GAME NOTES: Rebels Host Troy In NIT First Round
NIT FIRST ROUND: #2 seed Ole Miss (21-10) vs. #7 seed Troy (20-12)
REBELS MAKE 15TH POSTSEASON APPEARANCE
The SEC Western Division Champion Ole Miss Rebels are making the program's 15th posteason appearance, as Andy Kennedy's squad hosts Troy as a No. 2 seed in the NIT. Kennedy has led the Rebels to NIT berths in three of his four seasons at the helm. Ole Miss is making its ninth appearance in the NIT and first since 2008, when the Rebels made a run all the way to the Final Four held at New York City's Madison Square Garden. A victory would advance the Rebels to a second-round meeting with the winner between No. 3 seed Memphis and No. 6 St. John's, which would take place in Oxford on either March 19, 20 or 22.
TICKETS ON SALE
NIT game tickets are currently on sale - $10 for adults and $4 for students. For tickets, call the Ole Miss Ticket Office at 662-915-7167 or click here for the ticket office web page. There will be general parking with no charge.
- Ole Miss has four wins in its last five outings.
- The Rebels are 10-8 all-time in eight previous NIT appearances, including an 8-1 record in NIT home games.
- Ole Miss owns a 6-0 all-time record against Troy and a 56-22 mark against current Sun Belt teams.
- Andy Kennedy is the second head coach in school history to guide the team to at least three postseason berths in his first four seasons.
- Kennedy has led Ole Miss to 20+ wins for the third time in his first four seasons. He is the second Rebel coach ever to reach the 20-win mark three times.
- The Rebels have already broken the school record for blocked shots in a season and are closing in on the season 3-point record.
- Junior All-SEC guard Chris Warren has hit a 3-pointer in 41 consecutive games, tied with former Rebel Aaron Harper for the school record and the fifth-longest streak in SEC history.
SCOUTING THE TROJANS
Troy earned an automatic bid to the NIT by winning its first-ever Sun Belt Conference regular-season title with a 13-5 record in league play along with a 20-12 overall mark. Head coach Don Maestri, in his 28th year at the school, has led the Trojans to one NCAA Tournament (2003) and two NIT berths (2004, 2010) since moving to Division I in 1993-94. Troy had its seven-game win streak snapped in the Sun Belt Tournament championship game. The team averages 75.1 ppg to opponents' 71.7 ppg. Five senior starters lead the way for the Trojans, who are paced by Brandon Hazzard's 16.6 scoring average. Mississippi State transfer Richard Delk adds 12.2 ppg, Michael Vogler 11.9 ppg and 5.6 apg (22nd in nation) and Alabama transfer Yamene Coleman 10.2 ppg and a team-best 7.8 rpg.
OLE MISS-TROY SERIES
The Rebels and Trojans have met six times previously, with Ole Miss winning each contest in Oxford. The Rebels most recently defeated Troy 102-76 Nov. 27, 2007, behind a game-high 23 points and five 3s from Chris Warren. Ole Miss has out-scored Troy by an average margin of 20.8 in the all-time series. The other wins came in 2004, 2000, 1981, 1959 and 1958.
OLE MISS IN THE NIT
The Rebels are making their ninth overall NIT appearance and third in the last four seasons. Ole Miss has a 10-8 record in all NIT games. In their last NIT berth in 2008, the Rebels advanced to the semifinals in New York City for the first time in school history. The Rebels have an 8-1 record in NIT home games and have won seven straight contests in Oxford dating back to the 1983 NIT. The lone loss in an NIT home game was a 61-59 defeat to Virginia Tech in the 1982 second round. Ole Miss is 4-2 in NIT games under head coach Andy Kennedy. They went 3-1 in 2008 and 1-1 in 2007.
A victory Wednesday would advance the Rebels to a second-round meeting with the winner between No. 3 seed Memphis and No. 6 St. John's, which would take place in Oxford on either March 19, 20 or 22. The quarterfinals are scheduled for March 23 or 24. The host school for each round is based on the higher seed. The NIT Final Four is March 30 and April 1 at New York's Madison Square Garden.
OLE MISS VERSUS SUN BELT FOES
Ole Miss owns a 56-22 all-time record against current members of the Sun Belt Conference. Troy is the third Sun Belt foe for the Rebels this season. Ole Miss defeated UALR 92-64 in the season opener and won at Arkansas State 79-57 on Dec. 2.
THREE POSTSEASON BERTHS IN FOUR YEARS
Ole Miss is making its third NIT appearance in the last four seasons (2007, 2008, 2010). Andy Kennedy is the second head coach in school history to guide the Rebels to at least three postseason berths in his first four seasons.
KENNEDY LEADS OLE MISS TO 20 WINS, AGAIN
Andy Kennedy has led the Rebels to a 21-10 record, becoming just the second coach in school history with three 20-win campaigns (Rod Barnes), doing so in his first four seasons at the helm. He is the ninth coach in SEC history to record 20+ wins in three of his first four campaigns. The Rebels claimed 21 wins in his first year and 24 in the next before last year's injury-riddled 16-15 campaign. Kennedy now boasts three of the 10 20-win seasons in program history. A victory over Troy would give Ole Miss 22 wins for just the fifth time in program history.
Ole Miss boasts a 50-12 record (.806 win pct.) against teams outside the SEC since Andy Kennedy took over in 2006-07, which includes a 34-1 record in games played in Oxford. This year's team is 12-2 overall against non-league foes after the squad went 9-5 a season ago. The 2007-08 Rebels finished the regular season with a perfect 14-0 record against non-league foes, becoming the second Rebel squad to accomplish that feat (1948-49).
DEFENDING HOME COURT
Winning at home has been a trademark of Andy Kennedy's squads since he took the reins in 2006-07. Ole Miss is 56-11 (.836 win pct.) in games played at Tad Smith Coliseum during Kennedy's tenure, including a 12-4 mark this year.
Ole Miss has won 187 of its last 230 games (.813 win pct.) in Oxford dating back to the 1995-96 campaign. The Rebels have an all-time record of 420-190 (.689 win pct.) at Tad Smith Coliseum, which opened in 1965-66.
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