GAME NOTES: Ranked Teams Square Off In Knoxville
GAME 17: #21/23 Ole Miss (13-3, 1-1 SEC) at #9/10 Tennessee (13-2, 1-0 SEC)
RANKED TEAMS SQUARE OFF IN KNOXVILLE
The No. 21 ranked Ole Miss Rebels and No. 9 ranked Tennessee Volunteers clash in Knoxville on Saturday in an early interdivision conference showdown. Ole Miss won its SEC road opener at Georgia on Wednesday by an 80-76 count, moving its road record to 2-1 this season. The Rebels are now 1-1 in SEC play. Tennessee used a huge second half to rout Auburn 81-55 in its SEC opener Thursday in Knoxville. The Vols are coming off that win and an upset of No. 1 Kansas on Sunday, despite missing four of their top players who have either been suspended or dismissed from the team after a Jan. 1 incident in Knoxville. The home team has won each game in this series since the 2003-04 season.
- Ole Miss is nationally ranked for the sixth straight week, coming in at No. 21 in the AP poll and No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.
- Saturday is the 104th meeting all-time between Ole Miss and Tennessee, with the Vols holding a 65-38 lead in the series. The home team has won each meeting since 2004.
- Ole Miss is 0-2 against top 25 ranked teams this season but is 3-4 in its last seven such outings.
- The Rebels are looking for their first win over a top-10 team during Andy Kennedy's tenure.
- At 83.4 ppg, Ole Miss leads the SEC and ranks 12th in the nation in scoring offense.
- The Rebels rank second in the SEC and 13th in the nation with with 8.9 3-pointers per contest.
- Ole Miss commits just 12.1 turnovers per game, which is tied for the fewest in the SEC. The team leads the SEC with a 1.3 assist-turnover ratio and ranks third with a +4.0 turnover margin.
- Junior guard Chris Warren is seventh in the SEC in scoring at 16.4 ppg, and sophomore guard Terrico White is eighth with 16.2 points per game each.
SCOUTING THE VOLUNTEERS
The 9th-ranked Tennessee Vols are 13-2 on the year and are coming off an 81-55 win over Auburn in their SEC opener Thursday. Bruce Pearl's team has won five straight games entering Saturday's contest, including a road victory at Memphis and an upset of No. 1 Kansas. The Kansas upset came after four key players were suspended for a Jan. 1 incident in Knoxville. Preseason All-SEC forward Tyler Smith has been dismissed from the team. Scotty Hopson leads the Vols with 13.6 ppg. Wayne Chism adds 11.3 ppg and a team-high 6.1 rpg. The Vols outscore opponents by an average of 18.1 points (81.5-63.3). They also boast a +6.4 turnover margin.
OLE MISS-TENNESSEE SERIES
Saturday is the 104th meeting all-time between these two schools. Tennessee owns a 65-38 lead in the series, which began in 1924. The home team has won every matchup since 2004, including the Rebels' 81-65 win last year in Oxford. Terrico White led all scorers with 21 points and Murphy Holloway had 18 points and 13 rebounds in the triumph (see recap on page 5). The last meeting in Knoxville was a classic between the 8th-ranked Vols and 15th-ranked Rebels, with UT winning 85-83 on a late Tyler Smith bucket. Andy Kennedy is 2-1 against the Vols in his career.
IN THE POLLS
Ole Miss is nationally ranked for the sixth straight week, coming in at No. 21 in the AP poll and No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. Last week's No. 14 ranking was the team's highest since it was No. 9 in the final coaches poll of the 2000-01 season.
Tennessee is ninth in the AP poll and 10th in the coaches poll.
REBELS VS. RANKED FOES
The 9th-ranked Volunteers represent the third ranked opponent for the Rebels this season. Ole Miss is 0-2 in the previous outings (lost to No. 5 Villanova and No. 6 West Virginia). Ole Miss is 3-4 against top-25 opponents over the last three seasons and 4-9 in four years under head coach Andy Kennedy. The Rebels' last win over a ranked team was an 85-80 triumph against No. 24 Kentucky on Jan. 27 last season.
