Men's Basketball Game Notes
Feb. 21, 2002
Rebels on Television and Radio
Television: FOX Sports Net South (Dave Neal, play-by-play, Barry Booker, color analyst, Rohan Backfisch, producer, Tom Smith, director)
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play, Stan Sandroni, pregame/ halftime/postgame host, Derek Horne, guest color analyst)
PROBABLE STARTING LINE-UPS
- Mississippi State Probable Starters -
REBEL GAME NOTES
BARNES IN FOURTH SEASON AS REBEL MENTOR: Rod Barnes is in his fourth season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. The 2001 Naismith and CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year, Barnes has compiled an 85-42 record. He has led Ole Miss to a 19-7 mark this season. Last year, Barnes, the 2001 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, guided Ole Miss to a school-record 27 wins (27-8 record) and the program's first trip to the NCAA Tournament "Sweet Sixteen." The winning season and postseason tournament berth both were the fifth-straight for Ole Miss.
Barnes was hired as the Rebel head coach on April 9, 1998. A 1988 graduate of Ole Miss, Barnes served as an assistant under Rob 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 (17th, 1,201 points), assists (2nd, 456) and steals (6th, 154).
OLE MISS-MISSISSIPPI STATE SERIES: Saturday's game will the 223rd meeting between the two schools, with the Bulldogs holding an all-time series lead of 122-100. Earlier this season, Ole Miss defeated Mississippi State in Oxford by a 66-59 score. Last year, the teams split their two meetings, with Mississippi State winning in Starkville 79-69 and Ole Miss winning in Oxford 51-48. The Bulldogs hold a commanding 81-22 series advantage in games played in Starkville. Mississippi State has won three straight over the Rebels in Humphrey Coliseum. The last time Ole Miss posted a win in Starkville was the 1997-98 campaign, an 82-78 victory on Feb. 21, 1998. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is 3-4 versus Mississippi State and 0-3 against the Bulldogs in Starkville.
SCOUTING MISSISSIPPI STATE: The Bulldogs bring a 20-7 overall record and a 7-6 Southeastern Conference mark into Saturday's game. Mississippi State has won three of its last four with victories over No. 5-ranked Alabama (76-62), Auburn (89-53) and Vanderbilt (66-43). The Bulldogs' lone setback in the four-game stretch was a narrow 68-65 overtime loss at LSU. Super sophomore Mario Austin leads a trio of Bulldogs averaging double figures at 15.7 ppg. Marckell Patterson (13.0 ppg) and Timmy Bowers (10.7 ppg) are also netting double digits for Mississippi State. Austin leads the Bulldogs in rebounding (7.6 rpg) and field goal percentage (56.8 pct.). Michael Gholar is the squad's second-leading rebounder with a 6.1 average. Derrick Zimmerman is the SEC's top playmaker, averaging 6.1 assists per contest. Mississippi State is hitting 49.2 percent from the field, 36.4 percent from the arc and 64 percent from the foul line. The Bulldogs lead the SEC in rebounding margin at +7.4 boards per game (39.8-32.4).
THIS MAY BE A FIRST: Ole Miss and Mississippi State both are having outstanding 2001-02 seasons, with the Rebels closing in on 20 wins and the Bulldogs notching their 20th victory Feb. 20. This is the first time that both teams enter the rivalry game this late in the season with such successful won-loss records (Ole Miss 19-7, Mississippi State 20-7).
Both teams are also vying for bids to the NCAA Tournament. If Ole Miss and Mississippi State get to the NCAAs this year, it will be the first time that both schools played in the "Big Dance" in the same season.
A HEATED RIVALRY GETS HOTTER: Everyone knows how heated the rivalry is between Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Well, the two schools have turned it up a little more on the hardwood in recent years. In the 13 meetings between the two schools since the 1995-96 season, the average margin of victory has been only 8.2 points. In fact, eight of the last 13 have been decided by single digits. The following shows just how tight the series has been recently:
OLE MISS GOING FOR WIN NO. 20: The Rebels enter Saturday's game with a 19-7 overall record and need only one more victory to reach the magical number 20. If Ole Miss is successful in reaching the 20-win plateau in 2001-02, it will be the second straight year the Rebels have done so. Last season, Ole Miss won a school-record 27 game. A 20-win campaign in 2001-02 will also mark the fourth time in the last five years that Ole Miss has accomplished the feat. The Rebels were 20-9 in 1996-97, 22-7 in 1997-98, 20-13 in 1998-99 and 27-8 in 2000-01.
