Ole Miss Men's Basketball NCAA Tournament Game Notes
March 12, 2002
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REBEL GAME NOTES
OLE MISS TO FACE UCLA IN FIRST ROUND OF NCAA TOURNAMENT FRIDAY: The Ole Miss Rebels (20-10, 9-7 SEC) will travel to Pittsburgh, Pa., to meet the UCLA Bruins (19-11, 12-6 PAC-10) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament West Region. The game, which will be televised by CBS Sports, will start at approximately 9:05 p.m. (CT). The Rebels enter the NCAA Tournament after a narrow 69-67 setback to South Carolina in the SEC Tournament first round Mar. 7. UCLA, a member of the Pacific-10 Conference, comes into the NCAA Tournament after an opening-round loss in the Pac-10 Tournament to California 67-61.
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 86-45 record. He has led Ole Miss to a 20-10 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 (7th, 154).
OLE MISS-UCLA SERIES: Friday's NCAA Tournament contest will be the first meeting between Ole Miss and UCLA on the hardwood.
SCOUTING UCLA: The Bruins enter the NCAA Tournament with a 19-11 overall record, and also posted a 12-6 Pacific-10 Conference mark. UCLA, which tied for third place in the league's regular-season standings, lost in the PAC-10 Conference Tournament first round to California (67-61) Mar. 7.
Junior All-America Jason Kapono leads a quartet of Bruins averaging double figures with a 16.7 scoring average. Billy Knight (13.9 ppg), Matt Barnes (13.4 ppg) and Dan Gadzuric (11.3 ppg) are also averaging double digits for UCLA. Gadzuric is the squad's top rebounder with a 7.6 average (9.3 average in PAC-10 play), and also has a team-high 55.4 shooting percentage from the floor. Kapono is UCLA's top three-point threat, hitting 46.4 percent from the arc. Barnes is shooting 44.8 percent from the three-point line, and leads the squad with 92 assists.
The Bruins, as a team, are shooting 47.5 percent from the field, 40.6 percent from the arc and 68.2 percent from the foul line. UCLA is out-rebounding its opponents by an average of 3.2 boards per game (36.1-32.9).
OLE MISS MAKES SIXTH NCAA TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE IN 2002: For the sixth time in its history, Ole Miss will participate in the NCAA Tournament (a.k.a. "The Big Dance"). This is the fifth time in the last six seasons (1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002) that the Rebels have received an at-large invitation to the tournament.
Ole Miss also played in the 1981 NCAA Tournament, receiving the SEC's automatic bid to the tournament as a result of winning the league's tournament championship. Ole Miss has an all-time NCAA Tournament record of 3-5.
In the its last trip to the NCAAs in 2001, Ole Miss advanced to the program's first-ever "Sweet Sixteen," moving on to the Midwest Region semifinals. The Rebels defeated Iona 72-70 in the first round and Notre Dame 59-56 in the second round, before falling to Arizona 66-56 in the regional semifinals. The following shows the Rebels' NCAA Tournament results:
OLE MISS VERSUS THE PAC-10: The Rebels have an all-time record of 4-1 versus current members of the Pacific-10 Conference. Ole Miss is 1-0 versus Arizona State, Oregon State and Southern Cal and 1-1 versus Arizona. All four Rebel victories came in regular-season tournament play. The lone setback was to the Wildcats last year iu the NCAA Tournament Midwest Region semifinals (66-56).
The Rebels defeated the Wildcats 75-70 in the 1953 Memphis Invitational, and beat the Sun Devils 76-63 in the 1986 Holiday Bowl Classic. In the 1999-2000 season, Ole Miss defeated Oregon State 77-58 in the second round of the SoCon Holiday Hoops Tournament in Greenville, S.C. The Rebels posted their latest victory over a Pacific-10 Conference team on Dec. 22, 2000, with a thrilling 84-83 overtime win over Southern Cal in the semifinals of the Yahoo! Sports Invitational.
