• Ole Miss is tied for fifth place in the SEC standings at 4-4. • The Rebels need six wins to reach 20 for the fifth time in the last six seasons. • The last time Ole Miss swept the season series with Mississippi State was in 1998. • Ole Miss is 1-2 this season against top-25 foes and 6-17 against in the Andy Kennedy era. • In league play, the Rebels lead all SEC teams in rebounding (42.1) and rebounding margin (+8.4). • Ole Miss ranks third among SEC teams and 29th nationally in field-goal percentage defense (.395). • Ole Miss is 11-3 when its opponent shoots below 40 percent from the field. • The Rebels rank 17th in the most recent NCAA rankings with 5.5 blocks/game. • Ole Miss is 3-5 in true road games this year, including 1-3 in SEC road games. • Andy Kennedy has the most wins by a Rebel coach over a six-year span (119). • Ole Miss is 13-5 this year when junior F Murphy Holloway plays the whole game. He ranks third in the league and 35th nationally in rebounding (9.4 rpg). • Junior F Reginald Buckner leads all active SEC players with 210 career blocks (school record).
REBELS, BULLDOGS FACE REMATCH IN STARKVILLE The Rebels’ first rematch of the 2012 season pits them against their in-state rival Mississippi State on national television in Starkville Thursday. Ole Miss won the first matchup 75-68 in Oxford on Jan. 18. The last time the Rebels swept the season series with MSU was in 1998. Ole Miss (4-4) enters the game tied for fifth in the league standings, while MSU (5-3) is tied for third.
KENNEDY'S RADIO SHOW TO AIR ON WEDNESDAY THIS WEEK Because of the Thursday game date, this week's edition of "RebTalk with Andy Kennedy" will air Wednesday, live from Rooster’s Blues House on the Oxford Square at 7 p.m.
IN THE RPI Ole Miss is No. 52 in the nation in the latest RPI rankings released by the NCAA (Feb. 6). Ole Miss has played the nation’s No. 49th ranked schedule and has faced 10 teams with RPIs of 100 or better (3-7 in those games). Alabama is ranked 32nd in the RPI this week.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS No. 18 Mississippi State enters this week with an 18-5 overall record and 5-3 mark in SEC play, which puts the Bulldogs in a tie for third in the league standings. The team has won three of its last four games since losing to Ole Miss in Oxford on Jan. 18. Included among those was a very impressive 78-77 overtime road win at Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs average 73.8 ppg and limit opponents to 66.7 ppg. In SEC play, MSU is the second-highest scoring team at 72.0 ppg. Arnett Moultrie ranks fourth in the SEC in scoring (17.0) and leads the league in rebounding (11.1) as he is one of two league players to average a double-double. Dee Bost adds 15.8 ppg, Rodney Hood 11.3 and Renardo Sidney 10.2.
OLE MISS-MISSISSIPPI STATE SERIES Wednesday’s game will be the 245th meeting between the two schools, with the Bulldogs holding an all-time series lead of 138-106 in the SEC’s most-played rivalry. Ole Miss snapped MSU’s five-game win streak in the series with a 75-68 victory on Jan. 18 behind an impressive 19-point, 15-rebound performance by junior F Reginald Buckner (see box score on page 8). The last time Ole Miss swept the season series was in 1998. MSU holds a 90-24 advantage in Starkville and has won the last two meetings there. The last Rebel win at the Hump was a 67-63 victory on Jan. 31, 2009. Andy Kennedy is 4-7 against the Bulldogs.
MAGNOLIA STATE WELL REPRESENTED ON OLE MISS, MSU ROSTERS Some of the top basketball talent from the state of Mississippi will be on display as the Rebels and Bulldogs meet. Four Rebels and seven Bulldogs are playing college ball in their home state. Many of them were teammates and rivals in high school and on the AAU circuit. Ole Miss players from the Magnolia State are Demarco Cox (Yazoo City), Aaron Jones (Gautier), Jarvis Summers (Jackson) and LaDarius White (McComb). From the MSU side are Reed Clayton (Tupelo), Tyson Cunningham (Columbus), Rodney Hood (Meridian), Baxter Price (Brandon), Renardo Sidney (Jackson), Deville Smith (Jackson) and Shaun Smith (Brooksville).
REBELS VERSUS RANKED FOES This is the fourth game Ole Miss has played against a ranked team this season. The Rebels are 6-17 against top-25 opponents under head coach Andy Kennedy, including a 1-2 record this season. They have a win over No. 15 Mississippi State (Jan. 18) and losses to No. 19 Marquette (Nov. 20) and No. 13 Florida (Jan. 26). They went 1-2 in such games last season, including a 71-69 win over No. 10 Kentucky on Feb. 1 in Oxford.
MIDWAY POINT OF THE SEC SCHEDULE Ole Miss sits at 4-4 and tied for fifth in the SEC standings at the midway point of the conference schedule. The Rebels were 3-5 at this juncture last season. They have started league play at either 4-4 or 3-5 every season under Kennedy.
KENNEDY HAS MOST WINS IN A SIX-YEAR PERIOD With the victory over Louisiana-Lafayette, Andy Kennedy surpassed Rod Barnes for the most wins (114) by an Ole Miss head coach over a six-year span. Now with 119 wins, Kennedy already ranks third in school history behind B.L. “Country” Graham (144 wins in 13 seasons) and Barnes (141 wins in 8 seasons). The most wins in any six-year span in Ole Miss history is 128 (1996-97 through 2001-02, two head coaches).
