Rebels Ready To Rumble

March 13, 2001

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NCAA Tournament First Round
#14 seed Iona (22-10)
#3 seed Ole Miss (25-7)
Friday, March 16, 2001, 6:55 p.m. (CT)
Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Mo.

Rebels on Television and Radio
Television: CBS Sports (Verne Lundquist, play-by-play, Bill Raftery, color analyst, Bob Mansbach, producer)

Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play, Sean Tuohy, color analyst, Stan Sandroni, pregame/halftime/postgame host)

The Ole Miss Rebels (25-7, 11-5 SEC) received their fourth NCAA Tournament invitation in the last five years on Sunday and will open postseason play Friday, Mar. 16 versus the Iona Gaels (22-10, 12-5 MAAC) in the Midwest Region first round in Kansas City, Mo. The game, which will be played in Kemper Arena, is sheduled for a 6:55 p.m (CT) start. Ole Miss, ranked No. 14 in the Associated Press poll and No. 13 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, advanced to the SEC Tournament Championship last weekend with victories over Tennessee and Florida. The Rebels fell to Kentucky in the title contest. The Gaels won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament championship over Canisius (74-67). It is the second straight year that the Gaels have won the MAAC tourney title and received the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

NCAA Midwest Region First & Second Rounds
Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Mo. (All Times Central)

Friday, Mar. 16
Wake Forest vs. Butler, 11:30 a.m.
Arizona vs. Eastern Illinois, approx. 2:00 p.m.
OLE MISS vs. Iona, 6:55 p.m.
Notre Dame vs. Xavier, approx. 9:20 p.m.

Sunday, Mar. 18 Wake Forest/Butler winner vs. Ariz./Eastern Ill. winner, 1:30 p.m.
OLE MISS/Iona vs. Notre Dame/Xavier winner, approx. 4:00 p.m.

Rod Barnes is in his third season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. He has an overall record of 64-34 (.653 winning percentage). In his first two seasons, Barnes compiled a 39-27 record, and the 39 victories are the most by a Rebel coach in his first two years in Ole Miss history. Last year, Barnes guided Ole Miss to a 19-14 overall record and a berth in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The Rebels advanced to the NIT quarterfinals for the second time in school history. The winning season and postseason tournament both were the fourth straight for the Ole Miss program.
In 1998-99, Barnes led Ole Miss to a 20-13 overall record and a third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The Satartia, Miss., native was the first head coach in the history of Rebel basketball to win 20 games in his first season. Barnes also guided the Rebels to a 72-70 win over Villanova in the NCAA Tournament first round, marking the program?s first-ever victory in NCAA play.
Barnes was hired as the Rebel head coach on April 9, 1998. A 1988 graduate of Ole Miss, Barnes served as an assistant under 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).

Friday's meeting will be the first between the two schools on the hardwood.

Ole Miss will face another first-time opponent when the Rebels face Iona in the first round of the NCAA Midwest Region in Kansas City. The Rebels have a 3-1 record against first-time opponents this year, defeating Kansas State (60-46) Dec. 5, No. 13-ranked Southern Cal (84-83, ot) Dec. 22 and Morris Brown (94-59) Dec. 30 and falling to Iowa State (73-68) Dec. 23.
In the 1999-2000 campaign, Ole Miss posted a 3-0 record versus first-time foes with wins over Oregon State (77-58), Virginia Commonwealth (75-62) and Southwest Missouri State (70-48). Since the 1998-99 season, Ole Miss has a 10-3 record versus first-time foes.

The Gaels enter the NCAA Tournament with a 22-10 overall record. Iona won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament and posted a 12-6 mark in the MAAC during the regular season. Nakiea Miller leads three Gaels in double figures with a 15.0 scoring average. Earl Johnson (12.7 ppg) and Dyree Wilson (12.7 ppg) are also averaging double digits. Miller is the squad's top rebounder (8.7 rpg) and field goal shooter (67.1 percent). He leads the MAAC in field goal percentage and blocked shots (77 total, 2.96 bpg). Johnson is the Gaels' top three-point threat, hitting 49.5 percent >from the arc. Iona is shooting 48.3 percent from the floor, 39 percent >from the three-point line and 68.5 percent from the foul line.
Head coach Jeff Ruland, a 1991 graduate of Iona, is in his third year at his alma mater and has an overall record of 58-35.

