SEC Semifinal Betting Previews and Predictions: Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Ole Miss RebelsSEC Semifinal Matchup
Vanderbilt vs. Ole Miss
Time: 3:00 PM EST
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The Vanderbilt Commodores are hardly a powerhouse in the SEC with an 8-10 in-conference record, but victories over the Arkansas Razorback and Kentucky Wildcats have propelled them into a quarterfinal showdown against Ole Miss.
Vandy closed the season strong, winning six of their last seven games, losing only to then-No. 11 Florida. The Commodores sit at .500 on the season despite ranking near the bottom in a number of major statistical categories, including points per game (60.6 for 311th in the nation), rebounding (32.9, 246th), assists (11.7, 257th) and field goal percentage (41 percent, 277th).
Vandy uses an eight man rotation, with all players seeing at least 17 minutes of court time. Kedren Johnson and Rod Odom lead the way in scoring, and account for nearly 40 percent of the Commodore offense.
Johnson, a 6’4″ sophomore combo guard, averages a well-rounded stat line of 13.5 points pe game, 3.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists. He’s seeing significant minutes this season after spending last season buried on the bench. His efficiency has increased with the playing time, and his field goal percentage is up 6 percent from last season.
Ole Miss is having a great season with a 24-8 record and a 12-6 in-conference record. They advanced to the semis with their 64-62 victory over Mizzou. Derrick Millinghaus hit a driving bucket with a second to go, and the win does more than just get them further in the SEC tournament, but it also increases their chance at an NCAA tournament bid. Millinghaus led the Rebels’ bench in scoring, providing 11 points in 22 minutes, but none were bigger than his game clinching finish at the rim.
Marshall Henderson provided the usual bulk scoring, hitting 8-of-18 from the floor, including 4-of-12 from behind the arc, en route to a game high 27 points. Henderson is averaging 19.9 points per game this season and the Rebels are 8-2 when Henderson scores at least 25 points. The 6’2″ junior guard did not play the last two seasons after beginning his NCAA career at Utah in 2009-10. He’s not an efficient scorer, but the Rebels rely on him heavily to carry the load and he does a very adequate job of doing so.
Murphy Holloway is also having a standout season, with 14.5 points per game and 9.7 boards per night. The 6’7″ senior forward has improved his game every season at Ole Miss, and his role has grown with each passing season. As a freshman, he shot 54.8 percent from the floor on 6.4 shots per night. Four years later, his percentage is exactly the same, but he’s attempting over 10 shots a game. He didn’t see a lot of shots in the victory over Missouri, attempting just seven field goals (making three), but he had scored in double figures in seven of eight games before that.
Holloway and Henderson will square off against Johnson and Odom. Even as great as Vandy’s recent play has been, college basketball oddsmakers will surely favor Ole Miss due to their superior record and all around better talent level.