WHO WILL TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEIR ADVANTAGE?: With both teams ranked among the Southeastern Conference's top five in field goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage, Saturday's contest may come down to which team can take advantage of its advantage.
The Rebels' advantage will come at the charity stripe, where they lead the SEC in free throw percentage at 74.2 percent. Mississippi State is 11th in the league from the line at 64 percent. Mississippi State's advantage comes on the boards, leading the SEC in rebounding margin at +7.4 rpg. Ole Miss is seventh in rebounding margin at +2.9 rpg.
In the first meeting this year, both squads played to their advantages. The Bulldogs won the battle of the boards 39-33, while Ole Miss hit a higher percentage from the foul line (70.6 pct.-62.1 pct.).
HARRISON TO SET IRONMAN RECORD: When Jason Harrison (Little Rock, Ark.) takes the floor Saturday, he will be playing in his 128th career game in a Rebel uniform, setting a new mark for most contests played at Ole Miss. The 5-foot-5 guard is currently tied for the top spot at 127 with former teammate Jason Flanigan (1998-2001), who set the standard last year. The following chart lists the top five on the career games played chart:
Rebel Career Games Played
THE RACES ARE HEATING UP: The races for the Southeastern Conference overall and divisional titles are going down to the wire, and Saturday's action will play a large part in which teams take home the crowns. The following shows the races and what's on tap:
REED DOUBLES HIS PLEASURE...PART I: Whatever Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.) has been doing in the month of February, let him keep doing it. In the Rebels' last four games (Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida), the 6-foot-8 forward is averaging a double-double of 16 points and 10 boards. He is also shooting 51.1 percent from the field and 75 percent from the foul line in the four-game stretch.
In three of the four games, he recorded double-doubles against Alabama (19-12), Auburn (17-10) and Florida (15-10).
REED DOUBLES HIS PLEASURE...PART II: Justin Reed doubled his pleasure for the sixth time this year when he posted 15 points and 10 boards in Ole Miss' victory over No. 6-ranked Florida Feb. 16. The 6-foot-8 forward also recorded double-doubles versus Auburn (17-10), Alabama (19-12), Lipscomb (12-10), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (16-10) and Kansas State (15-11) this season. Reed now has nine double-doubles for his career, including five versus SEC opponents. The following lists Reed's double-double performances:
SANDERS NOT TO BE OUTDONE...PART I, GRABS CAREER-HIGH 11 BOARDS: While Justin Reed recorded his sixth double-double of the season in the Rebels' victory over Florida Feb. 16, junior David Sanders (Jackson, Miss.) was not to be outdone. The 6-foot-3 guard posted the first double-double of his career with 15 points and 11 boards against the Gators. The 11 rebounds were a career high. For the season, Sanders is averaging 11.6 points and 4.8 rebounds from his guard spot.
MAYBE WE SHOULD START HIM: Coaches often have tough decisions when making the starting lineup, but this one may not be that difficult. Junior forward Richard Kirklin (Pine Bluff, Ark.) made his second Southeastern Conference start of the season in the Rebels' victory over Florida Feb. 16. The 6-foot-9 forward has started eight games in his Ole Miss career, and the Rebels are 8-0 in those contests, including 6-0 in SEC games.
Against the Gators, Kirklin hit a key three-pointer in the Rebels' game-opening 16-7 run. He also had two assists in the victory.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!: Saturday's game against Mississippi State will be the Rebels' ninth overall television appearance in 2001-02 and their seventh in Southeastern Conference play. Saturday's game will end a stretch in which Ole Miss will have played four of its last five contests on television (at Alabama, Feb. 6, Arkansas, Feb. 9, Florida, Feb. 16, at Mississippi State, Feb. 23). Ole Miss is 6-2 in television games this year, defeating Kansas State 67-65 Nov. 24, No. 22-ranked Memphis 71-67 Dec. 7, Arkansas 70-64 Jan. 19, South Carolina 71-53 Jan. 26, Arkansas 79-67 Feb. 9 and No. 6-ranked Florida 68-51 Feb. 16 and falling at No. 12-ranked Kentucky 87-64 Jan. 15 and at No. 5-ranked Alabama 79-59.