Some college football experts once dubbed Miami of Ohio as the ?Cradle of >Coaches? because several football head and assistant coaches moved on to higher profiles jobs at other colleges. Well, the same could be said for Iona in the hoops realm. Former coaches who had a stint at Iona include the late Jim Valvano, current DePaul mentor Pat Kennedy and current Providence head coach Tim Welsh.
Valvano moved on to N.C. State after his time at Iona. In 1983, he led the Wolfpack to the NCAA title. Kennedy, who coached at Florida State before moving to DePaul, led the Seminoles to an NCAA Elite Eight appearance in 1993. This year, Welsh guided the Providence Friars to the program's first NCAA Tournament berth since 1998.

For the fifth time in its history, Ole Miss will participate in the NCAA Tournament (a.k.a. ?The Big Dance?). This is the fourth time in the last five seasons (1997, 1998, 1999, 2001) 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 1-4.

The 2000-01 Ole Miss squad received its highest seeding in the NCAA Tournament when it was awarded a No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region. The No. 3 seed Ole Miss will meet No. 14 seed Iona in the first round Mar. 16. The following chart lists the seeds the Rebels have had in their NCAA

The winner of the Ole Miss-Iona contest will meet the winner of the Notre Dame-Xavier's first-round game in the second round on Sunday, Mar. 18. If the Rebels advance to the second round, they could face yet another first-time opponent if Xavier also advances.
Ole Miss and Notre Dame have met once before on the hardwood, with the Irish taking a 111-62 win in the 1977-78 season opener in South Bend, Ind. That Notre Dame squad advanced to the 1978 NCAA Final Four.

Ole Miss is one of only three teams from the Southeastern Conference to compete in the last five basketball postseasons (NCAA or NIT). Ole Miss played in the NCAA Tournament in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2001, and participated in the NIT in 2000. Kentucky (5 NCAAs) and Arkansas (4 NCAA, 1 NIT) are the other SEC teams to play in the last five years.

The Rebels have an 8-4 record versus teams in this year's NCAA Tournament. Ole Miss played Oklahoma (1-0), Southern Cal (1-0), Iowa State (0-1), Arkansas (2-0), Kentucky (1-1), Tennessee (2-0), Georgia (0-1) and Florida (1-1).

The Rebel basketball program must wonder if there is another region in the NCAA Tournament. For the fifth time in their history, the Rebels received an invitation to the NCAA Tournament. And, for the fifth time, Ole Miss will be playing in the Midwest Region.
To take it another step, Ole Miss will begin NCAA Tournament play on a Friday for the fifth time. The Rebels have never played on a Thursday-Saturday, first/second round site in their five NCAA Tournament appearances. Ole Miss has always played on the Friday-Sunday schedule.

Of its five trips to the NCAA Midwest Region, Ole Miss has been sent to Kansas City, Mo., twice. The Rebels played in Kemper Arena in 1997 and will travel to the same site this year.
Although not in the same state, the Rebels played the 1981 NCAA Tournament in a "Kansas-associated" site. Ole Miss traveled to Wichita, Kan., in 1981, and lost to Kansas in the first round, 69-66.

The Rebels will be playing their first opponent ever from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Friday when Ole Miss meets Iona. The schools that comprise the MAAC are Canisius, Fairfield, Iona, Loyola, Manhattan, Marist, Niagara, Rider, St. Peter's and Siena.

The 2001 NCAA and SEC Tournaments will mark the 20th anniversary of the 1980-81 Rebel team that won Ole Miss' lone SEC Tournament crown, earning the program's first NCAA Tournament berth. The 1980-81 Ole Miss squad, under the direction of head coach Bob Weltlich, defeated Tennessee (81-71) and Vanderbilt (71-51) en route to the 1981 SEC Tournament championship game versus Georgia. The Rebels won the title with a 66-62 victory over the Bulldogs. Elston Turner and Sean Tuohy earned All-Tournament Team honors.
The 1980-81 squad was honored prior to the Ole Miss-Kentucky football game Sept. 30, 2000, in Oxford. Turner was also inducted into the M-Club Athletic Hall of Fame that day.

