GAME NOTES: Rebels Host Tide
GAME 23: #25 Ole Miss (16-6, 4-4 SEC) vs. Alabama (13-9, 3-5 SEC)
REBS LOOK TO GET BACK ON WINNING TRACK
Ole Miss looks to halt a two-game losing streak when it returns to the Tad Pad for Saturday's matchup with SEC West foe Alabama. The Rebels have dropped back-to-back games for the first time this season. They are coming off Tuesday's 85-75 defeat at Kentucky where Terrico White scored 19 points, but the Rebels could not pull the upset against the nation's No. 3 squad. With its 4-4 league record, Ole Miss currently sits in third place in a tight SEC West race. Mississippi State and Arkansas enter the weekend tied for the division lead with a 4-3 mark. Andy Kennedy has led the Rebels to a 9-2 record at home this season, including a 1-2 mark in SEC play. Kennedy is closing in on the century mark for career wins as he enters Saturday's contest with 98 victories as a college head coach.
MEET THE REBEL BASEBALL TEAM
Members of the 17th-ranked Ole Miss baseball team will be signing autographs prior to Saturday's game at Tad Smith Coliseum. The team will sign autographs in the hour leading up to the 5 p.m. tipoff on the concourse level of the Coliseum.They will also be giving away free posters and schedule cards for all in attendance.
- Ole Miss is nationally ranked for the ninth straight week, coming in at No. 25 in the AP poll (top vote-getter in "receiving votes" in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll).
- Saturday's game will be the 165th meeting between the two schools, with Alabama holding a 115-49 lead.
- Ole Miss has won nine of the last 12 meetings with Alabama in Oxford.
- Ole Miss is one of four schools in the country whose football, men's basketball and baseball teams are currently ranked in their respective top 25 polls.
- Kennedy has directed Ole Miss to a 53-9 home record in his four seasons at the helm.
- The Rebels have equaled last year's win total of 16.
- At 80.6 ppg, Ole Miss ranks second in the SEC and 17th in the nation in scoring offense.
- The Rebels ranks second in the SEC and 21st in the nation with 8.4 3s per game, while Chris Warren is second in the SEC and 14th in the nation with 3.1 3s per game.
- Junior guard Chris Warren ranks sixth in the SEC in scoring at 16.6 ppg, and sophomore guard Terrico White is 10th with 15.2 points per game.
SCOUTING THE CRIMSON TIDE
Alabama enters Saturday's game with a 13-9 overall record and 3-5 mark in SEC play. The Crimson Tide are coming off consecutive 1-point losses (at Auburn, Florida). In fact, first-year head coach Anthony Grant's team has a total of three 1-point losses in SEC play (Vanderbilt being the other). In their three wins, their average margin of victory is 13.7 points. Alabama features one of the league's premier defenses. UA is second in scoring defense in all games, giving up 62.4 ppg, but ranks first in league play allowing just 58.4 ppg. SEC teams post a 39.3 FG percentage and 26.3 3-point FG percentage against the Tide, both of which are league lows. Mikhail Torrance leads the team with 15.4 ppg, while JaMychal Green averages 14.5 ppg and a team-high 7.1 rpg.
OLE MISS-ALABAMA SERIES
Saturday's game will be the 165th meeting between the two schools. The Crimson Tide holds a 115-49 lead in the series, which began in 1921. The teams have split their season series in nine of the last 11 years, but Alabama swept both matchups last season. The Tide won last year's game in Oxford by a 90-69 score, despite a 20-point performance by Terrico White. Anthony Brock led Alabama with a career-high 17 points off the bench. Prior to the 2004-05 season, the home team prevailed in 13 straight bouts in the series. Alabama holds a narrow 38-37 lead in games played in Oxford, but the Rebels have won nine of the last 12 meetings at Tad Smith Coliseum. Andy Kennedy has a 2-4 career record vs. the Tide.
Several members of the Rebel family call Alabama their "sweet home." Sophomore guard Nick Williams, sitting out this season after transferring from Indiana, is a native of Mobile and was the 2008 6A State Player of the Year. Assistant coach Torrey Ward and coordinator of operations Bill Armstrong are both from Birmingham and played collegiately at UAB, while ops assistant Robi Coker hails from Skirum. In addition, head coach Andy Kennedy spent three years playing at UAB and later served assistant coaching stints at both UAB and South Alabama.
DEFENDING HOME COURT
Winning at home has been a trademark of Andy Kennedy's squads since he took the reins in 2006-07. Ole Miss is 53-9 (.855 win pct.) in games played at Tad Smith Coliseum during Kennedy's tenure, including a 9-2 mark this year. The Rebels are 19-8 in SEC home games under Kennedy's watch.
Ole Miss has won 184 of its last 225 games (.818 win pct.) in Oxford dating back to the 1995-96 campaign. The Rebels have an all-time record of 417-188 (.689 win pct.) at Tad Smith Coliseum, which opened in 1965-66.
KENNEDY NEARS CENTURY MARK FOR WINS
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy enters Saturday's game vs. Alabama just two wins shy of 100 for his career. The Louisville, Miss., native is in his fifth season as a collegiate head coach - one year at Cincinnati and four at Ole Miss. His current career record stands at 98-58 (.628 win pct.), the third-best mark among all collegiate coaches who are in their fifth year.
HALFWAY THROUGH LEAGUE PLAY
At the midway point of the SEC schedule, Ole Miss is 4-4 after playing three home games five road games. That means the Rebels will host five of their last eight SEC tilts. The team was also 4-4 through eight leagues games last year before finishing with a 7-9 conference record.
ALREADY AT LAST YEAR'S WIN TOTAL
At 16-6, Ole Miss has already equaled its win total from all of last season when the team finished 16-15 after losing three key players to season-ending knee injuries (Gaskins, Polynice, Warren) and being limited throughout the conference schedule by ailments even to the available players (Graham, Huertas).
BUCKNER CLOSING IN ON SCHOOL RECORDS
Freshman forward Reginald Buckner has already established himself as one of the best shot-blockers in the SEC and soon to be one of the best in school history. His 44 blocks through 20 games are two shy of Sean Murphy's school freshman record (46 in 1987-88) and 12 shy of David Dean's school record for blocks in a season (56 in 1992-93). Buckner's total already ranks 10th-most in a season in school history.
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