Surging Rebels Face Tigers In New Orleans
Andy Kennedy (AP photo)

March 6, 2012

SEC Tournament Central | SEC Tournament Interactive Bracket

Ole Miss Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Auburn Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

SEC TOURNAMENT 1ST ROUND: #7 Ole Miss (18-12, 8-8 SEC) vs. #10 Auburn (15-15, 5-11 SEC)
Thursday, March 8, 2012 | 6:30 p.m. CT
New Orleans, La. | New Orleans Arena (18,000)


MEDIA
Television: SEC Network (Affiliates List) (Dave Neal, play-by-play; Kara Lawson, analyst).
Live Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Keith Carter, analyst).
Satellite Radio: SIRIUS 220, XM 199
Live Video: ESPN3.com
Live Audio: RebelVision

QUICK HITS

• The Rebels won each of their last three regular-season games (vs. LSU, at Arkansas, vs. Alabama).
• Ole Miss has an RPI of 58, fifth-best among league schools.
• The winner between #7 Ole Miss and #10 Auburn will advance to Friday’s quarterfinals to face #2 Tennessee.
• Ole Miss and Auburn split the regular-season series, with both teams winning at home.
• The Rebels need two wins to reach 20 for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
• SEC coaches tabbed Terrance Henry All-SEC 2nd team and Reginald Buckner All-Defensive team.
Andy Kennedy has the 7th-most wins in SEC history (123) by a coach in his first six years in the league.
• Kennedy has the most overall wins (123) and SEC wins (46) by an Ole Miss coach in a six-year span.
• The Rebels have an overall record of 24-48 in 49 SEC Tournament appearances, with one tourney title in 1981.
• In league play, the Rebels led all SEC teams in rebounding (38.1) and rank 3rd in rebounding margin (+3.0).
• The Rebels rank 2nd in the SEC and 15th in the most recent NCAA rankings with 5.3 blocks/game.
• Ole Miss ranks third among SEC teams and 41st nationally in field-goal percentage defense (.405).
• The Rebels have a 17-9 record when Murphy Holloway (Blue Ribbon All-SEC 2nd team) plays the whole game.

SURGING REBELS FACE TIGERS IN NEW ORLEANS
Ole Miss won its last three games of the regular season and will look to keep the streak going with a run in the SEC Tournament, starting with Thursday’s first-round matchup against Auburn. Ole Miss is the tournament’s No. 7 seed, while Auburn is the 10 seed. The winner will advance to play 2 seed Tennessee in Friday’s second round. The Rebels and Tigers split their season series this year, with both teams winning at home. Ole Miss placed in a tie for sixth in the final SEC standings in the first season after abolishing the divisional format this past spring.

OLE MISS IN THE SEC TOURNAMENT
The Rebels have an overall record of 24-48 in 49 SEC Tournament appearances. The Rebels have reached four SEC championship contests and have a 1-3 record in those games. Ole Miss took home the tournament title in 1981, defeating Georgia in the championship game. Last season in Atlanta, the team beat South Carolina 66-55 in the first round before falling to Kentucky 75-66 in the second round.

SEC TOURNAMENT IN NEW ORLEANS
The SEC Tournament returns to New Orleans for the third time overall and the first time since 2003. The other was in 1996. Ole Miss owns a 1-2 record in the two prior SEC Tournament appearances in New Orleans. This will be the first time it has been hosted at the New Orleans Arena. Opened on October 29, 1999 at a cost of $112 million, the New Orleans Arena is the home of the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets and has hosted the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two years. Located adjacent to the Louisiana Superdome, the arena has a seating capacity of 18,000 for basketball.

UP NEXT
The winner between No. 7 seed Ole Miss and No. 10 seed Auburn will advance to Friday’s quarterfinals to face No. 2 seed Tennessee, which earned a first-round bye. That game will tip off at 6:30 p.m. CT, as well.

IN THE RPI
Ole Miss is No. 58 in the nation in the RPI rankings released by the NCAA on Monday. That ranking is fifth-best among SEC schools. Ole Miss has played the nation’s 41st-toughest schedule and has a 7-11 record against teams in the top 100 of the RPI. Auburn has an RPI of 141, while potential second-round opponent Tennessee is 75th.

