Virginia Tech basketball preview at Mississippi

 #145 R.P.I. Virginia Tech @ #84 R.P.I. Mississippi:

Virginia Tech men’s basketball stands in at 6-1 on the year and heads down to So.Eastern Conference country to face the 4 up and 2 down Mississippi Rebels on a Saturday 2pm matinee on the S.E.C. Network+.

The Hokies have been gunning away of late on O and are #1 or #2 in the three main offensive categories. Whereas Mississippi just got undone (@home) by Summit Conference stalwart South Dakota State (good team, has the nation’s leading scorer).  That 2-point home OT L does not read well, although most of my preseason mag’s have Ole Miss tabbed as a lowercase centrist S.E.C. team and that’s nearly invariably code for being a post-season S.E.C. team come March. Now, and although I’m recalcitrant to favor Mississippi here, this is absolutely a team that could upset Virginia Tech -all the more so at home- read on to find out if they, will…

Mississippi Head Coach: Andrew James Kennedy: age=49, 255-152 overall, 234-139 at Olè Miss, has a rep’ for: offensive firepower and backcourt scoring.

Born in Louisville, Mississippi, Kennedy was a player in high school at both Winston Academy and Louisville High School.

Baller Kennedy was a 6’7″ forward, was a 1986 Parade All-American, as well as the Mississippi Player of the Year at Louisville High School (Mississippi)|Louisville High School. He started his collegiate career at North Carolina State where he was a member of Jim Valvano’s 1987 Atlantic Coast Conference championship team. He then transferred to play for legendary coach Gene Bartow at U.A.B. where he was a two-time all-conference performer who became the school’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,787 points (18.8 ppg. career average) and still holds over 15 individual records!

After graduation, Kennedy played briefly for the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, although he never appeared in an official game for the franchise. He later began a three-year professional career abroad, playing in Greece, the Netherlands, Spain and Puerto Rico. Chronic knee problems brought his career to an early end. He had his second A.c.l. tear and subsequently his fifth and final knee operation while playing in Puerto Rico and chose to retire as a player and transition into coaching.

After a near fire-sale -though -praise worthy- one year stint at Cincinnati, 0n March 24, 2006, Kennedy was introduced as the Rebels’ 20th head men’s basketball coach. Kennedy is only the fifth coach in SEC history with 45 or more wins in his first two years joining Tubby Smith, Eddie Sutton, Bruce Pearl, and John Calipari. He is only the seventh coach in SEC history to guide his teams to 20+ wins in four of his first five seasons, as well as the only coach in Ole Miss History to produce 10 consecutive winning seasons. Coach Kennedy has won one So.Eastern title (2o13) and was the 2007 S.e.c. Coach of the year. He has been to the post-season nine of his 12 seasons as a big whistle.

Daddy Kennedy and his wife, Kimber, have two daughters, Meagan and Kaitlin

Rebels at a glance:

  • 47th in scoring O (84.3 ppg).
  • 54th in swipes (8.2 spg).
  • 84th in blocks.
  • 257th in 3-point percentage defense (36.9%).
  • 277th in scoring D allowed (77.8 ppg).
  • (everything else, mean, median, mode)

Reb’s Returning Starters=4

Mississippi Strengths:

  • Lotta experience returns from last years 22 win consecutive N.I.T. bid team.
  • Terence Davis II is the alpha Rebel as scoring goes pacing Ole Miss at a nifty looking 18 ppg. The 6′4″, 2o1 lb. Davis is a third year off-G who can shoot all-around (52%) and well enough from deep (38%). Which is a noticeable improvement off of 27% from range last year when he lead the S.E.C. in gunning (most shot attempts on a given team wide percentage basis). As Davis II never meet a shot he did not like | or would not, take. Davis was rated No. 132 in the nation by coming outta high school where he also earned four letters in football and Posted 62 catches for 1,o62 yards on the gridiron as a senior. As this kid prolly could be a 2-sport star if he wanted that. Davis and his 3.8 tpg do not speak to the best handles I’ve ever seen, although 5.8 boards, a block and a steal and a half get sum of that back. He also has a rep’ as a strong 2-point maker and he surely is a volume guy when he gets his outside J going.