With the recent success of the Ole Miss basketball program, there have been many "firsts" or "since thens" the past few seasons. Well, here's one not only for Ole Miss, but for the SEC.
Rod Barnes is the first person in the league's history to earn All-SEC first team honors as a player (1988) and also received the conference's Coach of the Year accolade.

Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes may have to clear some space in his trophy case after this season is over, as he is up for several coach of the year honors. Barnes received his first accolade Mar. 1 when he was named SEC Coach of the Year by, a college basketball internet magazine. Kentucky's Tayshaun Prince was named the league's Player of the Year by the internet site.

Rebel head coach Rod Barnes is really racking up the hardware this season. On Mar. 11, Barnes was named the National Coach of the Year by, a college basketball internet magazine. Barnes was one of 10 finalists for the honor along with Indiana's Mike Davis, Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt, Cincinnati's Bob Huggins, Stanford's Mike Montgomery, Ohio State's Jim O'Brien, Arizona's Lute Olson, Oklahoma's Kelvin Sampson, Boston College's Al Skinner, and Providence's Tim Welsh.

Entering the final weekend of the regular season, Ole Miss had at least a share of the SEC Western Division title, but the Rebels wanted it outright. To do that, Ole Miss had to defeat Alabama or have Arkansas fall to Georgia.
Well, Ole Miss took care of its own business with a 105-71 victory over the Crimson Tide to claim the SEC West crown with an 11-5 league record. Arkansas finished second with a 10-6 SEC mark. The title was Ole Miss' third SEC Western Division crown in the last five years.

With their win over Alabama Mar. 3, the Rebels clinched the Southeastern Conference Western Division title outright. It is Ole Miss' 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.

Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes picked up more postseason hardware Mar. 5-6 when he was named the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year by the league's coaches and Associated Press (AP).
Barnes is the first Rebel mentor to honored by conference's coaches since Lee Hunt received the same honor in 1983. Hunt shared the honor with Kentucky's Joe B. Hall. Barnes is the fourth Rebel coach to receive the AP honor. Bob Weltlich (1980), Lee Hunt (1983) and Rob Evans (1997) also earned the AP award.

The Rebels have been making a lot of history in recent years, and freshman Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.) added to that last week. Reed became Ole Miss' first-ever SEC Freshman of the Year. The 6-foot-8 forward earned the honor from the coaches. Reed was also named Associated Press' (AP) Newcomer of the Year.
Reed was selected to the coaches' SEC All-Freshman Team and was the team's lone unanimous pick. Reed also earned AP All-SEC third team and SEC All-Tournament Team accolades.

Former Rebel basketball standout Denver Brackeen was honored at the 2001 league tournament as one of the SEC's Living Legends. Each Chick-fil-A/SEC Basketball Legend was recognized at halftime of his institution's first game at the tournament. The legends were also honored as a group during pregame festivities before the first semifinal game Mar. 10.
Brackeen played center at Ole Miss from 1954-55. Brackeen transferred to Ole Miss from East Central Junior College, where he was an All-America selection and was chosen as the nation's Most Outstanding Junior College Player after the 1952-53 season. He made an immediate impact at Ole Miss, earning All-SEC honors in both 1954 and 1955. During his senior season, Brackeen averaged 27.2 points per game and was named UPI SEC Player of the Year and AP SEC Most Valuable Player. He also earned All-American honors after the season and set a total of 24 school records during his two-year career at Ole Miss. Brackeen was drafted in the second round of the 1955 NBA Draft by the New York Knickerbockers. He retired from the Adjutant General Office of the Mississippi National Guard in 1992 with the rank of Major General.

