Ole Miss Basketball Game Notes
March 19, 2001
Game #35 * CBS-TV
Rebels on Television and Radio
Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play, Sean Tuohy, color analyst, Stan Sandroni, pregame/halftime/postgame host)
Ole Miss Probable Starters (Based on previous game's starters)
No. Player (Yr.) Pos. Ht. Wt. PPG/RPG Hometown Notes 15 David Sanders (So.) G 6-3 180 6.8/2.7 Jackson, Miss. Had key blocked shot vs. ND with :07 left to preserve win 20 Jason Holmes (Sr.) G 6-5 205 6.4/2.6 Tylertown, Miss. Helped seal wins last weekend with stl vs. Iona, reb. vs. ND 22 Jason Flanigan (Sr.) G 6-1 180 6.6/2.9 Little Rock, Ark. Hit FT with :02 on clock vs. ND to clinch win 23 Justin Reed (Fr.) F 6-8 222 10.9/5.8 Jackson, Miss. SEC Freshman of the Yr, named to SEC All-Tourney Team 44 Rahim Lockhart (Sr.) F 6-8 255 13.1/8.1 Mendenhall, Miss. All-SEC 1st Teamer had 24 pts, 7 rebs, 3 blks vs. ND
OLE MISS ADVANCES TO FIRST-EVER NCAA SWEET 16 VS. ARIZONA FRIDAY:The Ole Miss Rebels (27-7, 11-5 SEC) advanced to their first-ever NCAA Tournament "Sweet 16" appearance and will face Arizona (25-7, 15-3 Pac-10) in the Midwest Regional semifinals Friday, Mar. 23. The game, which will be played in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, is scheduled 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, is the Midwest Region's No. 3 seed and advanced to the regional semifinals with nail-biting victories over Iona (72-70) in the first round and Notre Dame (59-56) in the second round. The Wildcats, ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press poll and No. 4 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, advanced to the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals with wins over Eastern Illinois (101-76) in the first round and Butler (73-52) in the second round.
BARNES IN THIRD SEASON AS REBEL MENTOR: Rod Barnes is in his third season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. He has an overall record of 66-34 (.660 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).
OLE MISS-ARIZONA SERIES: Friday's meeting will be the second meeting between the two schools on the hardwood. The Rebels and Wildcats last met in 1952-53 season in the Memphis Invitational. Ole Miss won that game, a 75-70 Rebel victory on Jan. 2, 1953. Ole Miss went on to defeat Auburn, 65-55 in the finals to claim the Memphis Invitational title.
SCOUTING ARIZONA: The Wildcats, the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region, enter Friday's game with a 25-7 overall record. Arizona, ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press poll and No. 4 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, also bring an eight-game winning streak into Friday's regional semifinals. The Wildcats' last loss was a 79-77 overtime setback at UCLA on Feb. 15. Of its seven losses, six of Arizona's defeats were by single digits.
All five Wildcat starters--all of whom were preseason Wooden Award candidates--average in double figures, led by Gilbert Arenas' 16.6 points per game. Michael Wright (16.4 ppg), Loren Woods (12.7 ppg), Richard Jefferson (10.8 ppg) and Jason Gardner (10.5 ppg) also average double digits in the scoring column. Wright is the team's top rebounder with an 8.1 average, while Woods leads the squad with 67 blocked shots and an 81.1 percentage from the charity stripe. Gardner is tops on the team with 138 assists and 53 steals.
The Wildcats are shooting 48 percent from the field, 36.2 percent from the three-point arc and 74.6 percent from the foul line. Arizona out-rebounds its opponents by an average of 7.1 boards per game (39.8-32.7).
Arizona head coach Lute Olson has a 444-132 record in 18 seasons at Arizona. His overall coaching record is 636-224 in 28 seasons on the bench.
BARNES REACHES ANOTHER MILESTONE: Ole Miss head coach reached another coaching milestone in the Rebels' 59-56 victory over Notre Dame in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional in Kansas City, Mo. The third-year Rebel mentor coached his 100th game at Ole Miss Mar. 18. His coaching mark at Ole Miss now stands at 66-34.
