GAMEDAY PREVIEW: Ole Miss @ Tennessee

By MIKE LIPKA, STATS Writer

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee began a string of four straight home games in turmoil after four of its players were suspended or dismissed following a New Year's Day run-in with police.

The ninth-ranked Volunteers, though, can finish the homestand looking stronger than ever.

Coach Bruce Pearl's team will try to follow up a blowout win in its SEC opener when it faces No. 21 Ole Miss today. The game will be televised on the SEC Network (click for affiliates) and available online at ESPN360.com.

The Vols have won five straight, but Ole Miss could present one of the biggest challenges for Tennessee in the conference. Aside from these two teams, No. 2 Kentucky is the only SEC squad in the Top 25.

Ole Miss (13-3, 1-1) earned its ranking with a strong season out of conference, with the only two losses coming against top-10 foes Villanova and West Virginia. The Rebels used a dramatic late basket to secure an 80-76 win at Georgia on Wednesday night.

Eniel Polynice bounced an inbounds pass off an opponent's back in the final minute and laid it in to help clinch the victory over the Bulldogs.

"You just use your instincts and take a chance," Polynice said. "Basketball is about taking chances. You do what you have to and look back with no regrets."

With 10 points, Polynice was among four Ole Miss players who scored in double figures and is one of the five averaging at least 10.0 points. Junior Chris Warren leads the way with 16.4 per game as the fast-paced Rebels are tops in the SEC with 83.4 points a contest.

Sophomore Terrico White, averaging 16.2 points, led the Rebels with 21 points and six assists in an 81-65 win over Tennessee on Feb. 18 in Oxford. The home team has won the last six meetings in the series.

The Vols (13-2, 1-0) have not been slowed by the controversial dismissal of starting forward Tyler Smith and the suspensions of Brian Williams, Cameron Tatum and Melvin Goins. They began this homestand with a lopsided win over Charlotte and beat then-No. 1 Kansas 76-68 on Sunday before a 81-55 victory over Auburn on Thursday night.

Tennessee shot a season-best 60.8 percent from the field against the Tigers, turning a one-point halftime lead into an easy win thanks to a 43-18 edge in scoring in the second half.

"We took their hit and we kept going," said senior center Wayne Chism, who had 12 points and 12 rebounds for his first double-double since the season opener against Austin Peay on Nov. 13. "I said, 'Let's pick it up.' So we picked it up, got a couple of stops, a couple of big rebounds, made a couple of big shots ... and we ran on from there."

Sophomore forward Renaldo Woolridge had eight points and seven rebounds and is averaging 10.7 points and 7.3 boards in three games since stepping into the starting lineup in place of Smith.

Senior guard Bobby Maze has also stepped up, scoring 14 points and adding a season-high nine assists against Auburn. Maze's previous season best came against Kansas, when he had eight assists to go with a season-high 16 points.

"Maze is comfortable with the ball in his hands. He's comfortable with the clock winding down," Pearl said. "He's comfortable off the bounce - nine assists, one turnover. This is back-to-back great games."


 

 

    • Game 3: Ole Miss 8, ECU 6

      Sunday, February 19, 2017 - Baseball

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    • Game 2: Ole Miss 3, ECU 2

      Saturday, February 18, 2017 - Baseball

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    • Ole Miss 5, ECU 4

      Friday, February 17, 2017 - Baseball

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica; min-height: 14.0px} In a game that had the feel of an SEC Friday night showdown, baserunners were difficult to come by... read more

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      Thursday, February 16, 2017 -

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    • Four Rebels Invited to the NFL Combine

      Monday, February 13, 2017 - Football

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    • What They're Saying: Men's Golf Sophomore Braden Thornberry

      Monday, February 13, 2017 - Men's Golf

      The breakout college golfer of the fall is trying to prove it wasn't a fluke. (@OleMissMGolf) https://t.co/S1IgwNJxmJ pic.twitter.com/p0IezRH1ul-- Ryan Herrington (@GWcampusinsider) February 6, 2017 .@tberrygolf enters the mix for this September at LACC.#WalkerCup Watch List: https://t.co/UPkkcOD3lX pic.twitter.com/0Sprbl7Qv4-- Golfweek (@golfweek) February... read more

    • Rebels Focus on Defense on Signing Day

      Wednesday, February 1, 2017 - Football

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    • Engram Named a Top Performer by NFL Network's Mike Mayock

      Monday, January 30, 2017 - Football

      The Senior Bowl always offers players a chance to improve their draft stock by performing well against some of the best players in the nation. Evan Engram took advantage of that opportunity. NFL Network's draft expert Mike Mayock named Engram... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Texas A&M

      Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - Men's Basketball

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    • Rebels Impressing at East-West Shrine Game

      Thursday, January 19, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} p.p3 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Arial; color: #222221; -webkit-text-stroke: #222221} span.s1 {font: 14.0px Helvetica; color: #000000;... read more

    • Former Rebel Coach Ron Aldy Honored at Kirk Academy

      Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - Women's Basketball

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    • Tunsil Named AFC East Rookie of the Year by ESPN

      Monday, January 16, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Miami Dolphins offensive lineman and Ole Miss' former blind side protector Laremy Tunsil was named AFC East rookie of... read more

    • Three Rebel Coaches Among Top-20 Recruiters Nationally

      Friday, January 13, 2017 - Football

      With the hiring of Jacob Peeler as wide receiver coach, #OleMiss now has three asst coaches ranked in @247Sports '16 Top 20 best recruiters.-- Brad Logan (@BradLoganCOTE) January 10, 2017 Ole Miss football bolstered its coaching staff by adding coaching... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Georgia

      Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - Men's Basketball

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Georgia (10-5, 2-1) KenPom ranking: 61 Best win: at No. 103 Auburn Worst loss: at No. 79 Oakland Ole... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Auburn

      Saturday, January 7, 2017 -

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