BARNES GETS WIN NO. 80, MOVING UP CAREER WINS CHART: Rod Barnes posted his 80th victory as head coach at Ole Miss with the Rebels' 70-64 victory at Arkansas Jan. 19. He has a current record of 85-42 (.669 winning percentage), and reached the 80-win plateau the fastest of any coach in Rebel basketball history. His 85 victories are the fourth most by a head coach in Ole Miss basketball history. The following lists the winningest coaches in Rebel history:
FOUR PLUS DOUBLE FIGURES EQUALS WINS: It's a rather odd equation, but it is adding up for Ole Miss in 2001-02. The Rebels have had 18 games this year where four players have scored in double figures. Ole Miss has a 15-3 record in those games.
DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE!: The Ole Miss defense was clicking Feb. 16 in the win over Florida. The Rebels held the Gators to 51 points, the lowest offensive output in the Billy Donovan era. But, playing tough defense is nothing new for Ole Miss. Last year, the Rebels held three SEC opponents to under 50 points (33 by LSU, 48 by Arkansas and Mississippi State).
Since the inception of the shot clock in the 1985-86 season, the Rebels have had eight games in which they held their opponent to under 50 points. Seven of those eight contests have been since the 1994-95 campaign - or since Rod Barnes has been a member of the Rebel coaching staff (1993-98, assistant, 1998-present, head).
REED NAMED TO NABC ALL-DISTRICT SIX SQUAD: Sophomore Justin Reed was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District 6 second team, the organization announced Feb. 12. Reed, who leads the Rebels in scoring with a 14.9 average, was joined on the second team by Alabama's Erwin Dudley, South Florida's Altron Jackson, Mississippi State's Mario Austin and Miami's Johnny Salmons. This is the second straight year that an Ole Miss player has been named to the NABC district squad, as Rahim Lockhart earned first team accolades last season.
This year, Reed has earned BP Top of the World Classic All-Tournament Team, SEC Player of the Week and Sierra Providence SunClassic MVP accolades. He was also a 2001-02 preseason Wooden Award candidate.
REBELS GUARANTEE WINNING SEASON: With their victory over South Carolina Jan. 26, the Rebels guaranteed themselves a sixth straight winning campaign. Ole Miss currently has a 19-7 record. The six consecutive winning seasons are the most in the program's 92-year history since the Rebels had nine straight winning ledgers from 1919-20 through 1927-28.
REED LEADS NATION IN FREE THROW SHOOTING IMPROVEMENT: It's the goal of every player to improve his game throughout his career. In the case of sophomore Justin Reed, he had to work on his free throw shooting after the 2000-01 season. And worked on it, he did.
As of Feb. 20, the Rebels' 6-foot-8 forward had made the nation's biggest improvement at the free throw line. Last season, Reed shot 54.9 percent from the charity stripe, but this year, he is hitting 78.1 percent from the foul line, a difference of 23.3 percentage points. The following lists the top five players with biggest improvements from the foul line in the nation:
Best Improvement in FT Pct.
SANDERS NOT TO BE OUTDONE...PART II: Justin Reed may be ranked among the nation's leaders in free throw shooting percentage, but David Sanders is not doing too bad from the free throw line himself. In the Rebels' last eight games, the 6-foot-3 guard is hitting 82.2 percent from the foul line (37-of-45). He has also improved his free throw shooting percentage from the last season, hitting 70.9 percent in 2001-02 compared to 66.9 percent in 2000-01 (4.0 percent difference).
MORE ON REBEL FREE THROWS: Justin Reed and David Sanders aren't the only Rebels who have improved their percentages from the charity stripe. Several Ole Miss players have made the free throw line a priority this season, and it is paying dividends for the entire team. As of Feb. 18, Ole Miss was ranked ninth in the nation in team free throw shooting improvement. The Rebels are currently shooting 74.2 percent from the charity stripe. The following chart shows the leaders in free throw shooting improvement:
Best Team Improvement in FT Pct.
HE'S DONE IT!...PART I: With his six assists versus Auburn Feb. 13, senior Jason Harrison went over the 100-assists plateau for a third straight year. After 26 games in 2001-02, Harrison has 105 dishes for a 4.0 average. At his current pace, Harrison would hand out 120 assists this season.
By reaching the 100-assists plateau this year, he became only the third player in Rebel history to accomplish the feat three straight years. Rod Barnes and Sean Tuohy also did so.