REBELS VERSUS FIRST-TIME FOES: Ole Miss will face its sixth first-time opponent of the 2001-02 season when the Rebels meet UCLA Friday. In the five games against first-time foes this season, Ole Miss is 4-1 with wins over Alaska-Fairbanks (75-58), Tennessee-Martin (83-72), IUPUI (77-70) and UTEP (68-58) and a setback to George Mason (71-70).
Last year, the Rebels had a 3-1 record against first-time opponents, defeating Kansas State (60-46), No. 13-ranked Southern Cal (84-83, ot) and Morris Brown (94-59), and falling to Iowa State (73-68). Since the 1998-99 season, Ole Miss has a 14-4 record versus first-time foes.
2001-02 REBELS RECEIVE SECOND NO. 9 SEED IN PROGRAM'S NCAA HISTORY: The 2001-02 Ole Miss squad received a No. 9 seed in the West Region of the 2002 NCAA Tournament. It is the second time that the Rebels have been awarded a No. 9 seed in the program's history. The No. 9 seeded Rebels will meet No. 8 UCLA in the first round Friday, Mar. 15. The following chart lists the seeds the Rebels have had in their NCAA Tournament appearances:
AND THE WINNER GETS...: The winner of the Ole Miss-UCLA contest will meet the winner of the Cincinnati-Boston University first-round game in the second round on Sunday, Mar. 17. If the Rebels advance to the second round, they could face yet another first-time opponent if Boston University also advances.
Ole Miss and Cincinnati have met once before on the hardwood, with the Bearcats taking a 78-70 win in the 1954-55 season.
NO. 9 IS JUST FINE: For some teams, being a No. 9 seed is not a good draw. For the Rebels, though, this year's No. 9 seed will bring back some pleasant memories. The last time Ole Miss was a No. 9 seed was the 1999 NCAA Tournament when the Rebels recorded the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament victory, a 72-70 win over Villanova. Although they lost in the second round to Michigan State, the Rebels took the Spartans down to the wire, falling 74-66. Michigan State advanced to the Final Four that year.
WHAT ABOUT THAT NO.8-9 GAME: As for the No. 8-9 game in the NCAA Tournament, the Rebels have a 1-1 record in that contest. Ole Miss was a No. 8 seed (Midwest) in the 1997 NCAA Tournament, but fell to No. 9 seed Temple 62-40. In 1999, the No. 9 seeded Rebels defeated Villanova in the No. 8-9 game 72-70 (Midwest). Ole Miss dropped a narrow 74-66 decision to Michigan State in the second round. The Spartans advanced to the Final Four.
Prior to this year, UCLA played in its only No. 8-9 game in the 1993 tournament (West Region). The Bruins (No. 9 ssed) defeated Iowa State 80-71 in that first round, before falling to Michigan 86-84 in overtime in the second round. The Wolverines advanced all the way to the title contest before losing to North Carolina 77-71.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?: The No. 8-9 game in the NCAA Tournament presents the toughest first-round match-ups, with the outcome going either way. However, since the tournament went to a 64/65-team format in 1985, the No. 9 seed has gotten the best of the No. 8 seeded teams. Since the expansion of the NCAA field in 1985, the No. 9 seed holds a 39-29 series edge (.574 winning percentage) over the No. 8 seed.
DOING SOME DAMAGE: It seems that the winner of the No. 8-9 game would not have much luck at advancing far into the tournament with the No. 1 seed looming in the second round. But, there have been some success stories that have come out of the No. 8-9 game since the NCAA Tournament went to a 64/65-team in 1985.
That first year of expansion, a No. 8 seeded Villanova squad won the NCAA title. The following year (1986), Auburn, a No. 8 seed, advanced to the West Region finals. The most damage done by a No. 9 seed came in 1994 when Boston College advanced to the East Region final with wins over Washington State (67-64), North Carolina (75-72) and Indiana (77-68). The Eagles fell to Florida in the East Region finals 74-66.