REBELS VS. NATION'S TOP 10
With a matchup against No. 9 Tennessee, the Rebels will be facing their third top 10 opponent of the season. The Rebels have yet to post a top-10 win during head coach Andy Kennedy's tenure, going 0-6 since he took over in 2006-07. The last Ole Miss win over a top-10 foe was an 84-56 thrashing of No. 6 Alabama on March 3, 2002 in Oxford. The last road win over a top-10 team was a 73-64 decision over Kentucky in Rupp Arena on Feb. 14, 1998.
REBELS RULE RANKINGS
For the first time in school history, the Ole Miss football, men's basketball and baseball teams are all ranked in their respective national polls at the same time. The football team finished at No. 20 in the final AP poll and No. 21 in the coaches poll, while the Diamond Rebs are No. 22 in Collegiate Baseball's preseason poll. Ole Miss is one of only five schools currently ranked in the top 25 in all three sports (Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami, Texas).
HIGH-SCORING REBELS VS. VOLS
Three different current Rebels have posted 20-point scoring efforts in past games against Tennessee. Last year, Terrico White poured in 21 points (with 6 assists and 5 rebounds) in an 81-65 win in Oxford. Two years ago in an 85-83 loss in Knoxville, Chris Warren had 24 points and Eniel Polynice 20 points (with 8 rebounds and 4 assists). Murphy Holloway also had a big game last year with 18 points and 13 boards.
Ole Miss has three Tennessee natives on this year's roster in sophomore guard Terrico White, freshman forward Reginald Buckner and junior college transfer forward DeAngelo Riley, who all hail from Memphis. Tennessee senior guard J.P. Prince is also a Memphis native.
POLYNICE'S PLAY MAKES SPORTSCENTER TOP 10
Holding on to a 2-point advantage with 12 seconds left on the road, Eniel Polynice made one of the Rebels' biggest plays of the season when he bounced his in-bounds pass off the back of Georgia's Travis Leslie, caught it and layed it up in traffic to send Ole Miss to an 80-76 win in the Rebels' SEC road opener. Polynice's play made No. 9 on Sportscenter's Top 10 Plays that night.
HENRY POSTS STRONG OUTINGS
Sophomore Terrance Henry has put together strong showings in the Rebels' last three games, showing why he was such a highly-rated prospect coming out of high school (No. 74 overall by Scout.com, No. 83 by Rivals and ESPN). In the last three games, he is averaging 9.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.7 blocks. The 6-foot-9 forward nearly had a double-double against UCF with 9 points and 8 rebounds, while he set a career high with 6 blocks. Against Mississippi State, he tied his career high with 12 points (4-6 FGs, 2-3 3's) to go with 6 boards and 2 more blocks. At Georgia, he tallied 8 points and 4 rebounds.
WARREN JOINS 1,000-POINT CLUB
With 14 points against UCF, junior point guard Chris Warren became the 31st player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Warren enters the Tennessee game with 1,033 career points. He reached 1,000 points in his 60th career game, which is tied for the fifth-fastest pace in school history with all-time leading scorer John Stroud. Gerald Glass is the fastest Rebel to reach the milestone, doing so in 37 games.
WARREN NAMED FINALIST FOR COUSY AWARD
Junior Chris Warren is one of 20 finalists for the 2010 Bob Cousy Award (nation's top point guard), the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Jan. 5. The list will be narrowed down to a final 10 by Feb. 1 and final five by March 1.
Ole Miss ranks first in the SEC and 12th in the country with an average of 83.4 points per game. Fast-break buckets, slashing drives and a nice outside touch have been key components to such a prolific offense. The team has put up 80+ points in 11 of 16 games, 90+ in five contests and a season-high 108 against Centenary. Ole Miss has posted a 40+ point half in every game this season. Five players average 10 or more ppg, led by Chris Warren's 16.4 and Terrico White's 16.2.
IT'S RAINING THREE'S
With an abundance of shooters in its backcourt-heavy lineup, Ole Miss is getting plenty of production from behind the arc this season. The Rebels rank second among SEC teams and entered the week 13th in the nation with 8.9 three's made per game. They have drained 8 or more three's in nine of their last 10 outings. They tied the school record with 14 treys against Jacksonville State and have drained 12 against Southern Miss and UTEP.
Individually, Chris Warren leads the way with 48 3-pointers, ranking third in the SEC and 34th in the nation with 3.0/game. Terrico White has drained 32 shots from downtown and ranks ninth in the SEC with 2.0/game. Zach Graham has added 28 triples, including a career-high four in back-to-back outings at Arkansas State and vs. Southern Miss.