WE MEET SO SOON AGAIN: No, not on the basketball court. The two schools haven't played basketball since 1953. However, Ole Miss and Arizona did meet earlier this month on the baseball diamond.
The Wildcats came to Oxford, Miss., Mar. 2-4 to compete in the Ole Miss Invitational. The Rebels defeated Arizona, 5-4 in 17 innings. The contest, which is the longest in Ole Miss baseball history, was played over two days (Mar. 3-4) due to inclement weather. The Rebels won the tournament with a 3-0 record, while Arizona was 1-2. Southern Miss and St. Francis also participated in the tournament.
A "SWEET" FIRST: The past five seasons, the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program has accomplished many "firsts" or "since thens." Well, the 2000-01 Rebel squad added another Mar. 18 when Ole Miss advanced to its first-ever NCAA Tournament "Sweet 16" with a 59-56 win over Notre Dame. It was also the first time the Rebels have won back-to-back contests in NCAA Tournament play.
OLE MISS MAKES FIFTH NCAA TOURNAMENT APPEARANCE: 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 3-4 (see Rebels' all-time postseason results on page 10).
Last weekend, Ole Miss defeated Iona and Notre Dame in the Midwest Region first and second rounds to advance to the "Sweet 16".
In the Rebels' 1999 trip to the NCAAs, Ole Miss defeated Villanova, 72-70 in the first round and fell to Michigan State, 74-66 in the second round. The following shows the Rebels' NCAA Tournament results:
Year Opponent Region Result 2001 Notre Dame Midwest 59-56 W Iona Midwest 72-70 W 1999 Mich. St. Midwest 66-74 L Villanova Midwest 72-70 W 1998 Valparaiso Midwest 69-70 L 1997 Temple Midwest 40-62 L 1981 Kansas Midwest 66-69 L2000-01 REBELS RECEIVE PROGRAM'S HIGHEST SEED: 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. 2 seed Arizona in the regional semifinals Mar. 23. The following chart lists the seeds the Rebels have had in their NCAA Tournament appearances:
Year Seed Region 2001 No. 3 Midwest 1999 No. 9 Midwest 1998 No. 4 Midwest 1997 No. 8 Midwest 1981 No. 10 MidwestREBELS THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK: When looking at the final four in the Midwest Regional, Arizona, Illinois and Kansas are familiar names in the bracket. However, Ole Miss is a new name to the "Sweet 16."
The Rebels are making their first-ever appearance in the "Sweet 16" in the program's fifth trip to the NCAA Tournament. The following shows just how new Ole Miss is to the "Sweet 16" and beyond compared to the other three Midwest Regional semifinalists:
Team # of Tour. S16 F4 CH Arizona 20 9 3 1 Illinois 21 9 4 0 Kansas 30 20 10 2 Ole Miss 5 1 0 0 S16--Sweet 16, F4--Final Four, CH--NCAA titles NOTE: stats include 2001 NCAA TournamentAND THE WINNER GETS...: The winner of the Ole Miss-Arizona contest will meet the winner of the Illinois-Kansas game in the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional championship on Sunday, Mar. 25. If the Rebels advance to the regional title contest, they would meet a team they have never defeated. Ole Miss is 0-2 versus Illinois and 0-1 versus Kansas.
OLE MISS VERSUS THE PAC-10: The Rebels have an all-time record of 4-0 versus current members of the Pacific-10 Conference. Ole Miss is 1-0 versus Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State and Southern Cal-with all four victories coming in regular-season tournament play.
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 Pac-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.
IT'S SEC VS. PAC-10 WEEKEND: In the NCAA Tournament regional semifinal round, it will be a battle for supremacy between the Southeastern and Pacific-10 Conferences. Kentucky will meet Southern Cal in the NCAA East Regional semis Thursday, Mar. 22 in Philadelphia, Pa., while Ole Miss will take on Arizona in the Midwest Regional semis Friday, Mar. 23 in San Antonio, Texas.
The SEC had a 5-5 record versus teams from the Pac-10 this year. Ole Miss won its only contest versus a Pac-10 team with an 84-83 overtime victory over Southern Cal Dec. 22. Kentucky dropped its lone contest against a Pac-10 squad, a 97-92 overtime setback to UCLA in the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic in November.
