Posted by Brian Joyce on January 18th, 2013
- If you’re a fan of an SEC team not named Ole Miss, than chances are high that you entered this season with no idea who Marshall Henderson is. But I bet you know who he is after Tuesday night. Grantland says we need more passion and unpredictability in college basketball these days, like the type of raw emotion that Henderson displayed against Vanderbilt. Of course, the guard contributed more than just energy and on-court antics. He scored 26 points, including a memorable game-tying three in regulation. Henderson, along with the Rebels’ current winning streak, should place Ole Miss as must-see TV in the next couple of weeks with important games with Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
- Everybody wants to talk about Henderson’s game-tying shot and the emotion with which he plays the game, including Andy Kennedy, but Ole Miss’ head coach cautioned his junior guard. “Marshall Henderson without that edge isn’t the Marshall Henderson that leads the SEC in scoring,” Kennedy said. “He needs that edge, but it has to fuel him in a positive way.” Henderson had some off the court issues in several previous stops before Oxford, but Kennedy said he hasn’t had any trouble with the Rebels. “There’s a fine line,” Kennedy added. “I want kids to play with passion, and his passion is genuine, but we have to make sure it doesn’t turn into emotion that doesn’t help him or our team.” Kennedy has taken chances on troubled guards before (see: Jelan Kendrick), but it seems this gamble might just pay off.
- Rebounding was one of the major concerns for Florida coming into the season, but a team effort has made that area a strength for the Gators. Coach Billy Donovan attributes some of the improvement to going to a bigger lineup that is more focused on the boards. “When you have [Casey] Prather out there and you have [Will] Yeguete out there and you have Mike Frazier out there at the small forward spot, we’re a team that can compete on the glass,” Donovan said. Florida’s poor rebounding numbers last season (2012: 33.7% offensive rebounding rate, 69.7% defensive rebounding rate), are significantly improved in 2012-13 (2013: 38.4% offensive rebounding rate, 73.5% defensive rebounding rate), putting the Gators in the top 25 in both categories.
- After a 15-point loss to Ole Miss on Saturday, Mizzou coach Frank Haith is questioning the Tigers’ toughness. “Emotions and toughness, they’re two different things,” Haith said. “I want emotion. I want passion. I want energy. I want all those things. But that to me isn’t toughness.” Missouri rebounded for a victory over Georgia on Wednesday night, though the game was played in the friendly confines of Mizzou Arena. Haith hinted at a related issue for the Tigers – winning on the road. “Because you don’t let the environment make you do something you’re not supposed to do. That’s how I define toughness,” Haith said. Missouri has yet to win a road game this season in just two attempts.
- Kentucky coach John Calipari still loves his team, but he also accepts what they are capable and not capable of doing. And he warns UK fans to buckle up for a bumpy ride. “I have coached teams that have absolutely whomped on people, and this ain’t one of ’em,” said Calipari. “And every game, we are going to be in is going to be a dogfight, and instead of going crazy about it, how about just accept it.” Calipari also cited toughness as a reason the Cats aren’t running away with games. “You’ve got to be a man. This is a man’s game and this is a man’s league we play in. You have to play through bumps. Quit crying about fouls. Everybody is fouling everybody.” Like Missouri, Kentucky has struggled on the road. The Wildcats travel to Auburn on Saturday for a showdown with the 8-8 Tigers.