REBELS VALUE THE BALL
Ole Miss has shown itself to be one of the better SEC teams at limiting its turnovers this season. The Rebels average 12.1 turnovers per game, tied for the fewest in the SEC. They lead the SEC with a 1.3 assist-turnover ratio and rank third with a +4.0 turnover margin (25th in NCAA). They have had fewer turnovers than their opponent in 12 of 16 games. Ole Miss had just five turnovers in the season opener vs. UALR and gave up the ball six times vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Jacksonville State.
SULTANS OF SWAT
There's a new strength on this year's team that the Rebels have not featured much in years past - the blocked shot. The intimidating presence of freshman Reginald Buckner, who ranks third in the SEC and 40th in the nation with 2.2 blocks per game, has helped the Rebels average 6.2 swats per contest, fourth-best among SEC teams and 17th in the country entering the week. The team's 12 blocks against Indiana in San Juan were one shy of a school record.
CLIMBING THE CAREER TREY CHART
Junior guard Chris Warren has climbed the Ole Miss career 3-point chart at a record pace and has moved into fourth place all-time with 176 treys in 62 career outings (2.8 per game).
WARREN BACK TO HIS OLD WAYS
He set the Ole Miss record for 3-pointers in a season as a freshman and then averaged 19.6 ppg as a sophomore before being injured. Now, Chris Warren is providing his magic again. The junior point guard currently ranks seventh in the SEC with 16.4 ppg and third with 3.0 3-pointers per game (34th in NCAA). He led the Rebels with 12 points at Georgia and 15 points against MSU. He reached 1,000 career points when he scored 14 (with 4 3-pointers) against UCF. He posted his third straight 20-point game with a career-high 32 (5-of-10 3's, 13-of-15 FT's) - with 11 points in overtime - in the win over UTEP. He poured in 20 points, including a clutch pair of three's in the final minute, in the comeback win over Southern Miss, while adding six assists. He was named to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off All-Tournament Team after he led all scorers in San Juan with a 22.3 average. He had 16 in the win over Indiana before putting together back-to-back 20-point games against Kansas State (27) and No. 5 Villanova (24).
WHITE MAKES SCORING LOOK EASY
With his laid-back, smooth approach on offense, sometimes Terrico White's eye-popping scoring totals can take a person by surprise. The sophomore guard is averaging 16.2 ppg, which is eighth-best among SEC players. He poured in 21 points with 5 3-pointers against UCF. He tied a career high with 29 points vs. Jacksonville State, draining a career-high 7 3's and grabbing 7 boards. He led all scorers with 17 points in a rout of Centenary. He tallied 19 points, including 8-of-10 from the foul line, in the OT win over UTEP. He had 15 points with a pair of treys against Southern Miss. He poured in 25 points in a win over Kansas State and dropped in 19 points three times (vs. Alabama State, vs. Texas A&M-CC and at Arkansas State). He posted 14 points and a career-high 9 rebounds vs. No. 5 Villanova.
Junior guard Zach Graham has turned into one of the Rebels' most consistent and dependable weapons on the offensive and defensive end. The Suwanee, Ga., native has tallied 11 or more points in nine of the last 10 games. For the season, he is shooting 47.0 percent from the field (55-117) and 46.7 percent from downtown (28-60), while also playing lock-down defense on the perimeter. He had 11 points (3-5 FGs, 4-4 FTs) at Georgia. He posted 14 points, 7 rebounds and a career-high 4 steals vs. MSU. He had 14 points and 4 assists against Jacksonville State. He scored a team-high 14 at West Virginia. He had 12 points vs. Centenary, while also dishing out a career-high 5 assists. Had 14 points to go with 7 boards in OT win over UTEP. He contributed 12 points and 5 rebounds vs. McNeese State. He tied a career high with 4 3-pointers en route to 15 points vs. Southern Miss. He dropped in a season-high 17 points in the win at Arkansas State, connecting on a career-high 4 3-pointers.
