Western Kentucky vs. Ole Miss College Basketball Odds & Picks: Rebels Have Edge at Home
Kevin Langley/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jarkel Joiner.
- Western Kentucky takes on Ole Miss is Saturday night college hoops action.
- The Rebels picked up an impressive win over Memphis earlier this season, and the Hilltoppers share some similarities with the Tigers.
- Check out Keg's full betting preview for Saturday's game below.
Western Kentucky vs. Ole Miss Odds
|Western Kentucky Odds|
-105o / -115u
|Ole Miss Odds|
-105o / -115u
The Ole Miss Rebels and Western Kentucky Hilltoppers will meet in Atlanta as the nightcap for the Holiday Hoopsgiving Saturday night.
The Rebels and Tops have met just twice before and split the games. But Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis has a long history against WKU, facing the Tops 32 times during his time at Middle Tennessee and going 17-15 in those matchups.
Western enters the matchup coming off a tough loss at home against Buffalo, but it’s won four of its last five. Against the Bulls, the Tops never seemed to find their rhythm, while Buffalo shot the lights out, shooting 45.6% and hitting just shy of 40% from outside the arc.
Meanwhile, the Rebels have won three in a row, capped off by their upset of then 18th-ranked Memphis in Oxford. And while it was an impressive win for the Rebels regardless, Memphis seems to be far from the team most originally thought it was.
Now, as they both leave the success they’ve had on their home courts to play in Atlanta, who will prove to be the superior team on a neutral court?
The Hilltoppers lead Conference USA and rank second in the NCAA in fouls per game at 12.7 per contest. They’ve also posted the 10th-most blocks per game at 6.3, in the nation.
And the defensive accolades don’t stop there for the Hilltoppers, as they’ve forced the 29th-most steals per game, averaging 9.7 while forcing the 28th-most turnovers per game at 17.8.
On the offensive end of the court, Western leads its conference in field goal percentage at 47.5%. The Hilltoppers have also averaged 74.4 points per game and pulled down an average of 35.5 rebounds per game.
Jairus Hamilton leads Western on the offensive end. Shooting 51.4% overall and 35.1% from outside the arc, he adds 17.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Jamarion Sharp may only average 6.9 points per game so far this season, but he leads the team in rebounds and blocks. He also ranks second in the NCAA in blocks per game at 4.7 and is one of just four players this season who has recorded a triple double.
The biggest factor for the Hilltoppers will be Josh Anderson, who is expected to make his return after being out due to COVID- 19 protocols. In the six games he played before being sidelined, Anderson averaged 9.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and three assists per game.
His return will be more than welcome for the Hilltoppers.
Ole Miss did nearly everything right against Memphis. It slowed the game down to its pace, limited Memphis — which leads the NCAA in blocks — to a season-low three blocks, and made 23-of-29 shots from the free-throw line.
Taking away Memphis’ best assets and beating the Tigers where they struggle the most was an impressive and well-executed game plan by Davis and his squad. But can they keep it up away from Oxford?
Coincidentally, WKU shares some similarities with Memphis. It plays at a fast pace and struggles from the free-throw line. Ole Miss however, is one of the slowest teams in the country, ranking 279th in adjusted tempo, per KenPom.
And while WKU may have better national rankings in defensive metrics as a team, Ole Miss has been better. The Rebels have limited opponents to just 61.9 points per game on average, while opponents have also averaged just 38.4% shooting overall.
Senior Jarkel Joiner, an Oxford native, has been the driving force for this Rebels team. Joiner is fourth in the SEC in minutes played per game, during which he’s led the team in scoring with 16 points per game.
Joiner also averages 4.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game while hitting at 46% from the field.
Western Kentucky vs. Ole Miss Betting Pick
Offensively, Western and Ole Miss post similar numbers, But this game won’t be won on the offensive end.
Ole Miss ranks miles ahead of Western on defense, ranking 34th in adjusted defensive efficiency compared to the Tops’ spot at 120th.
The Rebels have also been working better as a team, while WKU has had some issues staying on the same page. Anderson’s return adds a much-needed increase in bench depth for the Tops, but at the same time, it could spell even more issues for them trying to stay in sync.
Because of that, I’ll stick with the Rebels to keep their win streak alive in Atlanta. I jumped on Ole Miss at -5.5 and would take it as high as -7.