The Rebels entered the 2000-01 with a mission to take the Ole Miss program where it had never gone before. Well, they succeeded in their quest. With Ole Miss' invitation to the 2001 NCAA Tournament, the Rebels have played in five consecutive postseasons (4 NCAA?1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 1 NIT?2000) for the first time in school history.

The 2001 Ole Miss seniors ended their careers on a winning note Mar. 3 when they won their final home game with a 105-71 victory over Alabama. The win also gave the Rebels their third SEC Western Division title in the last five years.
The 2001 seniors are Jason Flanigan (Little Rock, Ark.), Rahim Lockhart (Mendenhall, Miss.), John Engstrom (Paragould, Ark.) and Jason Holmes (Tylertown, Miss.). The quartet has averaged 20 victories per season, and is the only class in Rebel basketball history to do so. The 2001 seniors also earned a fourth straight postseason berth this year to become the first class to play in four straight postseason tournaments since the 1983 class did so. The 1983 seniors participated in one NCAA (1981) and three NITs (1980, 1982, 1983).

Senior Rahim Lockhart joined another elite group in Rebel history when he was selected to the coaches' All-Southeastern Conference first team Mar. 5. He is only the fourth player in Rebel history to receive All-SEC first team accolades from the league's coaches. Joe Gibbon (1957), Ansu Sesay (1997, 1998) and Keith Carter (1999) were the other Rebels to earn coaches' All-SEC first team honors. (NOTE: Coaches' All-SEC picks were not made on a first-team and second-team basis from 1958-92.)
Lockhart also received Associated Press All-SEC second team and SEC All-Tournament Team honors.

ESPN held its "Championship Week" Mar. 3-11. Well, it was ?Career Week? for senior Jason Holmes Feb. 26-Mar. 4. In the Rebels' victory over Alabama Mar. 3, the 6-foot-5 guard was on fire, scoring a career-high 26 points. The 26-point performance bested his previous high of 17 in Ole Miss' Dec. 5 win over Kansas State. He also recorded career highs of seven field goals, five treys and seven free throws versus the Crimson Tide.
In the Rebels' contest at LSU Feb. 28, Holmes dished out a career-high six assists. He also scored 13 points versus the Tigers.
For the week, Holmes averaged 19.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists, while shooting 54.5 percent (12-of-22) from the field, 53.3 percent from the arc (8-of-15) and 100 percent from the charity stripe (7-of-7).

Senior Jason Flanigan has had his ups and downs this year, and with the way he has played recently, it looks as if he is on his way up again. The 6-foot-1 guard, who also goes by the nickname ?Buck,? has picked up his play in Ole Miss' last three games, and it is showing in the numbers.
In the three games prior to the SEC Tournament, Flanigan averaged 9.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He scored 17 points in Ole Miss' victory over Alabama Mar. 3, which was his highest-scoring SEC contest of the regular season. Flanigan also hit a career-best 10 free throws versus the Crimson Tide.
Flanigan had solid performances in SEC Tournament play. He averaged 6.3 points, 3.3 rebounds 3.0 assists in the three games.

What a difference a year makes. With their 74-69 win over No. 5-ranked Florida in the SEC Tournament semifinals Mar. 10, the Rebels now have a 12-3 record in games decided by single digits (nine points or less). Ole Miss' three setbacks by single digits were to Iowa State (73-68), Georgia (70-66) and LSU (78-77, ot). Last season, Ole Miss had a 6-8 record in single-digit contests.

This year's senior class of Jason Flanigan, Rahim Lockhart and Jason Holmes and junior redshirt John Engstrom is at the head of all the classes in Ole Miss basketball history. With the Rebels' victory over Florida, the 2000-01 senior class has 86 wins, the most victories by a class in a four-year span. The 86 victories surpass the previous mark of 74 wins by the 1998-99 class of Hunter Carpenter, Keith Carter, Jason Smith and Michael White. The 2000-01 senior class has also been a part of the 1998 and 2001 SEC Western Division championship squads and has been to four straight postseasons (3 NCAA, 1 NIT).

