Rebel Basketball Game Notes
Jan. 7, 2005
SEC Home Opener: Ole Miss (9-5, 0-1) vs. #18 Mississippi State (13-2, 1-0)
OLE MISS HOSTS MISSISSIPPI STATE IN SEC HOME OPENER: Ole Miss and Mississippi State renew their rivalry Saturday in the Rebels' Southeastern Conference home opener. The Rebels began SEC play with a 69-46 road defeat at Arkansas Wednesday. The loss snapped Ole Miss' seven-game win streak, which matched its longest since 2001-02. Londrick Nolen notched his first double-double as a Rebel Wednesday, leading the team with 19 points and 12 boards. The juco transfer forward has dropped in double-figure points in 10 of the last 12 games and is the Rebels' leader in scoring at 12.8 and rebounding at 5.0.
BARNES IN SEVENTH SEASON AS REBEL MENTOR: Rod Barnes is in his seventh season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program and recently took the bench for his 200th game as a head coach. The 2001 Naismith and CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year, Barnes has a 122-81 record. Barnes' 122 coaching victories in his first 203 games is the most of any Ole Miss coach over that span and is the second-most wins in school history. His .601 winning percentage is the highest of any Rebel coach of six years or more. In 2000-01, Barnes was the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, and guided Ole Miss to a school-record 27 wins and the program's first NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 berth. Another winning season and postseason tournament followed in 2001-02 -- both were the sixth straight for the Ole Miss program. Barnes was hired as the Rebel head coach on April 9, 1998. A 1988 graduate of Ole Miss, Barnes served as an assistant under Evans from 1993-98. During his time as an assistant coach, the Rebels compiled a record of 76-63 and won back-to-back Southeastern Conference Western Division titles and received consecutive NCAA Tournament berths in 1997 and 1998. Barnes played at Ole Miss from 1984-88 and was named All-SEC his senior season. He still ranks on the Ole Miss career charts in scoring (18th; 1,201 points), assists (2nd; 456) and steals (7th; 154).
FORMER REBEL COACH BOB WELTLICH TO HOLD BOOK SIGNING SATURDAY AT 10 A.M. AT SQUARE BOOKS: When a boy, his mentor and his mother's boyfriend become involved in a Mafia sponsored scheme to fix college's national championship basketball game, the reader realizes for the first time the real possibility of a referee's involvement in making such a plan become a reality. Of the millions of people to watch or attend athletic events each year, how many must on occasion question whether an official is cheating? This is a book for them to find out how that could happen, a story long overdue and a must read for any sport's fan. Bob Weltlich is a 29-year veteran of NCAA Division I basketball, having coached at six different schools, including four seasons as the head coach at Ole Miss, 1976-82. During that time Weltlich took the Rebels to three straight postseason tournaments and helped Ole Miss claim its only SEC Tournament Championship and first NCAA berth in 1981. He is one of a handful of coaches to take three different teams to the NCAA Tournament and has been selected "Coach of the Year" in four different leagues, including the SEC. He also served as an assistant to Bob Knight at Indiana University when the Hoosiers were the last team to go undefeated and claim the national championship.
SCOUTING MISSISSIPPI STATE: Defending SEC regular-season champion Mississippi State enters Saturday's contest with a 13-2 mark, with the only setbacks coming to nationally-ranked foes Syracuse and Arizona. MSU began SEC play Wednesday with a resounding 90-53 pounding of Auburn. The Bulldogs opened the season No. 12 in the AP poll, and have remained in the ranking, currently at No. 18. Continuing to lead the MSU charge is National Player of the Year candidate Lawrence Roberts. The All-American forward is among the conference leaders in scoring (18.5) and rebounding (11.8) and has earned SEC Player of the Week honors the last two weeks. Roberts is one of five Bulldog seniors to see heavy minutes and one of four in the starting lineup. Fourth-year swingman Winsome Frazier is dropping in 14.1 points per game and has knocked down 36-of-97 threes (.371). Fellow senior Shane Power is also in double-figures at 10.2 ppg and has made 25-of-68 (.368) from behind the arc. The lone underclassman starter is sophomore point guard and SEC assist leader Gary Ervin, who averages 5.9 dimes. In his seventh year at the MSU helm, Rick Stansbury returns 10 players, including three starters, from last year's 26-4 squad that claimed the SEC West title and reached the NCAA Tournament second round.