ARIZONA VS. SEC IN NCAA PLAY: The Wildcats have a 1-4 record against teams from the Southeastern Conference in NCAA Tournament play. Arizona's lone victory versus an SEC squad in the NCAAs came in the 1997 title game, an 84-79 overtime win over Kentucky. The Wildcats have also played Alabama (0-2), Arkansas (0-1) and Auburn (0-1) in their 20 NCAA Tournament appearances.
OLE MISS LEADS SEC-WIN PARADE: With their win over Notre Dame Mar. 18, the Rebels recorded their 27th victory (27-7 record) of the season, which leads all SEC teams. Kentucky is second with 24 wins (24-9 record). Florida (24-7), Alabama (22-10) and Arkansas (20-10) are the league's other 20-win teams. If Ole Miss finishes the year with the most overall wins among SEC teans, it would be the first season the Rebels would do so since 1937-38 (22-12 record).
COMMON OPPONENTS: The Rebels and the Wildcats have played three common opponents this season. Ole Miss has a 3-2 record versus those common opponents, while Arizona is 3-1. The following shows the results of those common opponents:
Ole Miss Opponent Arizona 50-33, W (H) LSU 88-75, W (H) 77-78, L (A) ot 69-79, L (A) Miss. St. 74-75, L (H) 51-48, W (H) 84-83, W (N) ot So. Cal 71-58, W (H) 105-61, W (A)REBELS IN GOOD COMPANY: 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.
OLE MISS VERSUS NCAA FIELD: The Rebels posted a 10-4 record this season versus teams in this year's NCAA Tournament, including their two wins over Iona and Notre Dame in the 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), Florida (1-1), Iona (1-0) and Notre Dame (1-0).
GO (MID)WEST, REBELS...AGAIN: 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 began NCAA Tournament play on a Friday (Mar. 16) 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.
THE LAST TIME THAT...: The Rebel defense put the clamps on Notre Dame in Ole Miss' 59-56 win in the NCAA Midwest Region second round Mar. 18. Ole Miss held the Irish to 29 percent shooting from the field, including 21.2 percent (7-of-33) in the second half.
The last time the Rebels held an opponent to a lower percentage from the floor was LSU on Feb. 7, 2001. Ole Miss held the Tigers to 27.9 percent (12-of-43) from the field in a 50-33 victory.
CLOSE CALLS GOING REBELS' WAY: What a difference a year makes. With their 59-56 win over Notre Dame in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Mar. 18, the Rebels now have a 14-3 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.
NEXT GAME BREAKS THE RECORD: When the Rebels take the floor Friday versus Arizona, they will set a new school record for most games played in a single season with 35. The 2000-01 Rebel squad is currently tied with the 1937-38 team (22-12 record), as both played 34 games.
As for individual players, Rahim Lockhart (Mendenhall, Miss.), Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.), Aaron Harper (Jackson, Miss.), Jason Harrison (Little Rock, Ark.), David Sanders (Jackson, Miss.), Jason Flanigan (Little Rock, Ark.) and Emmanuel Wade (Marianna, Ark.) all set a new school record for games played in a season with 34. All played in their record-setting 34th game Mar. 18 versus Notre Dame.
HITTING THE KEY THREE: The Rebels may not have hit a lot of three-pointers or even a high percentage from the arc in their first two NCAA Tournament games. However, Ole Miss seemed to hit a three-pointer at key times in its wins over Iona and Notre Dame last weekend. The following lists those key treys:
Iona Game Time/Half Scenario 1:56/2nd OM down 70-67 when Wade hit a trey to tie game, Rebels win, 72-70 9:09/2nd OM down 55-52 when Wade hit a trey to tie game 2:27/1st OM down 33-30 when Harper tied game with trey, ended a 5-0 OM run 14:20/1st OM down 12-8 when Wade hit a trey to pull OM to 12-11, trey ended 7-0 OM run
HARRISON'S A "BIG"-TIME PLAYER: It's ironic that the shortest player on the floor comes up "big" in crucial times for the Rebels, but that is the case when junior Jason Harrison is on the floor late in games. His latest heroics came in Ole Miss' NCAA Tournament second-round win over Notre Dame Mar. 18. With the shot clock running down and the game clock under a minute, Harrison stepped up and hit what may be the biggest shot of his career to date. His three-pointer at the 48-second mark put the Rebels ahead for good at 57-55 and propelled them to the win.