When senior Jason ?Buck? Flanigan took the floor in the Rebels' SEC Tournament second-round game versus Tennessee, he set a new a school record all his own. The tournament's second-round contest was the 122nd of >Flanigan's career, giving him the record for most games played in an Ole Miss uniform. He has now played in 124 games. The 6-foot-1 guard was tied with Roger Stieg at 121 games going into the SEC Tournament. Stieg played at Ole Miss from 1980-82 and was a member of the Rebels' 1981 SEC Tournament championship team.

Redshirt junior John Engstrom, who is a senior academically, got a reward for his four years of hard work and dedication to the program when he received his first career start versus Alabama Mar. 3. He grabbed two rebounds in six minutes of action in the Rebels' 105-71 victory over the Crimson Tide.
On Mar. 6, Engstrom was named to the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll for the third straight year. The 7-footer is only the seventh player in Rebel history to earn the league's academic honor three or more years.

So far, the Rebels can say the omens have been good for them. Ole Miss claimed the Southeastern Conference Western Division title this year in similar fashion to the 1997 and 1998 Rebel squads.
In 1996-97 and 1997-98, Ole Miss had a 4-2 record versus the SEC Eastern Division, a 4-4 road record in league play and sealed the title with a victory in its final home game versus a Western Division opponent (74-68 win over LSU in 1996-97, 74-67 win over Auburn in 1997-98) in the final week of the campaign.
This season, the Rebels did the same. Ole Miss was 4-2 against the SEC East and posted a 4-4 record on the road in the league. The Rebels then clinched the SEC West crown outright with a 105-71 victory over Alabama in the final game (at home) of the regular season.

The 2000-01 Rebels are sure making their mark in Ole Miss basketball history, and they now own the record for most wins in a single season. With its victory over Florida Mar. 10, Ole Miss has a current record of 25-7, and the 25 wins are the most in Rebel basketball history. The previous school record for most victories in a season was 22 by the 1937-38 and 1997-98 teams.

The Rebels are 6-3 versus ranked opponents this season, defeating No. 14 Oklahoma (60-55), No. 13 Southern Cal (84-83, ot), No. 10 Tennessee (87-71) and No. 20 Alabama (105-71) and falling to No. 15 Alabama (82-63) and No. 7 Florida (75-55).
In last weekend's SEC Tournament, Ole Miss defeated No. 24 Tennessee (86-73) and No. 5 Florida (74-69), but lost to No. 15 Kentucky (77-55) in the title game.

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 106 games (overall games) since 1996-97, the most by any team in the SEC Western Division. The 106 victories are also second among all league teams, trailing only Kentucky's 143 wins.

Ole Miss will be making its 19th television appearance of the year Friday when the Rebels meet Iona in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on CBS. In the month of January, Ole Miss appeared before the television cameras five straight games from Jan. 13 through Jan. 31 (Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Arkansas). This season, Ole Miss has a 13-5 record in television games, including all three SEC Tournament games last weekend. The Rebels have appeared on television over 40 times the past four seasons. Last year, Ole Miss had 11 television contests, and posted a 6-5 record in those games.

Ole Miss has hit 210 three-pointers so far this year, which is a school record for most treys for a single season in Rebel basketball history. The previous record for three-pointers made in a season was 204 by the 1997-98 squad. The 1991-92 team hit 199 treys, and the 1999-2000 squad connected on 196 three-pointers.

When the Rebels are hitting from the three-point arc, it's a good chance that they will win the game. This year, Ole Miss has a 13-3 record when they hit seven or more treys in a game. The Rebels are 4-0 when they hit double-digit three-pointers.

Senior Rahim Lockhart is picking up where he left off last year?doubling his pleasure. Lockhart came into the 2000-01 season with 14 career double-doubles, and he recorded his 23rd double-double performance versus Tennessee Mar. 9 (17 points-11 rebounds).

Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes was selected as one of 20 finalists for the Naismith National Coach of the Year Award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Feb. 22. Barnes is one of three SEC coaches up for the honor, as Florida's Billy Donovan and Alabama's Mark Gottfried also made the list. Other finalists are: Syracuse's Jim Boeheim, Notre Dame's Mike Brey, North Carolina's Matt Doherty, Georgia State's Lefty Driesell, Georgetown's Craig Esherick, Iowa State's Larry Eustashy, Virginia's Pete Gillen, Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt, Michigan State's Tom Izzo, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, St. Joseph's Phil Martelli, Stanford's Mike Montgomery, Arizona's Lute Olson, Oklahoma's Kelvin Sampson, Illinois' Bill Self, Boston College's Al Skinner, and Kansas' Roy Williams.

Ole Miss is one of three basketball programs in the country which went >from ?worst to first? in 2000-01. The Rebels tied for fifth place in the SEC Western Division (No. 6 seed in SEC tourney) in the 1999-2000 season with a 5-11 league mark, but bounced back in 2000-01 to claim the SEC West title with an 11-5 mark.
Boston College and Central Michigan are the other two basketball programs to do the same. Boston College was coming off three straight last-place finishes in the Big East, but won the league's title in 2001. Central Michigan had 12 consecutive non-winning league seasons in the Mid-American Conference, but won their conference crown this season.

No, Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes did reach his 60th birthday (not even close for the 35-year-old, by the way). Barnes posted his 60th victory as head coach at Ole Miss with the Rebels' 67-61 win over South Carolina Feb. 17. He has a current record of 64-34, and reached the 60-win plateau the fastest of any coach in Rebel basketball history.

With his 15-point performance in the Rebels' victory over Mississippi State Feb. 14, senior Rahim Lockhart became the latest member to join the Ole Miss 1,000-point club. The 6-foot-8 forward now has 1,113 points after scoring 35 points in three SEC Tournament games, and is No. 21 on the Rebel career scoring chart.

Well, for the Rebels, it seems as if that number is 70. Since the 1996-97 season and including this campaign, Ole Miss has an incredible 86-10 record (.895 winning percentage) when it scores 70 points or more. On the other hand, the Rebels are 19-39 when they net less than 70 points during that five-year period (including 2000-01). This season, Ole Miss has a 15-1 record when scoring 70 points or more, with the lone setback a 78-77 overtime loss at LSU Feb. 28.

As discussed in the previous note, the Rebels have been nearly unbeatable when they score 70 points or more. However, the 2000-01 Rebels are proving they can win games when they don't reach that magical number of 70. Ole Miss is 10-6 this year when scoring less than 70 points.

With his 12-rebound performance versus Arkansas-Pine Bluff Nov. 18, senior Rahim Lockhart became the 15th player in Rebel basketball history to grab 500 boards in a career. He now has 762 career rebounds, after grabbing 24 boards in the SEC Tournament Mar. 9-11. Lockhart is in the No. 5 spot on the Ole Miss career rebounding list. Lockhart entered the 1999-2000 season with 278 boards, and with his 220 rebounds in 1999-2000, he had 498 rebounds coming into the 2000-01 campaign.

Freshman Justin Reed tied his career high in scoring with 21 points in the Rebels' victory over Auburn Feb. 24. He also tied his career high of nine field goals versus the Tigers, hitting 9-of-14 from the field (64.3 percent). Earlier this season, the 6-foot-8 forward had 21 points and nine field goals against Georgia (Jan. 13).

They say the big players step up in ?primetime.? Well, there's nothing more ?primetime? than SEC play, and freshman Justin Reed made his presence known in the league. In 16 SEC games, Reed netted double figures in 12 contests, including a career-high 21 points versus Georgia Jan. 13 and Auburn Feb. 24. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 12.6 points (led team) and 6.0 boards (second on team) in SEC games only this year.

Ole Miss has a reputation for playing tough, ?in-your-face? defense. Lately, the Rebels have not only been in their opponents' faces but also their passing lanes. In Ole Miss' last 12 SEC regular season games (9-3 record), the Rebels have forced their opponents into 226 turnovers (18.8 per game). In its first four conference games, Ole Miss forced only 54 turnovers (13.5 per contest).

The old saying is that defense wins championships. If that is the case, Ole Miss may be in contention for a title in 2000-01, especially if the Rebels can continue to hassle the opposition with their defensive pressure. Ole Miss is holding its opponents to an average of 64.7 points per game, which leads the SEC.

