Is Ole Miss For Real? Tuesday's Game Against Kentucky A Good Barometer
The basketball history at Ole Miss isn't exactly a sparkling one. The Rebels have made a total of six NCAA Tournament appearances and went one-and-out in four of those. That includes the school's last trip to the Big Dance in 2002.
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Not much was expected of Mississippi this season either. They were picked by the media to finish seventh in the SEC after finishing last season 20-14 and 8-8 in conference play, with the Rebels losing their first game in the NIT. However, Ole Miss is one of the nation's biggest surprises so far as it enters Tuesday's home game against preseason conference favorite Kentucky at 17-2 and tied with Florida atop the SEC at 6-0. Mississippi has never won the SEC's regular-season title and its lone SEC Tournament championship was way back in 1981. Andy Kennedy is a definitely a candidate for national coach of the year and is a near-lock for the SEC honor.
Mississippi was 10/1 to win the SEC before the season, No. 5 in the conference, with Kentucky as the 7/4 favorite. The Rebels have won nine in a row and this will be their only shot at the Wildcats during the regular season. Mississippi's 6-0 start in league play is the best ever for the school as is the 17-2 overall mark after 19 games. A victory over UK would tie the school record for consecutive SEC wins in a season at seven. It's the first time since 2001 that Ole Miss enters a Kentucky matchup ranked with UK not.
Mississippi has a tremendous 1-2 punch in guard Marshall Henderson and forward Murphy Holloway. Henderson, who is at his fourth college, leads the SEC in scoring (19.2 points per game) and three-pointers per game (3.9, No. 5 nationally). He hit the game-winning free throw with seven seconds remaining in Saturday's 63-61 win over Auburn. Holloway, second on the team in scoring (14.8 ppg), had just five points against the Tigers but 11 rebounds; he leads the SEC in rebounds per game at 10.4 and is the conference's active career leader in rebounds and double-doubles.
The book will have Live Betting on Tuesday's game, and a win would really stamp the Rebels as a potential Final Four team even with Kentucky's struggles. UK leads the all-time series 99-13 and is 27-10 against Ole Miss in Oxford.
Other Weekday Live Betting Games
Also available for Live Betting on Tuesday is Wisconsin at Ohio State in Big Ten action. If you like defense, Wisconsin is your team. The Badgers, who are playing their fifth ranked team in the past six games, held then-No. 12 Minnesota to a season-low 44 points in Saturday's one-point victory. That came after Wisconsin also held Michigan State to a season-low 49 points in a Spartans' win last Tuesday. It's the first time in three years that UW has held consecutive Big Ten opponents under 50. Six of Wisconsin's past seven games have gone under the total.
On Wednesday, the book will offer Villanova at Notre Dame, Texas at Kansas State and Oregon at Stanford. The Ducks (18-2, 7-0) are easily the surprise of the Pac-12 as they lead preseason conference favorites UCLA and Arizona by two games in the loss column and already have beaten both the Bruins and Wildcats in a current nine-game winning streak. It's the first time Oregon has started 7-0 in conference play since the 1925-26 season.
However, Oregon starting point guard Dominic Artis is out indefinitely due to a foot injury. The freshman had started the Ducks' first 19 games and was averaging 10.2 points and a team-high 3.8 assists. The school is hoping Artis can return by the end of the regular season. Johnathan Loyd started in place of Artis in Saturday's win over Washington and had nine points and five assists. He also turned the ball over four times as Oregon gave it away 23 times overall, so that's somewhat concerning.
Both of Oregon's losses have come away from Eugene this season. Stanford is 8-2 at home (4-4 ATS). Oregon was 9/1 to start the season to win the Pac-12. The Ducks appear in great shape to take the regular-season crown as they don't face another team currently ranked the rest of the year - UO is already done with UCLA and Arizona. Oregon seems a lock to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008.
On Thursday, the book offers Illinois at Michigan State, Arkansas at Alabama and Gonzaga at Loyola Marymount for live play-by-play betting. Check back Thursday for a weekend Live Betting preview.
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