Ole Miss vs Illinois State Preview and Prediction
Ole Miss vs Illinois State Preview
Illinois State Redbirds (6-4) vs. Ole Miss Rebels (5-2)
When: Saturday, Dec. 8
Tip-Off: 7 p.m.
Location: Normal, Illinois
Arena: Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena
Twitter played in a role in scheduling Saturday’s matchup. After Illinois State went 28-7, winning the Missouri Valley with a 17-1 record but falling in the conference tournament, an at-large bid to the 2017 NCAA Tournament was not given to the Redbirds. The snub prompted ISU head coach Dan Muller to reach out on Twitter to schedule any Power 5 opponent for the upcoming season. Ross Bjork, Ole Miss Vice Chancellor/Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, saw Muller’s tweet and showed then-Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy. The two loved the idea of a matchup with a strong mid-major program and contacted Illinois State to set up a home-and-home series beginning with the 2017-18 season.
Two of the previous four all-time meetings between the two programs have gone to overtime.
- The Rebels are coming off back-to-back home wins with victories over San Diego (93-86) and ULM (83-60) last week; Ole Miss shot over 50 percent in both games.
- Ole Miss leads the SEC and ranks 11th nationally in free throw percentage (78.8).
- Ole Miss dished out a season-high 25 assists on 33 made field goals last weekend against ULM as 10 different Rebels recorded at least one assist; Devontae Shuler tied his personal best with a team-high six assists.
- Breein Tyree (17.9 ppg) leads the team in scoring and ranks third in the SEC; he is averaging 21.0 points per game in his last four games.
- Tyree has scored double figures in 13 straight games.
- Kermit Davis, a native of Leakesville, Mississippi, is in his first year at Ole Miss after spending the last 16 seasons at Middle Tennessee and becoming the winningest coach in school history as well as Sun Belt Conference history.
- The Rebels rank second in rebounding defense, allowing only 28.4 boards per game.
- Ole Miss is 11-10 all-time against the current members of the Missouri Valley Conference.
- This ISU senior group has a chance to go down in school history for wins in a four-year period. The group is currently 70-40, and the four-year win record is 91-37 from the 1997-98 season – current head coach Dan Muller‘s senior season.
- The Redbirds are 80-21 at home during head coach Dan Muller‘s tenure with ISU, including a 4-1 mark this season.
- Illinois State senior Milik Yarbrough ranks third in the MVC in scoring, first in rebounding, and fifth in assists — making him one of six student-athletes in the country to rank inside of his conference’s top five in all three categories.
- Yarbrough has been named as one of 50 on the mid-season watch list for the Lou Henson Award — presented annually to the nation’s top mid-major player.
- Josh Jefferson has made at least three three-point baskets in each of his last six games. That is tied for the longest-such stretch for ISU since the 1992-93 season.
- Keyshawn Evans ranks ninth in school history in career three-pointers made, and seventh in career three-pointers attempted.
- Illinois State is 10-3 all-time against the SEC.
Connection between the programs
Ole Miss freshman guard Luis Rodriguez and Illinois State sophomore forward Keith Fisher III were teammates at Westchester High School in Los Angeles, California. Rodriguez has played in all seven games for the Rebels this season, while Fisher is sitting out after transferring from San Jose State.
Illinois State has never lost to Ole Miss. In four meetings, the Redbirds are 4-0.
Ole Miss has never beaten an Illinois State team. That will change on Saturday as I expect the Rebels to come out firing, picking up a solid non-conference win against a very good mid-major program.
Ole Miss 84 Illinois State 78