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Ole Miss Host Middle Tennessee on the Hardwood

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor

The Ole Miss men’s basketball team plays host to the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders on Wednesday night. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. and can be seen on SEC Network+.

Ole Miss (6-3) is coming off a 71-48 loss to Western Kentucky in the Holiday Hoopsgiving in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday.

The Rebels are returning to the Sandy and John Black Pavilion at Ole Miss to open a four-game home stand.

Ole Miss comes into the matchup against Middle Tennessee averaging 70.4 points per game and out score their opponents by a 7.5 scoring margin (62.9).

Middle Tennessee rolls into town with an 8-2 overall record after winning five of its last six games and starting off 5-0 at home. The Blue Raiders hold a top-100 NET rating at the moment at No. 98, and have succeeded thus far with a stingy defense and timely free throw shooting. 

MTSU stands 13th in the NCAA and second in Conference USA in turnovers forced per game (13.9), while also holding the NCAA’s 37th-best scoring margin (+15.0, No. 2 C-USA) and 42nd-best steals per game average (9.2, No. 3 C-USA). The Blue Raiders also lead Conference USA in both free throws made (159) and attempted (220), the 33rd-best in each category nationally for a season line of 72.3 percent. 

The Blue Raiders are led by Eli Lawrence who averages 13.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.0 assists per game and leads Middle Tennessee with 20 threes made.

The Rebels lead the all-time series vs. Middle Tennessee, 7-6, with head coach Kermit Davis coming out on the winning end in each of the last five matchups going back to 2016 across his time both at MTSU and Ole Miss. This is the sixth straight year the Rebels and Blue Raiders have met, as well as the ninth time since rekindling the series in 2011. The Rebels won the first three games of the series in 1947, 1960 and 1963 before the Blue Raiders took six of the next eight meetings. Four of those Middle Tennessee victories were led by Davis over the Rebels in 2011 (68-56, in Southaven), 2012 (65-62, in Murfreesboro), 2016 (77-62, in Oxford) and 2017 (77-58, in Murfreesboro).

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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