THERE'S A FIRST: When the Rebels travel to Pittsburgh this weekend, it will be the program's first trip to the "Steel City." Ole Miss' trip to Pittsburgh will be only the second time a Rebel men's basketball team has played inside the Pennsylvania state lines. In the 1998-99 campaign, Ole Miss met Temple in Philadelphia and dropped a 68-52 decision to the Owls.
OLE MISS VERSUS NCAA FIELD: The Rebels have a 3-4 record versus teams in this year's NCAA Tournament, with all games coming against Southeastern Conference foes. Ole Miss played Alabama (1-1), Florida (1-0), Georgia (0-1), Kentucky (0-1) and Mississippi State (1-1).
FINALLY, A DIFFERENT REGION: It's about time for a change. After playing its first five NCAA Tournaments in the Midwest Region, the Rebel basketball program finally got a taste of a different region when it was sent to the West in the 2002 NCAA Tournament.
Ole Miss compiled a 3-5 NCAA Tournament record in its previous five trips to the Midwest Region.
BUT SOME THINGS DON'T CHANGE: My, how things stay the same. The Rebels will be playing in their sixth NCAA Tournament beginning this weekend, and for the sixth time, Ole Miss will open NCAA Tournament play on a Friday. The Rebels have never played on a Thursday-Saturday, first/second round site in their six NCAA Tournament appearances. Ole Miss has always played on the Friday-Sunday schedule.
SIMILAR COACHES: Although Ole Miss' Rod Barnes is from the Deep South and UCLA's Steve Lavin is from the West Coast, the two do share a few similarities, and the following shows that:
IT'S TONS OF TRADITION VERSUS THE BUILDING OF TRADITION: Some may look at Friday's Ole Miss-UCLA match-up and call it a mismatch in the Bruins favor. And, it may well be when one looks at the storied tradition of the UCLA program compared to the history of the Rebel basketball program. The Bruins have won an NCAA-record 11 titles and have 83 total NCAA Tournament victories, the second most in tourney history. UCLA is making its 38th overall NCAA Tournament appearance in 2002, including its 14th straight.
Ole Miss, though, is in the process of building tradition and is currently in its "golden era." The Rebels have put together six straight winning seasons and six consecutive postseason berths (5 NCAA, 1 NIT). Ole Miss is the Southeastern Conference's second-winningest program since the 1996-97 season with 128 wins. The Rebels have also won three SEC Western Division titles in the last six seasons.
IN GOOD COMPANY...PART I: One saying is people judge you by the company you keep. If that is the case, Ole Miss must be considered among the Southeastern Conference's elite -- especially since 1996-97. The Rebels are one of two SEC teams to advance to the postseason each of the last six years (5 NCAA, 1 NIT), including 2001-02. Kentucky (6 NCAA) is the only other SEC school to see action in the last six postseason tournaments.
IN GOOD COMPANY...PART II: After recording a winning campaign in 2001-02, Ole Miss has now strung together six staight winning seasons. The Rebels are one of two schools in the Southeastern Conference to have winning records the last six years (since 1996-97). Kentucky is the only other SEC school to do so.
IN GOOD COMPANY...PART III: The Rebels, as a team, are not the only ones in good company. Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is also in an elite class himself. Barnes is one of two current Southeastern Conference coaches to guide his team to the postseason each of his first four years as a head coach. Alabama's Mark Gottfried is the other, as he led Murray State to three straight postseasons before guiding the Crimson Tide to an NIT bid in his first year in Tuscaloosa in 1999.
When looking at current SEC coaches leading SEC teams to the postseason in their first four years, Barnes again is one of only two mentors to do so. Kentucky's Tubby Smith is the other, as he led Georgia to the NCAA Tournament in his two years in Athens and then guided Kentucky to the NCAAs in his first two seasons in Lexington.