When Rob Evans took over the Rebel program in the 1992-93 season, he said his squads were going to play defense?and they did. That emphasis on defense has continued under Rod Barnes. This season, Ole Miss has held 10 opponents under 60 points, including four SEC teams. The Rebels held Arkansas (53-48 Ole Miss win) Jan. 10, Kentucky (65-55 Ole Miss win) Jan. 20, LSU (50-33 Ole Miss win) Feb. 7 and Mississippi State (51-48 Ole Miss win) Feb. 14 to under 60 points. Last year, Ole Miss held nine opponents to under 60 points, but only one league team.
Since the 1992-93 season, the campaigns in which the Rebels held the most opponents under 60 points were 1996-97 and 2000-01. The 1996-97 year saw Ole Miss hold 10 opponents to under 60 points, including five SEC squads. The 1996-97 season was the Rebels' first SEC Western Division title.

The Rebels haven't had a reputation for hitting a high percentage >from the charity stripe the last couple of seasons, especially down the stretch in games. However, that may be changing in 2000-01. Ole Miss is hitting 65.4 percent from the foul line for the season (11th in the SEC), but more importantly, the Rebels are hitting their foul shots when they count, despite their 2-of-8 showing versus Auburn Feb. 24. In their wins over Sam Houston State, VCU, Oklahoma, Memphis, Southern Illinois, Southern Cal, Vanderbilt, Arkansas (both games), Kentucky, Auburn (both games), Tennessee (both games), Mississippi State (second game), South Carolina and Florida (SEC Tournament), the Rebels shot 72.2 percent from the line (130-of-180) in the final four minutes (and overtime) of those games.

With his two three-pointers in Ole Miss' win over Alabama Mar. 3, freshman Aaron Harper (Jackson, Miss.) pushed his way onto the Rebel single-season chart for treys. The 6-foot-7 guard has 60 three-pointers, which ties him for the No. 4 spot on the single-season chart. The record is 78 treys by Joe Harvell in 1992.

The 2000-01 Rebels posted their 20th victory with a 51-48 win over Mississippi State Feb. 14, marking the fastest any team in Ole Miss basketball history has reached the 20-win plateau in a season. The 2000-01 team recorded its 20th win in only 24 games. The previous quickest climb to 20 victories was by the 1936-37 and 1997-98 squads. Both teams reached 20 wins in their 25th games.

The Rebels won their 20th game of the season with a 51-48 victory over Mississippi State Feb. 14. Ole Miss now has a 25-7 record. It is the fourth time in the last five seasons that Ole Miss has won 20 or more games. The 1996-97 (20-9 record), 1997-98 (22-7) and 1998-99 (20-13) also posted 20-win campaigns.
In its history, Ole Miss has had six 20-win teams. They were 1936-37 (20-6), 1937-38 (22-12), 1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99 and 2000-01.

Ole Miss was the first team in the SEC to reach the 20-win plateau in the 2000-01 season. The Rebels are 25-7.
This is the third time in the program's history that Ole Miss was the first SEC squad to reach 20 wins. The 1936-37 (20-6 record) and 1937-38 (22-12 record) teams also were first among SEC schools to reach the magic number of 20 wins in a season. In fact, the 1936-37 and 1937-38 Ole Miss teams were the only 20-win squads in the SEC those two seasons.

The 2000-01 senior class set the record for most wins in a four-year span earlier this year, breaking the previous record of 74 victories. Now, the senior class has accomplished another first in Rebel history. With Ole Miss' victory over Tennessee Feb. 10, this class posted its 80th victory and is the first three or four-year senior class to average 20 victories per season.

Freshman Justin Reed doubled his pleasure for a third time this season versus South Carolina Feb. 17. The 6-foot-8 forward scored 18 points and had 11 boards in the 67-61 victory over the Gamecocks. Reed's first double-double in SEC play came against Georgia Jan. 13, when he scored a career-high tying 21 points and grabbed 12 boards in the 70-66 setback to the Bulldogs. His first collegiate double-double was a 16-point, 13-rebound performance in the Rebels' 88-84 overtime victory over VCU Nov. 25. Reed also hit a career-high tying nine field goals versus Georgia.