POSTSEASON RESUMÉ
The surging Ole Miss Rebels have placed themselves back in the conversation for an NCAA Tournament bid with their recent play. Here’s a breakdown of some of the team’s numbers and accomplishments:
• 58 RPI, 41 SOS
• 8-8 SEC record (tied for sixth in the league)
• 7-11 record against top 100 RPI teams.
• Among top-100 RPI teams, tied for the 5th-most games against fellow top-100 teams (18)
• Wins over Alabama (32), Miami (55) and Mississippi State (65)
• Road wins over Arkansas (99) and Georgia (112)
• Neutral-site wins over TCU (100) and Drake (134)
• 6-10 record away from home (4-8 road, 2-2 neutral)

SCOUTING THE TIGERS
Auburn has a 15-15 overall record and tied for 10th place in the SEC with a league record of 5-11. Second-year head coach Tony Barbee led his team to a 67-52 win over LSU in the final game of the season, though. Auburn finished teh year 14-3 at home, but the team is 1-12 away from the Plains, including an 0-2 mark on neutral floors. The Tigers have a -0.9 point differential for the season, averaging 62.9 ppg to their opponents’ 63.8. A balanced offensive attack features three players averaging 9.0+ ppg. Frankie Sullivan leads the way with 12.6 ppg. Kenny Gabriel adds 12.2 ppg (and a team-high 7.6 rpg) and Varez Ward 9.0 ppg. Like Ole Miss, Auburn is one of the country’s top shot-blocking teams, averaging 4.8 blocks per outing. Gabriel ranks third in the SEC with 2.3 bpg.

OLE MISS-AUBURN SERIES
Thursday’s game will be the 125th meeting between the two schools in a series that dates back to 1928. The Tigers hold an all-time series lead of 73-51. The two squads have only faced each other twice in the SEC Tournament, with Auburn winning 68-60 in the 1985 first round and Ole Miss winning 80-68 in the 1989 first round. They split the season series this year, with both team prevailing at home. Auburn won in double overtime 69-68 in Auburn (Jan. 14), while Ole Miss won 61-54 in Oxford (Feb. 11). Andy Kennedy is 7-5 in his career against Auburn.

HENRY, BUCKNER EARN SEC POSTSEASON HONORS
Senior F Terrance Henry was voted to the All-SEC second team by the league coaches, and junior F Reginald Buckner was chosen to the SEC All-Defensive team, the league office announced Tuesday. Henry, who averaged 13.0 ppg in conference play, receives the first All-SEC accolade of his career. Buckner makes the SEC All-Defensive team for the second straight year and is the only Rebel to make the team since its inception in 2008.

AK’S 200TH GAME AT OLE MISS
Thursday’s SEC Tournament first-round game against Auburn will be Andy Kennedy’s 200th game as the Ole Miss head coach. He currently has a 123-76 record (.618 winning pct.) in his sixth season at the helm.

KENNEDY’S FIRST SIX YEARS RANKS AMONG ALL-TIME SEC GREATS
With his 123rd win at Ole Miss (vs. Alabama), Andy Kennedy now boasts the seventh-most wins by an SEC head coach in his first six years in the league. He needs just one more to tie future Hall of Famer Billy Donovan for sixth place.
1. Rick Pitino (Kentucky) - 150
2. Bruce Pearl (Tennessee) - 145
3. Joe B. Hall (Kentucky) - 135
4. Wimp Sanderson (Alabama) - 127
5. Rick Stansbury (Mississippi State) - 126
6. Billy Donovan (Florida) - 124
7. Andy Kennedy (Ole Miss) - 123

KENNEDY HAS MOST OVERALL WINS AND SEC WINS IN A SIX-YEAR PERIOD
With 18 wins this year, Andy Kennedy has the most overall wins by an Ole Miss head coach in a six-year span (123). With eight league victories this season, his total of 46 is also the most SEC wins over a six-year span. Kennedy already ranks third in Ole Miss career victories behind B.L. “Country” Graham (144 wins in 13 seasons) and Barnes (141 wins in 8 seasons).

WINNING SEASONS
Ole Miss will boast a sixth straight winning season in 2011-12. The last time the school had six straight winning campaigns was the 1996-97 to 2001-02 seasons. Andy Kennedy is only the second coach in school history to guide the Rebels to six straight winning seasons. The other was R.L. Sullivan (1920-25).

HENRY REACHES 1,000 POINTS, ELITE CLUB AT OLE MISS
Against LSU, senior F Terrance Henry eclipsed 1,000 career points to become the 33rd member of the 1,000-point club at Ole Miss. He became just the second player in school history to reach 1,000 points and 100 blocks, joining former All-American Rahim Lockhart (1,160, 132). Henry now has 1,041 points and needs six more to pass Ron Coleman (1,046) into 30th place in school history. He ranks sixth in school history in blocked shots (106) and needs two more to tie David Dean for fifth place (108).

THIRD STRAIGHT VICTORY A GOOD ONE FOR REBELS
Ole Miss grabbed a quality “W” in its regular-season finale against Alabama. The Rebels led the whole game and bested the Tide, who were in the nation’s top 30 in the RPI, 60-51 in Oxford. The Ole Miss defense held Alabama to 34.5 percent shooting from the floor as the Rebels improved to 13-3 this season when the opponent shoots below 40 percent. Ole Miss limited Alabmaa to 17 first-half points, the lowest by an SEC opponent this year.