However, it is not the first time this year that he has come up "big" for the Rebels. In Ole Miss' Feb. 14 win over Mississippi State, the 5-foot-5 guard hit a key trey to put the Rebels ahead 47-46 with 2:12 left in the game. He then hit a layup with 1:09 remaining to give Ole Miss the lead for good at 49-47.
Three days later (Feb. 17) at South Carolina, Harrison did it again. The Rebels were down 46-34, but came back to tie the game at 53-all with 8:56 to play. Harrison then stepped up, hitting a crucial trey to give Ole Miss its first lead of the second half at 56-53 at the 8:22 mark.
In the Rebels' loss at Florida Feb. 21, Harrison scored a team-high 20 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field, 4-of-5 from the arc and 6-of-6 from the free throw line. He also had four rebounds, four assists and five steals versus the Gators.
LOCKHART HAS SEASON-HIGH SCORING GAME: Senior Rahim Lockhart was challenged to put the Rebel squad on his back in Ole Miss' game versus Notre Dame Mar. 18, and the 6-foot-8 forward responded. He netted a season-best 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field and 4-of-6 from the free throw line. Lockhart also had seven boards and three blocks in the Rebels' 59-56 victory.
SANDERS RECORDS CAREER BEST ON THE BOARDS: Sophomore David Sanders had a career-rebounding performance in the Rebels' 59-56 victory over Notre Dame Mar. 18. The 6-foot-3 guard grabbed a career-high seven boards versus the Irish, breaking his previous best of six rebounds. This season, Sanders is averaging 2.7 boards from his guard spot.
Sanders, though, will probably be best remembered for blocking Matt Carroll's three-point attempt with :07 on the clock to preserve the Ole Miss victory over Notre Dame.
MANNY'S "DA MAN": Sophomore Emmanuel Wade had a career game for the Rebels in their first-round win over Iona, and it couldn't have come at a better time for Ole Miss. The 6-foot-3 guard netted a career-high tying 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field, 3-of-3 from the three-point line and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. He also had four boards, one assist, two blocks and one steal in the Rebels' 72-70 victory.
Wade hit the most crucial shot for the Rebels. With Ole Miss trailing 70-67 with just over two minutes to play, Wade received a pass from Jason Harrison and buried a three-pointer to tie the game at 70-all with 1:56 to play.
Wade also came up big on the defensive end, blocking two Iona shots in the final minutes to help preserve the Ole Miss victory.
In Ole Miss' 59-56 victory over Notre Dame two days later, Wade proved he could step up again. He nailed a three-pointer at the 4:04 mark to give the Rebels a 54-51 lead, and then hit a free throw with :22 remaining to extend Ole Miss' lead to 58-55.
VERSUS THE RANKED OPPONENTS: The Rebels are 7-3 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.
Ole Miss defeated No. 19-ranked Notre Dame, 59-56 in the NCAA Tournament Midwest Region second round Mar. 18.
REBELS ON TELEVISION: Ole Miss will be making its 21st television appearance of the year Friday, Mar. 23 when the Rebels meet Arizona in the Midwest Region semifinals 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 15-5 record in television games, including the Rebels' 59-56 NCAA Tournament second-round win over Notre Dame Mar. 18. 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.
THE MAGIC NUMBER IS...: 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 87-10 record (.897 winning percentage) when it scores 70 points or more. On the other hand, the Rebels are 20-39 when they net less than 70 points during that five-year period (including 2000-01). This season, Ole Miss has a 16-1 record when scoring 70 points or more, with the lone setback a 78-77 overtime loss at LSU Feb. 28.
...BUT SCORING 70 ISN'T NECESSARY IN 2000-01: 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 11-6 this year when scoring less than 70 points.
HARPER ON THE CHARTS: With his two three-pointers in Ole Miss' win over Alabama Mar. 3, freshman Aaron Harper pushed his way onto the Rebel single-season chart for treys. The 6-foot-7 guard now has 62 three-pointers, after hitting two treys in the Rebels' win over Iona Friday. The 62 three-pointers are the fourth most by an Ole Miss player in a single season. The record is 78 treys by Joe Harvell in 1992.