Senior Rahim Lockhart recorded a career-best five blocked shots versus Memphis Dec. 9. After his one block versus Florida Mar. 10, he now has 127 for his career and is in second place on the Ole Miss career blocked shots chart. The 6-foot-8 forward entered the 2000-01 season with 83 career blocks. Lockhart led the Rebels in blocked shots the previous two seasons with 44 and 46 blocks, respectively.



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      With the 2017 Ole Miss Baseball season beginning tomorrow at Swayze Field (4 p.m. CT vs. No. 6 East Carolina), check out the always much-anticipated walk out music list. Which song is your favorite? Let us know on Twitter by... read more

    • Four Rebels Invited to the NFL Combine

      Monday, February 13, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Four Rebels will head to Indianapolis to take part in the NFL Combine in hopes of bolstering their draft... read more

    • What They're Saying: Men's Golf Sophomore Braden Thornberry

      Monday, February 13, 2017 - Men's Golf

      The breakout college golfer of the fall is trying to prove it wasn't a fluke. (@OleMissMGolf) Ryan Herrington (@GWcampusinsider) February 6, 2017 .@tberrygolf enters the mix for this September at LACC.#WalkerCup Watch List: Golfweek (@golfweek) February... read more

    • Rebels Focus on Defense on Signing Day

      Wednesday, February 1, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Ole Miss' defense needed a shot in the arm after a 2016 season to forget. It began by retooling... read more

    • Engram Named a Top Performer by NFL Network's Mike Mayock

      Monday, January 30, 2017 - Football

      The Senior Bowl always offers players a chance to improve their draft stock by performing well against some of the best players in the nation. Evan Engram took advantage of that opportunity. NFL Network's draft expert Mike Mayock named Engram... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Texas A&M

      Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - Men's Basketball

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Know the Opponent: Texas A&M (10-8, 2-5) KenPom ranking: 64 Best win: vs. No. 50 Virginia Tech Worst loss:... read more

    • Rebels Impressing at East-West Shrine Game

      Thursday, January 19, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} p.p3 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Arial; color: #222221; -webkit-text-stroke: #222221} span.s1 {font: 14.0px Helvetica; color: #000000;... read more

    • Former Rebel Coach Ron Aldy Honored at Kirk Academy

      Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - Women's Basketball

      Former Women's Basketball Head Coach Ron Aldy and his family at gym floor dedication at Kirk Academy today. Holmes Athletics (@holmesathletics) January 14, 2017 p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px... read more

    • Tunsil Named AFC East Rookie of the Year by ESPN

      Monday, January 16, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Miami Dolphins offensive lineman and Ole Miss' former blind side protector Laremy Tunsil was named AFC East rookie of... read more

    • Three Rebel Coaches Among Top-20 Recruiters Nationally

      Friday, January 13, 2017 - Football

      With the hiring of Jacob Peeler as wide receiver coach, #OleMiss now has three asst coaches ranked in @247Sports '16 Top 20 best recruiters.-- Brad Logan (@BradLoganCOTE) January 10, 2017 Ole Miss football bolstered its coaching staff by adding coaching... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Georgia

      Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - Men's Basketball

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Georgia (10-5, 2-1) KenPom ranking: 61 Best win: at No. 103 Auburn Worst loss: at No. 79 Oakland Ole... read more

    • Know the Opponent: Auburn

      Saturday, January 7, 2017 -

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} Know the Opponent: Auburn (10-4) KenPom ranking: 105 Best win: No. 28 Texas Tech Worst loss: No. 172 Boston... read more

    • Longo Named FCS Coordinator of the Year

      Wednesday, January 4, 2017 - Football

      p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; min-height: 17.0px} p.p3 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; color: #333333; -webkit-text-stroke: #333333; background-color: #ffffff; min-height: 17.0px} p.p4 {margin:... read more




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