IT'S OFFENSE VERSUS DEFENSE: It will definitely be a battle of wills when Ole Miss meets UCLA in the first round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament Friday. The Bruins love to score, and although they average only 73.9 points per game (6th in the PAC-10), they have had eight games in which they scored 80 or more points. From an average standpoint, the Rebels look as if they could hang with UCLA on the offensive end, averaging 72.5 points per game (7th in the SEC). But, Ole Miss has scored 80 or more points in only five contests.
On the other side, Ole Miss is holding its opponents to 63.8 points per game, which is tied for second in the SEC. UCLA is ranked fifth in its league in scoring defense at 71.9 points, but California, the PAC-10 leader in scoring defense at 66.4 ppg, would rank fifth among the SEC leaders.
A THREE-POINT SHOOTOUT: Ole Miss and UCLA both love to shoot the three-pointer, and it shows in the stats. The Rebels lead the Southeastern Conference in three-point field goal percentage at 38.6 percent, and are ranked third in the league at 7.50 treys per game. The Bruins are second in the PAC-10 with a 40.6 percentage from the arc and fourth with 6.80 three-pointers per contest.
SPEAKING OF THREES, REBELS SET RECORD FOR TREYS: Well, the 2001-02 Rebels did it, setting a new standard for three-pointers in a season. With its five treys versus South Carolina in the SEC Tournament Mar. 7, Ole Miss now has 225 three-pointers, breaking the previous mark of 224 set by the 2000-01 squad. The following shows the top four three-point shooting teams in Rebel history:
Most Three-Pointers Made/Team
MORE ON THE REBEL DEFENSE: Ole Miss has developed a reputation for playing tough defense, and this season's Rebels have turned it up a little on the defensive end in recent contests. In the last six games, Ole Miss has held its opponents to only 60.2 points per contest. During that same stretch, the Rebels are defending the three-point shot well, holding the opposition to 25.3 percent from the arc.
SANDERS BLOWS UP IN SEC TOURNEY: If fans see a Rebel player with an "S" on his jersey instead of a number, it will be junior David Sanders (Jackson, Miss.). The 6-foot-3 guard, who wears No. 15, has been playing like Superman for Ole Miss lately, and he had a tremendous performance against South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference Tournament Mar. 7.
In that game, Sanders scored a career-high 26 points, besting his previous high of 23 points against Alabama Mar. 3. He also hit a career-best 10 field goals against the Gamecocks.
Sanders has been nothing short of terrific in the Rebels' last seven games. In that stretch, he is averaging 17.7 points and 4.7 boards, while shooting 57.8 percent from the field, 51.9 percent from the three-point arc and 73.5 percent from the foul line. The following reveals Sanders' latest run of solid performances:
* tied career high
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 19 games this year where four players have scored in double figures. Ole Miss has a 16-3 record in those games, including an 8-1 mark in SEC action. The lone loss was at Tennessee Jan. 6.
OLE MISS SECURE WIN NO. 20: The Rebels won their 20th game of the 2001-02 campaign with an 84-56 victory over No. 6 Alabama Mar. 3. Ole Miss has a 20-10 record. It is the second straight year the Rebels have reached the magical plateau of 20 wins. Last season, Ole Miss won a school-record 27 games. The 20-win campaign in 2001-02 marks the fifth time in the last six 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.
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 86-45 (.656 winning percentage), and reached the 80-win plateau the fastest of any coach in Rebel basketball history. His 86 victories are tied for the third most by a head coach in Ole Miss basketball history. The following lists the winningest coaches in Rebel history:
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!: Friday's game against UCLA will be the Rebels' 11th overall television appearance in 2001-02. Ole Miss is 6-4 in television games this year, defeating Kansas State 67-65 Nov. 24, No. 22 Memphis 71-67 Dec. 7, Arkansas 70-64 Jan. 19, South Carolina 71-53 Jan. 26, Arkansas 79-67 Feb. 9 and No. 6 Alabama 84-56, and falling at No. 12 Kentucky 87-64 Jan. 15, at No. 5 Alabama 79-59 Feb. 6, at Mississippi State 61-59 Feb. 23 and to South Carolina 69-67 in the SEC Tournament first round Mar. 7.
