NCAA Men’s Basketball Betting Preview: Miami (FL) vs. Ole Miss

Durant Scott is averaging 12.5 points per game as the Hurricanes have begun the season 4-0
Miami Fla vs. Mississippi
Spread: MISS -2
Total: 133.5
Moneyline: MISS -135, MIA +115
Tip off: 4 PM EST


Last season the Miami Hurricanese finished with a 21-15 record (6-10 in the ACC) and lost to Alabama in the quarterfinals of the NIT. Their in conference offense ranked 6th in the ACC, with 1.03 points per possession. Their defense left more to be desired, at 9th best in the conference, surrendering 1.06 points per possession. Despite that negative differential, Miami still found a way to finish with a winning record.

One major strength of the Hurricanes is their ability to pound the glass. Reggie Johnson was 6th nationally in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage. DeQuan Jones and Julian Gamble had decent years as well, and they got good rebounding from their guards in addition.

The team is mainly about Reggie Johnson. He shot 59% from the floor last season and put up 150 free throws (hitting 66%). He was very solid defensively and filled the paint well with his big 6’10” 285 pound frame. His knee is injured, though, and the time table on his return has him pegged for a December/January return. While rehabbing this summer, he has dropped 20 pounds, which should only further increase his explosiveness, assuming his knee heals properly.

In his absense, it has been a rebound by committee approach. No Hurricane is averaging more than six and a half rebounds per game (Kenny Kadji, 6.3), while every rotation player other than Raphael Akpejiori is contributing at least 3 rebounds per game.

Malcolm Grant has been the story offensively. The 6’1″ senior guard has a horrible shot selection. Because of that, he struggled with his perecentages and was only above 40% for the first time in his collegiate career last season. Thus far this year, while averaging 16.8 points, he is attempting an average of 12.5 shots a game, while connecting on only 36% of them. Even with those egregoius deficiencies, he still could be an all-conference candidiate, particularly if the Hurricanes can stay afloat in the tough ACC.

Hurricanes coach Jim Larranga focuses a lot on cuts to the hoop and a lot less on picks (in comparision to former coach Frank Haith) and he also tends to use a lot less zone defense. Larranga has consistently been good at getting a lot from a little (talent-wise), so we’ll see what he can do with this Hurricanes squad, particularly when Reggie Johnson comes back later in the year.


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. His 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 fro 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 8.8 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.

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