OLE MISS-MISSISSIPPI STATE SERIES: Saturday's game will the 230th meeting between the two schools, with the Bulldogs holding an all-time series lead of 128-101. However, Ole Miss holds a 74-39 lead in games played in Oxford, winning six of the last nine encounters in Tad Smith Coliseum. State has won six straight in the series, although all but one game was decided by single-digits. In last year's meeting in Oxford, the Rebels led much of the evening and held a 10-point lead with 6:31 left, before the Bulldogs closed out the game with a 22-5 run for the 61-54 win. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 3-10 against Mississippi State and 3-3 against the Bulldogs in Oxford.
OLE MISS IN SEC HOME OPENERS: The Rebels have an overall record of 34-37 (.479 winning percentage) in SEC home openers. Ole Miss is 5-5 in its last 10 SEC home openers. Last season, the Rebels dropped a narrow 61-54 decision to Mississippi State in the league home opener and overall SEC opener. Ole Miss' last SEC home-opening win was a 69-65 victory over Auburn in 2001-02. Head coach Rod Barnes is 2-4 in SEC home openers.
MR. DO-IT-ALL: Some people think they can do everything, and newcomer Londrick Nolen is proving he can. The junior forward from Southwest Tennessee Community College is the only player to start every game, and has filled the stat line in the process. Nolen currently tops the Rebels in scoring (12.8), rebounding (5.0), blocks (10) and steals (20) and ranks second in assists (32). Nolen has scored in double-figure in 10 of the last 12 games, and notched his first double-double in the Red and Blue with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Facing Louisiana-Monroe, he turned in a season-high 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-5 threes, with five assists. Nolen tallied a team-best 21 points and 5-of-7 treys at Arkansas State. He posted 16 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals against Troy.
OLE MISS VERSUS RANKED TEAMS: Ole Miss faces its first nationally-ranked opponent of the year Saturday in Mississippi State, tabbed No. 18 by AP and No. 22 by USA Today/ESPN. The Rebels were 1-3 against top-25 foes last season and notched a 79-68 win over No. 23 South Carolina. Under head coach Rod Barnes (since the 1998-99 season), Ole Miss has a 20-27 record versus ranked opponents.
BEASTS ON THE BOARDS: Ole Miss has owned the boards of late, outrebounding the opposition in six of the last seven games, including a lopsided 42-29 advantange in Wednesday's loss to Arkansas. The Rebels overcame shooting woes in the win over Southeastern Louisiana with a dominant 34-20 edge in boards. Ole Miss is 8-1 this season when outrebounding its opponent.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: Ole Miss makes the second of at least 10 TV appearances this season Saturday against Mississippi State with the game aired by Jefferson Pilot Sports. On Dec. 4, the Rebels dropped a nail-bitting 69-64 battle with Florida State on FSN South. Under head coach Rod Barnes (since 1998-99), Ole Miss has played 80 television games and has a 42-38 record in those matchups.
"TAD PAD" SWEET "TAD PAD": The "Tad Pad" has proven to be one of the toughest arenas in the nation for opposing teams to play. The Rebels boasted a 12-5 home record last season and are 5-1 so far in 2004-05. Ole Miss has won 109 of its last 130 games (.831 winning percentage) at home, including homecourt winning streaks of 29, 20 and 15 games. The Rebels have an all-time record of 351-168 (.676 winning percentage) at Tad Smith Coliseum, which opened in the 1965-66 season. In head coach Rod Barnes' era, the Rebels have a home record of 81-20 (.802 winning percentage), including a 34-16 homecourt record against SEC foes (.680 winning percentage).
DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE: It has been Rod Barnes trademark defense that has spurred the Rebels' turnaround, winning seven of their last eight. Ole Miss contained Southeastern Louisiana to 48 points, marking the second time this season and 27th time in Barnes' seven years at the helm that the opposition was held under 50 points. Ole Miss managed the feat six times in 2003-04. The Rebels also forced Southeastern into 22 turnovers. Ole Miss has pressured three opponents into 22 or more turnovers, having forced 26 against Louisiana Monroe and 25 against Tennessee Tech. The Rebels also held Tech's Willie Jenkins, a CollegeInsider.com Preseason All-American, to two points. Ole Miss handcuffed VCU to 36.7 percent from the field, in one of three times this season an opponent has been held in the 30s.
RAINING TREYS: The Rebels are among the top four in the SEC in three-point shooting, firing at a 40.2 percent clip. Ole Miss nailed 12-of-19 threes (.632 percent) against Nicholls State, 13-of-24 threes (.542 percent) vs. Tennessee Tech, and 11-of-23 (.478 percent) at Arkansas State. Senior Kendrick Fox is 21-of-46 (.457) from behind the arc, while freshman Brandon Patterson has made 20-of-48 (.417). Londrick Nolen is 21-of-54 (.389), and Todd Abernethy is 15-of-41 (.366). Newcomers Nolen and Patterson have each made good on five treys in a game, which ties the ninth-highest total in school history. Nolen pulled off the feat at ASU, while Patterson caught fire against Tennessee Tech. Fox was 4-for-4 in threes vs. Nicholls State, and Nolen was 4-of-5 against Louisiana-Monroe.
CAPTAIN CAVADAS: Senior point guard and one of three team captains, Cavadas Nunnery has been a catalyst in the Rebels' recent success. Since entering the starting lineup for the first time in his career at Memphis, Ole Miss has posted a 7-1 record. In the win over the Tigers, the Magnolia, Miss., native responded with a career-high 10 points and 5 rebounds along with 5 assists. Nunnery was 3-for-4 from the field and 4-of-6 from the free throw line. He also did an outstanding defensive job on Tiger star guard Darius Washington, forcing the former prep All-American into 8 turnovers. Nunnery recorded a game-high 6 assists with only one turnover vs. Nicholls State, and totaled 5 points, 5 assists and 3 steals against Southeastern Louisiana.
GOING STREAKING: After a 2-4 start, the Rebels reversed their fortunes with a seven-game win streak that ended Wednesday at Arkansas. The streak included impressive road victories at Memphis and VCU. The seven-game streak matched the longest since opening the 2000-01 campaign with 11 straight victories. Ole Miss also won seven in a row heading into SEC play in 2001-02. The Rebels shoot 53.6 percent to their opponent's 40.1 slip during the streak and won by an average margin of 21.0 points. The frontcourt was the key to Ole Miss' success as the team averaged 37.9 points in the paint, while the opposition posted only 17.7, a difference of 20.2 points.
STRONG NON-CONFERENCE SLATE: Ole Miss came out of the non-conference portion of the schedule with a 9-4 mark, having won the final seven games. The Rebels' non-SEC slate boasted some impressive victories, going 5-1 against defending conference champions, including C-USA champ Memphis and Colonial Athletic Association champion VCU -- both on the road. Since the 1993-94 season, the Rebels have posted an 112-38 record (.747 winning percentage) versus non-conference opponents. Non-conference foes have found Ole Miss especially tough under head coach Rod Barnes (1998-99 through 2004-05), as the Rebels have an impressive 77-21 mark (.786 winning percentage) against out-of-conference teams. Ole Miss has been dominant against non-SEC clubs at home. The Dec. 4 loss to Florida State was only the Rebels' fourth non-conference home loss since 1995.
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