AT THE HEAD OF THE CLASS(ES): Well, Jason Harrison (Little Rock, Ark.) 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 No. 6 Alabama Mar. 3, this year's senior class has 86 victories, which is two 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 four straight postseasons (3 NCAA, 1 NIT). The following chart lists the most successful classes:
OH, SO VERY CLOSE!!...PART I: Last year, the Ole Miss Rebel basketball squad took many games down to the wire, but proved to be successful in the close calls with a 14-3 record in contests decided by single digits. This season, however, the close calls seem to be going the other way because of the team's overall inexperience. Ole Miss is 6-8 in contests decided by less than 10 points this year. Moreover, of the Rebels' 10 setbacks, eight have been by seven points or less, including six of the eight losses to SEC foes.
OH, SO VERY CLOSE!!...PART II: Everybody at some time wishes, "What could have been?" The Rebels are no different in 2001-02. Alabama won the overall Southeastern Conference title with a 12-4 mark, while Ole Miss finished with a 9-7 league record. However, looking back at the last three weeks of the regular season, the Rebels were just eight points away from tying for the overall championship. Ole Miss dropped three-point decisions at Auburn (65-62) Feb. 13 and at LSU (59-56) Feb. 27 and a two-point loss at Mississippi State (61-59) Feb. 23.
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 128 games (overall games) since 1996-97, the most by any SEC Western Division team. The 128 victories are also second among all league teams, only trailing Kentucky's 165 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 NAMED TO COACHES ALL-SEC SECOND TEAM, AP THIRD TEAM: Sophomore Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.) was named to Coaches All-Southeastern Conference second team. This is the fifth time in the last six years that Ole Miss has placed a player on one of the Coaches All-SEC squads. Reed, who leads the Rebels in scoring with a 14.6 average, also earned All-SEC third team accolades from the Associated Press. It was the second straight year that Reed received All-SEC honors from Associated Press.
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. On Feb. 12, the 6-foot-8 forward was named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District 6 second team. He was also a 2001-02 preseason Wooden Award candidate.
HARRISON IS THE NEW IRONMAN, SETS OLE MISS GAMES PLAYED RECORD: Jason Harrison's father told him as he was growing up, "Don't let anyone tell you, `You can't' when you can." Ever since, the 5-foot-5 senior has been proving people wrong. Many told him he couldn't play basketball at the NCAA Division I level, but that must have been 131 games and an Ole Miss school record ago.
In the Rebels' contest at Mississippi State Feb. 23, Harrison set an Ole Miss record for career games played. Against the Bulldogs, he played his 128th career game in a Rebel uniform. He now has played in 131 career games. Harrison moved past his former teammate Jason Flanigan (1998-2001), who set the standard last year with 127 games played. The following chart lists the top five on the career games played chart:
Rebel Career Games Played
A SENSATIONAL "SENIOR DAY" SEND-OFF FOR HARRISON: Jason Harrison is the team's lone senior, and he had a tremendous final home game in the Rebels' 84-56 victory over No. 6 Alabama Mar. 3. The 5-foot-5 guard scored 15 points and dished out three assists in the victory. With that win, the Rebels have won seven straight "Senior Day" contests.
"I TOLD YOU SO": We've all heard it before, mainly from parents. But, Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes laid it on the Rebel fans last year. When asked about David Sanders' perimeter shooting in 2000-01, Barnes told them that the 6-foot-3 guard had the ability to shoot the three-point shot and just be patient. Well, like parents, Barnes was right.
Sanders is blistering the nets from the arc, hitting 52.2 percent (35-of-67) from the three-point line this year. Last season, Sanders hit only 21.9 percent from the arc (7-of-32).