    Leggins, 1o1…
  • #1, one Deandre Burnett is a 6′2″, 195 lb. final year lead-G One, who is more parts scorer than distributor by nature. You may recognize the name as he was a VHT (very highly touted) Miami Hurricane we’ve seen before. Though that was one broken wrist ago as this is a kid with a lotta talent and even more hype coming outta high school than that. Burnett was a 2o12 Parade all-American, he only ranked third in the nation in scoring as a high school senior averaging 38 ppg as the Florida Class AA Player of the Year. His Brother Dalvin Cook is a Rb for the Minnesota Vikings (A.c.l., God Bless). Burnett draws a whopping 6.4 fouls per game on average by his ownself and his nearly 90% FT percentage last year tells you just how dangerous he is when he does draw contact. Had a downright kra-kra looking 1o7 point offensive-rating last year as he generates about 30% of the Ole Miss assists (5 apg), in addition to assisting himself. Does wear the fashionista full leg sleeve hose as well, so you know this is a confident guy to roll Joe Namath just like that.
  • 6′7″ 22o lb. Sr. year F Marcanvis Hymon and 6′8″ 254 lb. P/F thumper Bruce Stevens are basically your rebound harvesting worker bees down low for this three G-centric line-up. Hymon leads the way with 8.5 caroms per game and 6.8 ppg on 61% put-back type shooting. Though Hymon also sets the swat team pace at 1.9 bpg and Lindy’s says he is the best post-defender the Reb’s court.

Mississippi Weaknesses:

  • Euro imported stretch-F, Karlis Silins, a 6′11″, 245 lbs., r-Fresh., Riga Latvia native who is said to have a promising upside is done for a while if not the year due to a lingering A.c.l. injury from last season; God Bless. As this post-player is supposed to have some tasty range and a soft touch around the hoops to go with the nominal rebounding and rim defense.
  • Most curious to read that for a backcourt or G-oriented set, three of the Top-4 Ole Miss G’s came with the knock that they needed to improve their shooting-range.
  • This years Reb’s do not have a ton of frontcourt depth.
  • Kennedy coached teams are not typically known for their defensive stiffness.

Rebel Bench: (depth=4)

The above mentioned Bruce Stevens is a powerfully built true 4 who is basically here for rebounding (5.8) and defense (1 bpg and a steal); because he’s not here for his 34% shooting overall or 11% from beyond the arc.

7′ 255 lb. r-sophomoric Dominik -Scrabble points- Olnjniczak is an imported back-up true Center who hails from Turon Poland. Dom’ has plenty of Polish national team experience, although he was a reserve here as well. He sat out last year after transferring from Drake where he netted a nifty looking 72% of his shots. Right now he’s getting you 3 ppg and 2 rpg and a swat.

Devontae Shuler is a 6′2″, 192 lb. rookie year combo’-G with a defensive stopper tag outta high school. ‘vontae is a high energy baller who did **** (four star) smart work at legendary Oak Hill Academy. Right now Shuler is third in scoring at 12.3 ppg and his 50% from the floor, 34% from range and 100% on FTA’s is not something that many starting freshmen are still saying after game no.6. Shuler was ranked right at #100 by most of the major recruiting services and he only got beat once, that’s (1) time in high school so winning is part of his self-culture. And Shuler already leads the Rebels in swipes at 1.8 spg.; not bad debuting work from the bench, if you can get it.

Winning this O.O.C. name recognition game @Ole Miss is really code for... what???

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Illation, conclusion (s) and OPT digits:

Number of Rebels who could start @Tech=2 maybe 2.5.

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is… that in the pre-season, I had this one, Iowa, and what I thought to be the NYC championship game penciled in as possible out-of-conference L’s.

I found nothing to make me disagree with myself in scouting Mississippi… so much as I did find Mississippi more mercurial and therefore harder to predict than I had initially -or pre-season- thought.


Accordingly, I can see this hoops game unfolding one of two ways…

…either, Virginia Tech comes out St.Louis schooled, learnt and well kept, and earns a nice power-conference surname win on the road as the superior overall squad at the moment…

…or, this unstable Rebel backcourt has a stabilizing kinda afternoon; or simply gets hot from long-distance and Virginia Tech finds itself in a nip-n-tuck O.O.C. affair vs. what is most likely a post season club at the moment.

Solid offensive coach; (no political relation).

However, which Mississippi will show up is indeterminate or anyone’s guess?

Then I found this, or should I say these little nuggets…

  • VT is 4th in 3-point percentage (46.8%) | Ole Miss is 192nd in 3-point percentage (34.6%).
  • VT is 1o8th in 3-point FG percentage allowed (31.4%) | Ole Miss is 260th in 3-pont FG percentage allowed (36.9%).

Here’s hoping the Reb’s really are ole MISS… from deep!

(62% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech
=84, Mississippi=75