In the end, I think the Rebels offense, their solid rebounding, their FT shooting and their home court advantage, in combination, will be the difference in this game…….GO REBELS!
Side Note: Georgia Tech is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games after 3 or more consecutive home games.
Side Note: Ole Miss is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
Side Note: Ole Miss is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games vs ACC opponents.
Side Note: Ole Miss is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 home games.