On Feb. 6, Harrison joined Barnes and Tuohy as the only Rebels to pass out over 400 assists in a career. Harrison dished out 115 assists as a sophomore in 1999-2000 and 104 as a junior in 2000-01. The 5-foot-5 guard entered the 2001-02 campaign with 305 career assists, and now has 410 assists. He is in the No. 3 spot on the career assists chart. The following lists the Rebels' career assists leaders:
Rebel Career Assists Leaders
HE'S DONE IT!...PART II, HARRISON GOES OVER 1,000 POINTS: Senior Jason Harrison is now No. 26. No, he hasn't changed his jersey number, as he still wears No. 11. With his nine points versus Alabama Feb. 6, the 5-foot-5 guard became the 26th Rebel in the program's history to reach the 1,000-point milestone for a career. He now has 1,029 career points.
In the Rebels' contest at Tennessee Jan. 6, he scored a career-high 23 points, surpassing his previous best of 22 points against Arkansas in the 1998-99 campaign (freshman year). He also hit a career-best seven field goals versus the Volunteers.
HARRISON JOINS ELITE REBEL CLUB: With his nine points and four assists against Alabama Feb. 6, Jason Harrison reached both the 1,000-point and 400-assists milestones. In doing so, the Little Rock, Ark., native became only the second player in Rebel basketball history to reach the two plateaus and also record over 150 steals in a career. Rod Barnes, Ole Miss' current head coach, is the other. The following compares the two:
REED OVER 700 POINTS: Justin Reed is moving on up the chart - the scoring chart, that is. After his 17-point performance versus Georgia Feb. 2, he went over 700 points for his career. Reed now has 773 career points. Earlier this season, Reed eclipsed the 500-point plateau with his 17 points against Memphis. Last year, the 2001 Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year netted 385 points, and has 388 in 2001-02. He leads the team in scoring (14.9 ppg) and rebounding (6.6 rpg).
Reed's 385 points last season were the third most by a freshman in Ole Miss history. Joe Harvell (395 points, 1990) and Tim Jumper (394 points, 1988) were the only two to score more than Reed in their freshmen campaigns.
WE NEED YOU, COACH!: In all games, teams shoot at the opposite end of the floor (away from their bench) in the first half, and then shoot in front of their bench in the second half. For the Rebels, they must really love being close to their own bench and head coach Rod Barnes. In Southeastern Conference play (13 games), Ole Miss is shooting a considerably higher percentage in the second half than first in all of its SEC games - especially home contests - and the following chart shows that:
OLE MISS SECOND MOST WINS SINCE 1996-97: The Rebels have, indeed, been one of the Southeastern Conference's most successful teams in recent years - especially since 1996-97. Ole Miss has won 127 games (overall games) since 1996-97, the most by any SEC Western Division team. The 127 victories are also second among all league teams, only trailing Kentucky's 163 wins. The following charts show the Rebels' success (including the 2001-02 season):
Most Overall/SEC Wins By SEC West Teams
Most Overall/SEC Wins By SEC Teams (Top 6)
REED AMONG FIRST TWO-YEAR SCORING LEADERS: With Justin Reed going over the 700-point plateau this year, the 6-foot-8 forward is moving up the chart for points scored in the first two years in a Rebel uniform. The following chart shows the top first two-year scorers in Ole Miss history:
& played only 2 years
* did not play as freshmen because freshmen were not eligible to play varsity ball
# played only 1 year
$ played only 3 years
BOMBS AWAY!, HARPER CLIMBING CHART: Sophomore Aaron Harper (Jackson, Miss.) is the Rebels' primary three-point shooter, and so far in 2001-02, he is living up to that reputation. The 6-foot-7 guard/forward has hit 68 treys this year and is moving up the Ole Miss career three-pointers chart. The following shows the career leaders:
Rebel Career Three-Pointers
AT THE HEAD OF THE CLASS(ES):Well, Jason Harrison is only one player, but he is the 2002 Rebel senior class. And, he is closing in the record for most victories by a class in a four-year span. After the Rebels' victory over Florida Feb. 16, this year's senior class has 85 victories, which is three shy of the record of 88 wins set by the 2001 seniors (Jason Flanigan, Rahim Lockhart, Jason Holmes and John Engstrom). The 2001-02 senior class has also been a part of the 2001 SEC Western Division championship squad and has been to three straight postseasons (2 NCAA, 1 NIT). The following chart lists the most successful classes:
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