HE'S DONE IT!...PART I, 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 1,066 career points, which is No. 24 on the Ole Miss career scoring chart.
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.
HE'S DONE IT!...PART II: With his six assists versus Auburn Feb. 13, senior Jason Harrison went over the 100-assists plateau for a third straight year. After 30 games in 2001-02, Harrison has 116 dishes for a 3.9 average. 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 421 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
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 20-10 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.
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:
BOMBS AWAY, HARPER CLIMBING CAREER 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 78 treys this year and is moving up the Ole Miss career three-pointers chart. The following shows the career leaders:
Rebel Career Three-Pointers
HARPER ALSO MOVING UP SEASON TREY LIST: Aaron Harper's assault beyond the arc is not just limited to Ole Miss career chart. He is also moving up quickly on the Rebel single-season three-pointers list. The following show the top five leaders for three-pointers made in a single season in Rebel history:
Rebel Single-Season Three-Pointers
REED DOUBLES HIS PLEASURE...PART I: Whatever Justin Reed did in the month of February, please let him carry it over to March. In the Rebels' seven games from Feb. 6 through Mar. 3, the 6-foot-8 forward averaged nearly a double-double of 15.0 points and 9.3 boards. He also shot 50 percent from the field and 75.9 percent from the foul line in that seven-game stretch.
In four of the seven games, he recorded double-doubles against Alabama (19-12), Auburn (17-10), Florida (15-10) and Mississippi State (12-11).
REED DOUBLES HIS PLEASURE...PART II: Justin Reed doubled his pleasure for the seventh time this year when he posted 12 points and 11 boards in Ole Miss' contest at Mississippi State Feb. 23. The 6-foot-8 forward also recorded double-doubles versus Florida (15-10), Auburn (17-10), Alabama (19-12), Lipscomb (12-10), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (16-10) and Kansas State (15-11) this season. Reed now has 10 double-doubles for his career, including six versus SEC opponents. The following lists Reed's double-double performances:
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 Mar. 11, 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 78.4 percent from the foul line, a difference of 23.6 percentage points. The following lists the nation's top five players with biggest improvements:
Best Improvement in FT Pct.
THERE'S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: The old saying goes, "All good things must come to an end." For Ole Miss and junior Richard Kirklin (Pine Bluff, Ark.), it came to an end Feb. 23. In the Rebels' game at Mississippi State, Kirklin got the ninth starting nod of his career. The 6-foot-9 forward entered the game with a perfect 8-0 record when he started, but a narrow 61-59 setback to Mississippi State ended his streak of victories. He is now 8-1 when he starts, including 6-1 in SEC games.
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 Mar. 11, Ole Miss was ranked 11th in the nation in team free throw shooting improvement. The Rebels are currently shooting 73.8 percent from the charity stripe. The following chart shows the free throw shooting improvement:
Best Team Improvement in FT Pct.
HITTING THE GLASS BY COMMITTEE: Entering the 2001-02 season, Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes knew his Rebels had to make up for its lack of inside presence. He challenged his off-guard trio of juniors David Sanders and Emmanuel Wade (Marianna, Ark.) and sophomore Aaron Harper to improve their numbers on the boards, and they have responded. All three players have increased their rebounding production from last year, and the following shows that:
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 (17 games, includes tournament), Ole Miss is shooting a considerably higher percentage in the second half than first -- especially home contests -- and the following chart shows that:
OLE MISS PICKED THIRD IN SEC WEST BY MEDIA: The Ole Miss Rebels were picked to finish in third place in the SEC Western Division in a vote by media members at the annual conference media day Nov. 1 in Birmingham, Ala. Alabama was picked to win the SEC Western Division championship, while Kentucky was selected to win both the SEC overall title and the Eastern Division crown. The following shows the media's picks for the 2001-02 campaign (first-place votes in parentheses):
THE MAGIC NUMBER IS... Well, for the Rebels, it seems as if that number is 70. Since the 1996-97 season (including 2001-02), Ole Miss has an incredible 102-14 record (.879 winning percentage) when it scores 70 points or more. On the other hand, the Rebels are 25-46 when they net less than 70 points during that six-year period. This year, the Rebels are 15-4 when reaching that magical number of 70.
