College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Florida Atlantic vs Ole Miss (Friday, Nov. 11)
Pictured: Alijah Martin. (Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Florida Atlantic vs Ole Miss Odds
The Ole Miss Rebels will look to start their season at 2-0 for the fourth consecutive year when they host FAU on Friday night. However, this may be their toughest challenge yet when it comes to keeping that streak alive.
FAU opened its season with a convincing win against a Division II school in Lynn, so there's not much to take away from that. However, the Owls return eight players, including their top six scorers from last season's team, which finished 19-15 and won 10 of its last 15 games.
Ole Miss beat Alcorn State, 73-58, in its opening game, but that final score doesn't reflect the issues the Rebels had against what is projected to be one of the 50 worst teams in the country.
Was this just a matter of shaking off rust? Or should we be genuinely concerned about the Rebels?
Despite the impressive performance over a D-II program, there are some questions surrounding the Falcons — the biggest being the status of Michael Forrest.
The Owls were without Forrest in the opener and may very well be without him once again on Friday night.
#FAU HC Dusty May said to me post-game that G Michael Forrest was unavailable tonight and he is day-to-day for the upcoming week and vs. Ole Miss. Said he's hoping he's back soon.
I asked during the game if it was an injury holding Forrest out, only got that he was unavailable.
— Zachary Weinberger (@ZachWeinberger) November 8, 2022
Forrest is eighth on FAU's all-time scoring list and third in 3-pointers made. He's a senior leader on the team and has been one of FAU's top-five scoring leaders in each of the past three seasons.
Forrest has been one of the Owls' most consistent players and if he's on the floor, FAU seriously improves its chances against Ole Miss.
In his absence, guards Johnell Davis and Nick Boyd stepped up massively and combined for 25 points and eight rebounds. However, the Owls had issues early, mainly turnovers and bad shot selection. FAU had 10 turnovers against Lynn and shot just 31.2% from deep in the first half.
Turnovers could be a deciding factor in the game against Ole Miss. The Owls finished last year ranked 86th nationally in steal rate.
If they can limit their own turnovers, it shouldn't be hard to gain an edge against the Rebels. Ole Miss turned the ball over 16 times against Alcorn State and gave up 12 points off turnovers.
Heading into half time against Alcorn State, Ole Miss held just a one-point lead. The Rebels shot just 31.03% from the floor and 30.77% from deep in the first half. They also went to the line just 10 times and made only six shots.
Their second-half surge was largely due to their ability to get to the foul line and find more success there. Ole Miss shot 77.78% (14-for-18) from the charity stripe in the second half and those 14 points were the difference ,as the Rebels outscored Alcorn, 45-31, in the second half.
Ole Miss was without Daeshun Ruffin, its second-best scorer from a season ago, in the opener. The Rebels will be without him once again on Friday. per head coach Kermit Davis.
Without Ruffin, Matthew Murrell stepped up and scored 20 points. However, he was the only starter who scored in double digits. The 34 points off the bench were huge for the Rebels and another factor in their impressive second half.
Without Ruffin, the Rebels will once again need other players to step up, though that'll be tough against an FAU team that is far more experienced and miles ahead of Alcorn in talent.
Florida Atlantic vs. Ole Miss Betting Pick
If Forrest is on the floor for the Owls, they can win this game. Ole Miss struggles with turnovers and relies heavily on its two best players, Murrell and Ruffin, for most of its offensive output.
Robert Allen and TJ Caldwell stepped up on Monday, but I don't think they can find the same success against FAU.
If FAU is without Forrest, Alijah Martin is more than capable of putting together an outstanding offensive performance while the Owls cause havoc on the defensive end.
Back the Owls on the road at +5 or better. I'll be making a small wager on their moneyline as well.