REED RECORDS CAREER HIGH: Freshman Justin Reed posted a career-high four blocked shots in the Rebels' NCAA Tournament first-round victory over Iona Friday. His previous career best was three blocks in Ole Miss' victory over Sam Houston State No. 23, 2000. Three of Reed's four blocked shots came in a 47-second span late in the second half to help keep Ole Miss in the lead. For the season, the 6-foot-8 forward has 24 blocks (second on the team).
GIVE HOLMES THE MVGP AWARD: All the good teams have "glue" players--those that do anything to help the squad. A basket here, an assist there, a steal here, or a floor burn there is what a "glue" player gives the team. For Ole Miss this season, that player has been senior Jason Holmes (Tylertown, Miss.). So, give Holmes the Most Valuable "Glue" Player (MVGP) Award.
Holmes came to Ole Miss with the reputation of being only a three-point threat, but his first season (1999-2000) did not turn out as planned for the 6-foot-5 guard. Holmes, however, has bounced back in a big way in 2000-01, giving the Rebels more than just a key trey now and then.
He is averaging 2.6 rebounds and has nearly doubled his rebound output of a year ago (87 boards in 2000-01, 44 in 1999-2000). Holmes also has 61 assists, nine blocks and 33 steals.
Holmes proved to be that "glue" player for Ole Miss in the two NCAA Tournament wins. He came up with a steal with :02 left in the Iona game and then hit one free throw to help seal the victory over the Gaels. Two days later, he picked up the loose ball after David Sanders blocked Matt Carroll's three-point attempt and threw it up-court to Jason Flanigan to help preserve Ole Miss' victory over Notre Dame.
HARRISON GOES OVER 100 FOR SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR: With his two assists in Ole Miss' victory over Notre Dame Mar. 18, Jason Harrison went over the 100-assist plateau for the second straight season. The 5-foot-5 guard now has 101 assists, and is the first Rebel player to post consecutive seasons of 100 or more assists since his head coach, Rod Barnes, did so in his playing days at Ole Miss. Harrison had 115 assists in 1999-2000.
Barnes was the last Rebel player to accomplish the feat, dishing out 175 assists in 1986-87 and 112 in 1987-88. Harrison has 302 assists for his career.
20TH ANNIVERSARY OF OLE MISS' SEC TOURNAMENT TITLE TEAM, FIRST NCAA TOURNAMENT SQUAD: 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.
A "FIRST" FOR THE SEC: 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.
BARNES PICKS UP FIRST AWARD...: 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 CollegeInsider.com, a college basketball internet magazine. Kentucky's Tayshaun Prince was named the league's Player of the Year by the internet site.
...AND ANOTHER...: 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 CollegeInsider.com, 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.
OLE MISS WINS SEC WESTERN DIVISION OUTRIGHT: 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.
REBELS SECOND ON WEST TITLES LIST: 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. The following chart shows the SEC Western Division champions (outright and shared titles):
Team No. of Titles Years Arkansas 4 1992-93-94-95 Ole Miss 3 1997-98-2001 Miss. State 2 1995-96 Auburn 1 1999 LSU 1 2000FIRST TIME SINCE...: 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 be 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.
FIRST TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY: The Rebels have been making a lot of history in recent years, and freshman Justin Reed 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.
BRACKEEN HONORED AS SEC LIVING LEGEND AT TOURNAMENT: 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 DRIVE FOR FIVE" COMPLETE: 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.
REBELS CELEBRATE "SENIOR DAY": 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, Rahim Lockhart, John Engstrom (Paragould, Ark.) and Jason Holmes. 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).
LOCKHART IN ANOTHER ELITE GROUP: 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.