REED AMONG FIRST TWO-YEAR SCORING LEADERS: With Justin Reed going over the 800-point plateau against LSU Feb. 27, 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
REBELS SECOND ON WEST TITLES LIST: The Rebels clinched the Southeastern Conference Western Division title outright in 2000-01, and it was the program's third SEC Western Division championship in the last five years. Since the league went to the two-division format in 1991-92, the Rebels have won the second-most SEC West titles. The following chart shows the SEC Western Division champions (outright and shared titles):
SEC Western Division
THE REBELS' NEW SIXTH-MAN: The last three years, Jason Harrison was the Rebels' "super-sub," thriving in the role of Ole Miss' sixth-man. With Harrison moving into the starting lineup, head coach Rod Barnes was looking for someone to become the Rebels' sixth-man, and Emmanuel Wade stepped into that role.
He averaged 7.1 points and 3.3 boards coming off the bench. He also shot 79.4 percent from the charity stripe this year. During a 14-game stretch from Dec. 7 through Jan. 30, Wade averaged 8.9 points and 3.9 rebounds, while shooting 83.3 percent from the charity stripe (30-of-36).
During that stretch, he came up with some big plays for the Rebels. Wade hit the game-clinching free throws to seal the 71-67 victory over Memphis Dec. 7 and recorded five steals in the SunClassic Tournament Dec. 21-22.
Wade scored five straight points (trey, 2 FTs) during a 10-2 second half run versus Mississippi State Jan. 12 that helped propel the Rebels to victory. In Ole Miss' 70-64 victory at Arkansas, Wade came alive in the second half, scoring all eight of his points and grabbing four rebounds after the intermission. Against LSU Jan. 23, he grabbed a career-high tying six rebounds.
In the Rebels' victory over Vanderbilt Jan. 30, Wade came off the bench to record 14 points, two rebounds, two assists and three steals. He hit the key three-pointer to break a 49-all tie and begin a 14-5 run that gave Ole Miss control of the contest.
"TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS" OFF THE COURT: One of Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes' favorite lines is "take care of your business." Well, the Rebels did it once again in the classroom. Three Rebels -- sophomores Aaron Harper (Jackson, Miss.) and Justin Reed and freshman Spence Shutt (Savannah, Tenn.) -- made the University of Mississippi Athletic Association (UMAA) Honor Roll (3.00-3.49 gpa) for the fall semester. In the spring of 2001, seven Ole Miss players made one of the University's three honor rolls (Chancellor's, Dean's, UMAA).
RESILIENT REBELS: Last season, Ole Miss proved when it was down, it wasn't necessarily out. The 2001-02 Rebels are proving they have the same character to never give up. Although three of the six comeback attempts fell short, the Rebels gave it an "all-out" effort. The following chronicles Ole Miss' resiliency this season:
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE: Juniors Derrick Allen (Gadsden, Ala.) and David Sanders and sophomore Aaron Harper did double their pleasure their pleasure in 2001-02, as all three posted the first double-doubles of their careers. Allen, a 6-foot-8 forward, had three double-doubles, while Harper, a 6-foot-7 forward/guard, had two. Sanders posted one double-double this season. The following shows the trio's double-doubles in 2001-02:
DERRICK THE (FIRST-HALF) DOMINATOR: As if recording a double-double isn't hard enough for an entire game, Ole Miss junior Derrick Allen tries to do his damage in the first half. In two of the three games in which he recorded a double-double (versus Kansas State, Arkansas), the 6-foot-8 forward had reached the feat by halftime. Allen had 12 points and 10 boards by the intermission against Kansas State and posted 10 points and 12 rebounds by half against Arkansas. Allen's 12 first-half rebounds versus the Razorbacks were one more than their team total at the break (11).
