College Basketball Free Picks: Mississippi vs. DePaul

Terrance Henry scored 19 in the Gamecocks' match against #19 ranked Marquette
Mississippi vs. DePaul
Tip off: 9 PM EST
Spread: EVEN
Total: 146.5
M/L: (-110/-110)

Betting Lines Taken From Bookmaker


Last season the Rebels finished with a 20-14 overall record and they were 7-9 in SEC play. Their season ended with a disappointing loss to California in the first round of the NIT, a game they lost by only 3.

The Rebels were a good team because they can score with the best of them. At 1.06 points per possession, they ranked 4th offensively in the SEC. It was their lack of defense that rendered them NIT bound once again, for the third straight year, as they actually surrendered 1.07 points per possession.

Opponents shot an insane 39% from down town against Ole Miss, which was the worst in the conference. They also fouled too much, and their opponents hit 75% of their foul shots (that can be attributed partly just to bad luck for the most part, or soft rims at home, whichever).
They lose the heart and soul of their team in Chris Warren, who put up an offensive rating of 118 last season and played 87% of the available minutes. He also shot 93% from the line.

Though Warren is gone, they will be heavily reliant on Dundrecous Nelson, Murphy Holloway, and Terrance Henry. So far, through 5 games, all three are averaging double figures, with Henry leading the way at 12.2 points per game. Henry had an outstanding game, at least statistically against nationally ranked Marquette, but Ole Miss lost the game by 30 points, so the quality of that game can be tempered by that fact. The 6’10” senior’s other high scoring game of 15 against LA-Monroe came on 3 of 10 shooting in a 22 point blowout. So, we have yet to see how he will function in ordinary games. Against TCU, he played 33 minutes and hit 4 of 8 from the floor en route to 11 points and 9 rebounds, which may mark the pinnacle of his upside as a player.

Holloway leads the team in rebounding with 10.2 boards per night, and he is shooting an outstanding 57.1% from the floor. Holloway, like Henry, had his best game in the win over TCU. That night he played 36 minutes and went 9 of 13 from the floor en route to 20 points. In the other four Ole Miss games he has totaled only 30 points combined. Holloway transferred to South Carolina but returned to Mississippi after sitting out a year. In the 3 point win over Miami, Florida on Thanksgiving day, Holloway recorded 17 rebounds, and propelled his average into double digits. He still has to find some consistency, but could easily be called the key to Mississippi’s season.


Last year was a bit rough for the Blue Demons. After struggling badly in non-conference play, they went on to win only 1 of their 18 games in the Big East, and they predictably were bounced by the national champs UCONN team by 26 in the first round of the Big East tournament.

It would be unfair to say it was either poor defense or poor offense that caused the meltdown; both were horrendous. The Demons could not even score above 1 point per possession (0.95), while they gave up an absurd 1.18 points per possession. They have posted only 22 wins in the Big East over the last 6 seasons (they came into the Big East in 05-06) and it’s pretty clear they can’t hang in this conference. If anything will be done to rectify that remains to be seen.

And it wasn’t as though DePaul dominated non-conference opponents either. They went 6-7 against non-Big East teams, and that is a way they can keep their program alive, I guess. They have started out this season 4-1, but haven’t played any tough opponents, just small programs.

Their program may not be as bad as it appears, though. When you throw out the Conference play, they have the look of a mediocre team — not a horrendous one — and averaging 80 points per game through their first five might go far to help dispel notions that they are unable to compete with big programs.

They are led by the duo of Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young, who combine to average 37.4 points per game, nearly half of the Blue Demons’ offense. Only one other player is in double figures (Jeremiah Kelly with 10.4 ppg). Melvin has scored 20+ in 2 of the last 5 Demons’ games, including a 25 point outburst against Texas Tech, a game DePaul won by 6. If any fault can be found with Melvin at all it is that he is shooting 7.1% (!) from down town, as he has connected on just 1 of his 14 three point attempts this season. The Blue Demons as a team are hitting a very respectable 37.3% from three, though, while shooting an even more impressive 47.8% from the floor.

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