AT THE HEAD OF THE CLASS(ES): 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 Notre Dame, the 2000-01 senior class has 88 wins, the most victories by a class in a four-year span. The 88 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). The following chart lists the most successful classes in Ole Miss history:
Four-Year Span No. of Wins 1997-98 to present 88 1995-96 to 1998-99 74 1979-80 to 1982-83 70 1935-36 to 1938-39 63 1994-95 to 1997-98 62 1978-79 to 1981-82 62 1923-24 to 1926-27 62 1980-81 to 1983-84 61 1936-37 to 1939-40 61 1934-35 to 1937-38 61"BUCK" HAS THE RECORD: When senior Jason "Buck" Flanigan took the floor in the Rebels' SEC Tournament second-round game versus Tennessee, he set a new 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 126 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.
HOLMES HAS CAREER WEEK: 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).
"BUCK" IS BACK...AGAIN: 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.
2000-01 REBELS AT TOP OF THE CHARTS: 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 Notre Dame Mar. 18, Ole Miss has a current record of 27-7, and the 27 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 following chart shows the best seasons in Rebel history (in terms of number of wins):
Season No. of Wins 2000-01 27% 1997-98 22# 1937-38 22 1998-99 20% 1996-97 20# 1936-37 20 1982-83 19 1981-82 18 # -- Barnes served as assistant coach % -- Barnes served as head coachOLE 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 108 games (overall games) since 1996-97, the most by any team in the SEC Western Division. The 108 victories are also second among all league teams, trailing only Kentucky's 145 wins. The following charts show the Rebels' success:
Most Overall Wins By SEC West Teams (1996-97 to present) Team No. of Wins Ole Miss 108 Arkansas 104 Auburn 103 Alabama 84 Mississippi State 78 LSU 72
BOMBS AWAY...PART I: Ole Miss has hit 219 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.
BOMBS AWAY...PART II: 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.
LOCKHART DOUBLES HIS PLEASURE: 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). The following charts Lockhart's career double-doubles:
BARNES SELECTED A FINALIST FOR NAISMITH COACH OF YEAR AWARD: 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.
A STRONG REBEL TURN-AROUND: 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. Ole Miss is the only "worst to first" team still playing in the postseason (NCAA or NIT). 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.
BARNES REACHES 60: 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.
Earlier this season, Barnes won his 50th game as Ole Miss head coach with the Rebels' 84-83 overtime victory over then No. 13-ranked Southern Cal Dec. 22. The following shows how fast Barnes and other Rebel coaches won their 60th game:
Head Coach Coaching Game for Record at Win No. 60 No. 60 Rod Barnes 60-31 91st R.L. Sullivan 60-33 93rd Bonnie Graham 60-60 120th Ed Murphy 60-65 125th Cob Jarvis 60-68 128th Rob Evans 60-72 132nd Bob Weltlich 60-73 133rd
LOCKHART IN ELITE COMPANY: When senior Rahim Lockhart reached the 1,000-point and 700-rebound milestones, he became only the seventh player in Rebel basketball history to do so. The following lists those players (listed alphabetically by last name) who reached both the 1,000-point and 700-rebound plateaus:
Player/Years Pts Rebs Walter Actwood/1973-77 1,216 945# Coolidge Ball/1972-74 1,072 754 Fred Cox/1972-74 1,105 729 Joe Gibbon/1954-57 1,601 827 Rahim Lockhart/1997-pres. 1,149 773 John Stroud/1976-80 2,328# 826 Elston Turner/1977-81 1,805 828 # -- school recordWELCOME TO THE CLUB: 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 1,149 points after scoring 36 points in two NCAA Tournament games, and is No. 19 on the Rebel career scoring chart. The following is an abbreviated list of the career scoring leaders:
Ole Miss Career Scoring Leaders Player/Years Points 1. John Stroud/1976-80 2,328 2. Joe Harvell/1989-93 2,078 . . . 18. Ken Turner/1967-69 1,159 19. Rahim Lockhart/1997-pres. 1,149 20. Jack Marshall/1946-50 1,137 21. Joe Ayers/1984-87 1,130 22. Fred Cox/1971-74 1,105 23. Coolidge Ball/1971-74 1,072 24. Ron Coleman/1967-70 1,046 25. Denver Brackeen/1953-55 1,040MOVING ON UP THE CHARTS: 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 773 career rebounds, after grabbing 11 boards in the NCAA Tournament Mar. 16-18. 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. The following abbreviated chart shows the top rebounders in Ole Miss history:
Ole Miss Career Rebounding Chart Player/Years Rebounds 1. Walter Actwood/1974-77 945 2. Elston Turner/1978-81 828 3. Joe Gibbon/1954-57 827 4. John Stroud/1976-80 826 5. Rahim Lockhart/1997-present 773 6. Coolidge Ball/1971-74 754 7. Fred Cox/1971-74 729 8. Ansu Sesay/1995-98 699 9. Sean Murphy/1988-91 697 10. Jason Smith/1996-99 671REED TIES CAREER BESTS: 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).