ALLEN HAS CAREER GAME VERSUS TENNESSEE: Talk about a "break-out" game. Well, junior Derrick Allen had one in the Rebels' 82-76 setback at Tennessee Jan. 6. The 6-foot-8 forward recorded career bests for points (22), free throws (10) and assists (5). He also grabbed nine boards in the game.
REBELS WIN SUNCLASSIC TITLE: Before the Christmas break, Ole Miss traveled to El Paso, Texas, to participate in the 41st annual Sierra Providence SunClassic. The Rebels posted victories over IUPUI (77-70) and host UTEP (68-58) to claim the two-day tournament crown. It was the second regular-season tournament title for Ole Miss under head coach Rod Barnes. In 1999-2000, the Rebels won the inaugural SoCon Holiday Hoops Tournament championship.
REED, ALLEN WIN HONORS AT SIERRA PROVIDENCE SUNCLASSIC: Sophomore Justin Reed and junior Derrick Allen received tournament honors following the Sierra Providence SunClassic championship win over UTEP. Reed was voted the tournament's MVP. He averaged 16.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in the two contests. Allen was named to the SunClassic All-Tournament Team. In the two games, he averaged 9.5 points and 9.0 boards.
RHODES TO PLAY, REDSHIRT LIFTED: Freshman Chris Rhodes (Houston, Texas) had planned to redshirt, but as a result of John Gunn not being able to return to action this year, his redshirt was lifted in early December. In his first action Dec. 7, the 6-foot-7 forward played four minutes versus the Tigers, and has seen action in 14 games in 2001-02. Rhodes, a member of four-straight Texas state championships at Westbury Christian High School, averaged 20.4 points and 12.5 boards his senior season. Rhodes was named MVP of the Texas state tournament as a senior.
Freshman Jonathan Loe (Memphis, Tenn.) will redshirt this season. The MVP of the 2001 Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Game, Loe averaged 20.9 points, 6.2 boards, 3.6 assists and 3.4 steals in helping lead Bartlett High School to the Tennessee Class AAA state title in 2000-01.
GUNN'S SURGERY A SUCCESS, OUT FOR 2001-02 SEASON: Junior forward John Gunn (Oxford, Miss.) underwent surgery in New Orleans, La., Nov. 9. The surgery to repair a lifelong kidney ailment was successful. The 6-foot-10 forward, however, will be out for the 2001-02 season. He went back to the doctor for a check-up Dec. 7, but was not released to practice. He later had a second surgery in January. Gunn will apply for a medical redshirt following the season.
OLE MISS PLACES FOURTH IN TOURNEY: Despite an opening-round setback to Bowling Green at the BP Top of the World Classic, the Rebels bounced back to defeat Alaska-Fairbanks and Wichita State to claim fourth place. It was the fourth-straight year that Ole Miss played in a three-round tournament and came out with a 2-1 record or better. The Rebels were second (2-1) at the 1998 Puerto Rico Holiday Classic and 2000 Yahoo! Sports Invitational and won the 1999 SoCon Holiday Hoops Tournament (3-0).
REED NAMED TO BP ALL-TOURNEY TEAM: Sophomore Justin Reed was named to the BP Top of the World Classic All-Tournament Team Nov. 15-18. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 17.0 points and 6.0 rebounds. He also shot 58.8 percent from the field and 84.6 percent from the charity stripe.
OLE MISS RANKED IN TOP 50 IN FIVE PRESEASON PUBLICATIONS: The Rebels are getting a little more respect heading into the 2001-02 campaign, being ranked among the top-50 teams in the nation in five preseason publications. Ole Miss was ranked No. 22 by The Sporting News, No. 24 by Sports Illustrated, No. 29 by Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, No. 30 by Lindy's and No. 42 by Basketball News.
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