REBELS SNAG BIG COMEBACK VICTORY AT ARKANSAS
Last Tuesday’s 77-75 win at Arkansas saw the Rebels come from 15 points down almost midway through the second half. The second-half burst of freshman G Jarvis Summers (16 of his 17 points came after halftime) and late-game heroics of senior F Terrance Henry (game-winning 3-point play with 8 seconds left) helped Ole Miss to its fourth straight victory in Fayetteville and its eighth in the last nine overall against the Hogs. Most importantly, it gave Ole Miss another road win to add to its postseason tournament resumé. Henry is the only Ole Miss player ever to win four straight games at Bud Walton Arena.

STINGY DEFENSE LEADS TO ROUT OF LSU
Ole Miss shut down LSU’s attack with a stellar defensive showing in a 72-48 victory on Feb. 25. The Rebels gave up the fewest points to an SEC opponent since 2009 (69-47 win over Georgia). They held LSU to the Tigers’ season low of 31 percent shooting from the floor and 17.4 percent from behind the arc. It was the fourth time this year that Ole Miss has held an opponent below 50 points.

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 41st in the latest NCAA rankings) in field goal percentage defense at .405. Ole Miss is 13-3 when its opponent shoots below 40 percent from the field. Nine different times the Rebels have held their opponent below 60 points, including four times under 50 and a pair of games under 40.

SCORING 70 USUALLY MEANS A WIN
Ole Miss has an 8-2 record this year when it scores at least 70 points, while the Rebels are 10-10 when they fail to reach the 70-point mark.

THE HOLLOWAY FACTOR
The court presence of junior F Murphy Holloway has been of measurable value for the Rebels this year. The second team All-SEC selection (Blue Ribbon) was sorely missed 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 17-9 this year when Holloway plays the whole game.

BUCKNER IS KEY TO THE REBELS’ SUCCESS
Throughout his Rebel career, Reginald Buckner’s presence and production has been key to the team’s sucess. This year is no different, as Ole Miss has a 9-2 record when the junior forward has double-digit rebounds. He has cracked double figures on the glass in each of the last three games, each resulting in a Rebel victory.

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 are listed at 6-7 or taller. Ole Miss ranks second among SEC teams with a rebounding average of 38.3 and fourth with a rebounding margin of +3.0. In SEC play, Ole Miss led all teams with 38.1 rebounds per game and ranked third with a +3.0 rebounding margin. Individually, Murphy Holloway ranks third among SEC players and 51st in the nation in rebounding (8.9), while Reginald Buckner is fourth in the SEC and 69th nationally (8.4). The Rebels also block 5.3 shots per game, ranking second in the league and 15th in the NCAA. They are led by Buckner’s 2.3 swats per game, which ranks him fourth in the SEC and 34th nationally.

TERRIFIC TERRANCE
When Ole Miss needed a player to step up offensively, senior F Terrance Henry answered the bell in SEC play. The All-SEC 6-foot-9 wing has averaged 16.6 points over the Rebels’ last five outings, including 21 and 19 in back-to-back wins over LSU and Arkansas, respectively. He was named SEC Player of the Week after leading Ole Miss to wins over No. 15 Mississippi State and Georgia and posted 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 12.3 scoring average for the season (20th among SEC players) and 13.0 ppg in league play (14th in SEC). His .776 free-throw percentage in SEC games ranks sixth in the league.

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 92 games, the Memphis native has now accumulated 223 blocks, which ranks 17th in SEC history. He needs three more to match Melvin Turpin (Kentucky) for 16th place. The school record was previously held by Sean Murphy, who had 180 blocks in 117 games from 1988-91. Buckner’s 2.3 average this season ranks fourth among SEC players and 34th in the most recent NCAA rankings. He now holds the school record for blocks in a career, season and game. He has blocked at least one shot in 26 of 28 games this year and 79 of 92 games over his three-year career. His total of 64 blocks this season is the Ole Miss record by a junior and is tied with his own freshman total for second-most in a season in school history. His sophomore total of 95 is the school record.

HOLLOWAY CRACKS TOP 10 IN CAREER REBOUNDS
In just his third season at Ole Miss, junior F Murphy Holloway has broken into the school’s top 10 for career rebounds. He enters the SEC Tournament with 704 boards, which is 10th-most in school history. He needs 15 more to tie Fred Cox (729) for ninth place on the Rebels’ all-time chart.

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 11.1 ppg (24th in SEC) and 8.9 rpg (3rd in SEC, 51st in NCAA). In league play, the All-SEC second teamer (Blue Ribbon) averaged 12.0 ppg (18th in SEC) and 8.3 rpg (4th in SEC). He ranks third among SEC players with nine double-doubles this year and ranks second among active league players with 23 in his career. He was the SEC Player of the Week after helping Ole Miss to wins over TCU and Miami. He led the Rebels to a win over Auburn with 20 points and 11 rebounds, including 12 straight points for Ole Miss during a second-half comeback. He had 15 points in a loss at No. 1 Kentucky. He has had a pair of monster games in wins over Arkansas (19 points and 14 rebounds in Oxford, 16 points and 16 boards in Fayetteville).


 

 

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