LOCKING DOWN ON “D” Ole Miss has established itself as one of the better defensive teams in the SEC this year. The Rebels rank third in the SEC (and 29th in the NCAA) in field goal percentage defense at 39.5. Ole Miss is 11-3 when its opponent shoots below 40 percent from the field. Six different times the Rebels have held their opponent below 60 points, including a pair of games under 40. In league play, only one team (LSU) has scored more than 70 points against the Rebel “D.”
SIZE ADVANTAGE Ole Miss, which rates as the ninth-tallest team in the country (according to KenPom.com), is taking advantage of its significant height and length advantage against most of its opponents this year. No scholarship player on the roster is listed shorter than 6-4, while seven Rebels who see significant minutes are listed at 6-7 or taller. Ole Miss ranks second among SEC teams with a rebounding average of 39.9 and second with a rebounding margin of +5.0 (44th in NCAA). In SEC play, Ole Miss leads all teams with 42.1 rebounds per game and a +8.4 rebounding margin (the next closest rebounding margin belongs to Kentucky at +4.9). Individually, Murphy Holloway ranks third among SEC players and 35th in the nation in rebounding (9.4), while Reginald Buckner is fourth in the SEC (8.5). The Rebels also block 5.5 shots per game, ranking third in the league and 17th in the NCAA. They are led by Buckner’s 2.6 swats per game, which ranks him third in the SEC and 23rd nationally.
HOME VERSUS ROAD Like most college teams, Ole Miss fares better at home (9-1) than on the road (3-5). Here are some other facts and figures about the Rebels in home and road games: • Ole Miss has averaged slightly more points on the road (66.2) than at home (66.1). • The Rebels allow just 55.3 ppg to opponents in Oxford as opposed to 71.0 ppg on the road. • Ole Miss actually makes a higher percentage of its 3-point attempts on the road (33.7) than at home (29.2). • Jarvis Summers is the Rebels’ top scorer in road games at 13.4 ppg. Terrance Henry is next at 12.5 ppg. • Terrance Henry is the Rebels’ top scorer in home games at 12.2 ppg. Nick Williams is next at 11.2 ppg.
TURNOVERS MATTER Ole Miss has an 8-1 record when it records the same or fewer turnovers than its opponent, while the Rebels are 6-7 when they lose the turnover battle.
TERRIFIC TERRANCE When Ole Miss has needed a player to step up offensively, senior F Terrance Henry has answered the bell in recent games. The 6-foot-9 wing, who was named SEC Player of the Week after leading Ole Miss to wins over No. 15 Mississippi State and Georgia, is averaging 17.2 points and 6.4 rebounds over the last five games, including back-to-back 20-point efforts and double-doubles against Georgia (24 points, 10 boards) and No. 13 Florida (21 points, 10 boards). Henry leads Ole Miss with a 12.2 scoring average for the season.
HENRY APPROACHES 1,000 POINTS Entering the Mississippi State game, senior F Terrance Henry has 939 career points. He needs 61 points to become the 33rd member of the 1,000-point club at Ole Miss. He already ranks seventh in school history in blocked shots (97) and needs two to tie former All-American Ansu Sesay for sixth place (99).
IN THE “NICK” OF TIME Junior G Nick Williams has stepped up his game in SEC play and leads the team with 13.9 ppg in league games (11th in SEC). The Mobile, Ala., native has tallied 12 or more points in each of the last seven contests, including a season-high 19 in the double-overtime effort at Alabama. He’s also had big games in wins over Arkansas (18 points and career high-tying 8 rebounds) and 15th-ranked Mississippi State (17 points).
HOLLOWAY RETURNS WITH BIG NUMBERS Junior F Murphy Holloway has posted some big numbers in his return to Ole Miss this year (following a one-year stint in South Carolina) and averages 10.3 ppg and 9.4 rpg (3rd in SEC, 35th in NCAA). He is third among SEC players with seven double-doubles this year and ranks second among active league players with 21 in his career. He was the SEC Player of the Week after helping Ole Miss to wins over TCU and Miami.
THE HOLLOWAY FACTOR Ole Miss really missed the presence of junior F Murphy Holloway after he sprained his ankle in the second half against Middle Tennessee (Dec. 21). The Rebels went on to drop that contest and two of the next three without him. He returned against Arkansas to score 19 points, grab 14 rebounds and effectively energize his teammates in leading the Rebels to victory. Ole Miss is 13-5 this year when Holloway plays the whole game.
ALREADY WITH SCHOOL RECORD, BUCKNER MOVES UP IN SEC CAREER BLOCKS LIST With four blocks at Southern Miss, junior F Reginald Buckner became the Rebels’ all-time career leader in blocked shots. In just 84 games, the Memphis native now has accumulated 210 blocks, which ranks 21st in SEC history. He needs three blocks to pass Andre Riddick (Kentucky) and C.J. Black (Tennessee) into 19th place. The school record was previously held by Sean Murphy, who had 180 blocks in 117 games from 1988-91. Buckner’s 2.6 blocks average this season ranks third among SEC players and 23rd in the most recent NCAA rankings. He now holds the school record for blocks in a career, season and game.
SUMMERS NOT AFRAID OF CRUNCH TIME Freshman PG Jarvis Summers has shown no fear in the face of critical situations this year. It was his 27 points and crunch-time heroics that gave the Rebels an early victory at Penn State and his late free throws to seal an overtime win over Miami. Against Auburn, he directed a comeback from 12 down in the final nine minutes to force overtime, hitting all four of his 3-pointers after the nine-minute mark. He scored 22 against the Tigers to become the first Rebel with multiple 20-point games this year. He ranks seventh among SEC freshmen in scoring with 9.9 ppg and third with 3.3 assists per game.
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