OTHER PLAYER POINTS
- Reginald Buckner: Tied for third among SEC players and tops among league freshmen with 2.2 blocks per game (40th in NCAA) ... Also ranked sixth among all freshmen in the nation in blocks per game entering the week ... His 35 blocks through 16 games are 11 shy of Sean Murphy's school freshman record (46 in 1987-88) and 21 shy of David Dean's school record (56 in 1992-93) ... 8 points (4-5 FGs), 5 boards vs. MSU ... 9 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks vs. Jacksonville State ... Season-high 11 points (5-of-6 FG's) with 6 rebounds and 3 blocks in the OT win over UTEP ... Made his first career start vs. A&M-Corpus Christi and scored 8 points ... Season-high 12 rebounds with 3 blocks vs. Indiana ... Posted 7 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks vs. Alabama State ... Had 4 blocks and 4 rebounds in collegiate debut vs. UALR ... Tennessee high school record holder for career blocked shots.
- DeAundre Cranston: 8 points, 4 rebounds at Georgia ... 8 points, 6 rebounds vs. Centenary ... Posted 8 points and 5 rebounds vs. McNeese State ... Career-high 21 points (8-9 FGs, 3-4 3-pters) with 7 boards in season opener.
- Trevor Gaskins: Season-high 11 points (3-3 from downtown) in just 9 minutes at Georgia ... Career-high 7 rebounds vs. Jacksonville State ... Set a career high with 4 steals at West Virginia ... 7 points and 4 assists vs. Centenary ... Played in his first game since 2007-08 after missing last year with injury and scored 7 points with 3 boards and 3 assists in opener.
- Terrance Henry: Shooting a team-best 68.4 percent from the field (26-38) and 62.5 percent from three (10-16) ... 8 points, 4 boards at Georgia ... Tied season high with 12 points (4-6 FGs, 2-3 3's) to go with 6 rebounds and 2 blocks vs. MSU ... Near double-double with 9 points and 8 boards vs. UCF .... Blocked six shots against the Knights, a career high and tied for the fourth-highest game total in school history ... Had 9 points and 6 boards vs. Centenary ... Made his first 10 field-goal attempts of the season, including 3-of-3 from downtown, before missing a trey against McNeese State ... Career-high 12 points (5-of-5 FGs) vs. Texas A&M-CC ... Returned from injury to post 2 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks in just 5 minutes of play in his first action of the season vs. Indiana ... Injured his hand slipping on stairs on campus and missed the first two games.
- Murphy Holloway: Shooting 61.1 percent from the field ... Ranks 9th in the SEC with 6.7 rebounds/game ... 6 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals at Georgia ... Posted his third double-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds vs. UCF ... 13 points (6-of-7 FGs) at West Virginia ... Turned in 12 points and 5 rebounds against Centenary ... Tallied 13 points and 5 boards against McNeese State ... Missed the Texas A&M-CC game while resting an ankle injury, but returned to tally 9 points and a season-high 13 rebounds at Arkansas State ... 10 points and 10 rebounds against Kansas State, his second double-double of the year ... Posted a career-high 26 points against Indiana at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, finishing 12-for-18 from the floor and pulling down seven rebounds ... 17 points, 10 boards in opener vs. UALR.
- Eniel Polynice: Averages 10.3 ppg, 3.9 rebounds/game, 4.6 assists/game (5th SEC) and 1.6 steals/game ... 10 points, 3 assists at Georgia, securing the win with a nifty in-bounds pass off Travis Leslie's back and layup with just seconds remaining ... Reached 100 steals for his career with 2 against MSU ... 16 points, 5 assists vs. UCF ... 9 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists vs. Jacksonville State ... 13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists at West Virginia ... 13 points, 6 assists vs. Centenary ... Tied season high with 8 rebounds in OT win over UTEP ... Came up big in late rally vs. McNeese State to finish with 12 points and tie career highs with 9 assists and 4 steals ... Had 15 points, 6 assists and the game-winning dunk with 1.3 seconds left vs. Southern Miss ... Against Kansas State he put up 13 points, 5 boards and 2 steals ... Against Indiana, he posted 10 points, 7 assists, 2 blocks and a steal ... Against Alabama State, he had 17 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals and a block.
- DeAngelo Riley: Against Centenary, posted 6 points, 3 assists, 2 boards and 2 blocks ... Made his Rebel debut in the opener and had 5 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks in 10 minutes of action.
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