Rebel Preview: 3 Keys To Vanderbilt Game

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Three things from the SEC teleconference on Wednesday, previewing Ole Miss' game vs. No. 24/No. 25 Vanderbilt on Thursday night:

1. Rebels Remain Confident Despite 0-3 SEC Start

With a 93-79 loss at Alabama in its last game on Sunday, Ole Miss dropped to 0-3 in Southeastern Conference play. The loss also extended Ole Miss' SEC losing streak to eight games dating back to the 2012-13 season. Entering league play, the Rebels had won eight of nine games, with an 87-80 loss at No. 9 Baylor.

"We're in a good place," head coach Matt Insell said Wednesday. "We're not happy about being 0-3. We know we're 0-3, and it's not something we're hiding behind. We hurt ourselves in a lot of those games. We have to get better as a team, and if we do that, the wins will come. 

'We are still as confident as we were before we started SEC play. We're going to play our game. We're going to do what we do. We're going to go out there and get better executing and show some more toughness defensively, and that's the thing I'm asking them to do."

2. Newly Ranked Commodores Look To Continue Momentum

Vanderbilt's No. 24 ranking in this week's Associated Press poll marks the Commodores' first appearance in the poll since Nov. 19, 2012. The Commodores have won 11 of their last 12 games, including a 74-63 upset win over No. 8 Tennessee.

The Commodores are third in the SEC in scoring offense (79.2 ppg) and shoot the ball exceptionally well, leading the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage (41.6%) and ranking second in field goal percentage (48.1%).

"Vanderbilt has a great team and coming off a great win," Insell said Wednesday. "They're a very fundamental team and running their stuff, and that's what makes them really good. In their offensive sets, Vanderbilt is as good as any team in the league or any team in the country, in terms of executing what they want to execute. 

"They have the right people taking the shots that they want to take. You don't see a lot of deviating outside of what they're doing offensively. That presents a big challenge because they run so much stuff that you have to worry about guarding. That's tough for you defensively."

3. McFarland-Lister Point Guard Battle

Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb credited the play of her two seniors, Christina Foggie and Jasmine Lister, for the Commodores success this season. Foggie leads the team in scoring (18.8 ppg), followed by Lister (16.3 ppg), who was recently named SEC Player of the Week. Lister also leads the SEC in minutes played (35.2 mpg).

Lister runs the point for the Commodores, and for the Rebels, senior point guard Valencia McFarland was recently named to the Nancy Lieberman Watch List, which is given to the nation's top point guard. McFarland is second on the team in scoring (15.0 ppg) behind junior forward Tia Faleru (16.2 ppg). She is also second in the SEC in assists (6.2 apg) and ninth in steals (2.0 spg).

"Jasmine Lister is one of the best guards in the league," Insell said. "She brings toughness, and she's one of the toughest kids in the league, in terms of playing through a lot of adversity at times. When things are going good or when things are going bad, she always finds a way to make a play, like she did against Tennessee. Her toughness on the floor shows in the rest of the players who play with her. I have a lot of respect for her game, and I'm looking forward to the challenge of having to play against her tomorrow night."

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