It’s usually very premature to call a game in late January a “must win” game, but this is what Kentucky is looking at on Tuesday night when they travel to oxford,MS to take on the Ole Miss Rebels. Ole Miss comes into the game ranked 16th in the nation, and they sit atop the SEC standings with a perfect record in conference play.
Kentucky coming into this game hasn’t really beat anybody worth noting except for Maryland in the Barclay Center earlier in the season. Most media have Kentucky as a 10 seed or on the bubble so this win over a top 25 team on the road would be exactly what this Kentucky team needs to turn the season around. It will not be an easy test at all though as Ole Miss has the leading scorer in the SEC in Marshall Henderson who is putting in 18.2 points a game.
Kentucky last went to Oxford in the 2010-2011 season, and came out with a 71-69 defeat from an Ole Miss team who was led by ALL-SEC player Chris Warren. This game could have the same feel as Marshall Henderson looks to be the best player in the SEC as of now.
Ryan Harrow will have to stay focused the whole game, because Henderson looks to be good at getting into opponets heads. Once again I feel like Harrow will be the most important player in the game besides Nerlens Noel who will have to stay out of foul trouble with Willie Cauley-Stein “doubtful” for the 4th straight game.
I expect Archie Goodwin to be guarding Henderson for most of the game, as he can match up with him as far as height. Both go about 6-5, and have the same body build. If Archie’s main task isn’t to score, but keep Henderson from going off that’s exactly what he needs to do. I believe Archie has the best ability on this team to be the “defensive stopper”, but he just has to have the fire to do it.
I expect Kentcuky to go into a very hostile enviroment that will most likely be sold out for the 1st time all season, and one of the Ole Miss players put on twitter that Morgan Freeman would be in attendence for the game. Ole Miss will be ready for the game, and Kentucky will have to match their intensity from the beginning unless they want this one to get out of hand very quickly.
Kentucky takes on Ole Miss at 9 tomorrow night on ESPN, and will play the underdog role for the 1st time in SEC play.