DE-FENSE, DE-FENSE: 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 64.6 points per game, which leads the SEC.
EVEN MORE DEFENSE: 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 11 opponents under 60 points, including four SEC teams. Notre Dame was the last team Ole Miss held below 60 points in the Rebels' 59-56 win Mar. 18. 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 campaign in which the Rebels held the most opponents under 60 points is 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.
HITTING `EM WHEN THEY COUNT: 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 65.2 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 4-of-9 performance down the stretch in each of their two NCAA Tournament games.
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, Florida (SEC Tournament), Iona (NCAA) and Notre Dame (NCAA), the Rebels shot 70.9 percent from the line (134-of-189) in the final four minutes (and overtime) of those games. The following charts the Rebels' success from the foul line in crunch time:
Free Throws (under 4 mins. and OT) Opponent FT-A Pct. Sam Houston St. 7-12 .583 VCU 10-11 .909 Oklahoma 9-11 .818 Memphis 10-10 1.000 Southern Illinois 4-6 .667 Southern Cal 12-16 .750 Vanderbilt 10-16 .625 Arkansas 6-12 .500 Kentucky 8-10 .800 Arkansas 11-15 .733 Auburn 6-8 .750 Tennessee 14-16 .875 Miss. State 2-4 .500 South Carolina 2-3 .667 Auburn 2-8 .250 Tennessee (SEC) 12-14 .857 Florida (SEC) 5-8 .625 Iona (NCAA) 2-5 .400 Notre Dame (NCAA) 2-4 .500 Totals 134-189 .709
RESILIENT REBELS: Call them "Cardiac Kids" or maybe even "Comeback Kids," the Rebels have proven they can be resilient when they are down in games this season. The following charts the Rebels' comebacks this year:
Game/Date Deficit/Time Final So. Caro./2-17 34-46/16:32 67-61 Note: Rebels took 1st lead of 2nd half at 8:22 mark, sealed win with Sanders' 3-pt with :28 left Miss. St./2-14 31-38/11:47 51-48 Note: Rebels went on 9-2 run to tie game at 40-all with 6:00 left, Sanders sealed win with steal and 2 FTs with under :05 to play Auburn/2-3 43-52/10:51 74-70 Note: A 17-7 Rebel run gave Ole Miss a 60-59 lead with 5:14 left, hit 6-of-8 FTs in final minute for win Ark./1-31 41-48/13:12 84-73 Note: A 21-3 run gave Ole Miss a 62-51 lead and Rebels never lost the advantage So. Cal/12-22 71-76/1:09 84-83,ot Note: Ole Miss tied game at 78-all on an Aaron Harper bucket with :12 left, won game in overtime VCU/11-25 65-70/3:28 88-84,ot Note: Rebels went on 8-3 run to tie game at 73-all, scored 1st 6 pts of OT en route to win
STILL...ANOTHER "FIRST": 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.
REBELS FIRST TO 20 WINS: Ole Miss was the first team in the SEC to reach the 20-win plateau in the 2000-01 season. The Rebels are 27-7.
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.
ANOTHER "FIRST" IN REBEL HISTORY: 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.
REED DOUBLES HIS PLEASURE: 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.
"GET THAT SHOT OUTTA HERE!!!": Senior Rahim Lockhart recorded a career-best five blocked shots versus Memphis Dec. 9. After his four blocks in the two NCAA Tournament games, he now has 131 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. The following chart show the Ole Miss career blocked shots leaders:
Rebel All-Time Blocked Shots Leaders Player/Years No. of Blocks 1. Sean Murphy/1987-91 180 2. Rahim Lockhart/1997-present 131
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