Ole Miss Men's Basketball Game Notes

Nov. 13, 2001

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Date: Thursday, November 15
Time: 12:00 a.m. (CT)
Location: Patty Center (Fairbanks, Alaska)

OLE MISS TO OPEN REGULAR-SEASON PLAY THURSDAY IN BP TOP OF THE WORLD CLASSIC: The Rebels will open their 2001-02 regular season Thursday, Nov. 15 versus Bowling Green in the first round of the BP Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska. Game time for the opener is 12 midnight (CT).

Both teams won their two exhibition games. Ole Miss defeated Global Sports 68-60 Nov. 3 and Carson-Newman College 78-70 Nov. 10 (see recaps and boxscores on pages 3 and 4). Bowling Green defeated Argentina Select 101-86 Nov. 4 and Shawnee State 89-70 Nov. 8.

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 a 66-35 record, and the 66 victories are the most by a Rebel coach in his first three years in Ole Miss history. 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 the Ole Miss program.

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 (6th, 154).

THE OLE MISS-BOWLING GREEN SERIES: The two schools have met two previous times on the hardwood, with the series tied at 1-1. Ole Miss won the first meeting 100-78 in Oxford in the second game of the Rebels' 1978-79 campaign (Dec. 4, 1978). The Falcons won the next encounter, a 79-76 victory in Bowling Green in the 1980-81 season (Dec. 17, 1980). In that 1980-81 season, the Rebels went on to win the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship and earn the program's first NCAA Tournament berth.

SCOUTING BOWLING GREEN: The Falcons return four starters from last year's team that posted a 15-14 overall record. Bowling Green, a member of the Mid-American Conference (MAC), also posted a 10-8 league mark and finished tied for fourth in the MAC's East Division. The tandem of Keith McLeod and Len Matela returns to lead the Falcons. McLeod, who missed Bowling Green's second exhibition contest on Nov. 8, averaged 18.1 points and 3.4 rebounds and was an All-MAC second team pick last season. Matela, an All-MAC honorable mention pick in 2001, was the Falcons' second-leading scorer (15.7 ppg) and top rebounder (8.8 rpg). Brandon Pardon, who ranks second all-time in three-point field goal percentage (40.1 percent), dished out 204 assists a year ago.

Dan Dakich is in his fifth season at Bowling Green. He has a 65-48 overall record, and led the Falcons to the MAC championship in 1999-2000.

OLE MISS VERSUS THE MAC: The Rebels have a 3-3 record versus members of the Mid-American Conference. Ole Miss is 1-0 versus Toledo, 1-1 versus Bowling Green and Marshall and 0-1 versus Ball State. The last time the Rebels faced a member of the MAC was in the 1997-98 season. Ole Miss met Ball State in the title game of the Cardinals' tournament, and dropped a 70-66 decision.

OLE MISS IN ROAD OPENERS: The Rebels have not had much success in their first game away from Oxford in their 91-year history. Ole Miss has a 41-50 overall mark (.451 winning percentage) in its opening game on the road (including neutral sites). Last season, the Rebels won their first road contest, an 88-84 overtime victory at Virginia Commonwealth. Since the 1990-91 season, Ole Miss has a 5-6 record in road openers.

FIRST TIME SINCE... The Rebels will play their 2001-02 season opener away from the friendly confines of Tad Smith Coliseum when they meet Bowling Green in the first round of the BP Top of the World Classic Nov. 15. It is the first time Ole Miss has opened a season away from home since the 1987-88 campaign. Ole Miss opened that season in Baltimore, Md., at the MCI Harbor Classic, defeating St. Joseph's (59-51) in the first round and falling to Maryland (77-69) the next day (Nov. 27-28, 1987).

That was also the last time Ole Miss opened a campaign with a regular-season tournament.

OLE MISS IN REGULAR SEASON TOURNAMENTS: The Rebels have an all-time record of 53-52 (.505 winning percentage) in regular season tournaments in their history. Last season, Ole Miss placed second at the Yahoo! Sports Invitational (formerly Pearl Harbor Invitational). The Rebels defeated Southern Illinois (70-66) and Southern Cal (84-83, ot), but came up short against Iowa State (73-68) in the championship game.

In 1999-2000, Ole Miss won the inaugural SoCon Holiday Hoops Tournament in Greenville, S.C., defeating Wisconsin-Green Bay, 57-53 in the title game. Prior to that tournament title, the Rebels' previous regular-season tournament crown came in the 1993-94 season, a 78-74 victory over Southern Mississippi in the Cellular South/Mississippi Beach Shootout (one-game tournament). The previous time Ole Miss won a two-day tournament title was in the 1988-89 campaign when the Rebels claimed the Bayou Classic championship with wins over Southern (90-88) and Nicholls State (74-53).

The BP Top of the World Classic will be only the seventh three-day tournament for the Rebels in their history, but the fourth in the last four years. The last three-day tournament came last season at Yahoo! Sports Invitational. The Rebels' other three-day tournaments were the SoCon Holiday Hoops Tournament (Greenville, S.C.) in 1999-2000, Puerto Rico Holiday Classic (San Juan, Puerto Rico) in 1998-99, All-College Tournament (Oklahoma City, Okla.) in 1972-73, Gulf South Tournament (Shreveport, La.) in 1960-61 and All-American City Tournament (Owensboro, Ky.) in 1954-55.

OLE MISS VERSUS THE TOURNAMENT FIELD: The Rebels have a record of 3-3 versus teams in the BP Top of the World Classic field. Ole Miss is 1-1 versus Bowling Green and 2-2 versus Wichita State. The Rebels have never met Alaska-Fairbanks, Butler, Delaware, Radford and Washington on the hardwood.

REBELS GOING FOR SIX IN A ROW IN 2001-02: Six will be an important number for the Ole Miss basketball program in 2001-02 - as in six-straight winning seasons and six-consecutive postseason tournament bids. If the Rebels are successful with another winning record in 2001-02, it would be the program's sixth straight, which would be the longest winning stretch in Ole Miss history since the Rebels had nine-consecutive winning seasons from 1919-20 through 1927-28. The current string of five-straight postseason tournament appearances (1997, 1998, 1999, 2001 NCAA, 2000 NIT) is the longest in Ole Miss history.

PILING UP THE FREQUENT-FLYER MILES: After staying on the mainland the first 86 years of the program's existence, Ole Miss basketball has been frequent travelers the past six seasons. For the second-straight season and the fourth time in the last six years, the Rebel program will travel outside the continental United States with the program's first trip to Alaska this weekend. Last year, Ole Miss finished second in the Yahoo! Sports Invitational in Hawaii. In the 1998-99 campaign, the Rebels traveled to Puerto Rico to play in the Holiday Classic and finished second to eventual Final Four participant Ohio State. Following the 1996-97 season, Ole Miss played a five-game exhibition tour in Australia and won all five games.

LOE TO REDSHIRT: Freshman guard Jonathan Loe (Memphis, Tenn.) will redshirt the 2001-02 season. Loe did not play in the Rebels' two exhibition games. 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 UNDERGOES SURGERY: Junior forward John Gunn (Oxford, Miss.) underwent surgery in New Orleans, La., Nov. 9. According to head coach Rod Barnes, the surgery to repair a life-long kidney ailment was successful, but Gunn's status for the season is still questionable.

RHODES MAY REDSHIRT: Freshman forward Chris Rhodes (Stafford, Texas) may redshirt this season. According to head coach Rod Barnes, the decision on Rhodes will depend on Gunn's return to the team after his surgery on Nov. 9.

OLE MISS PICKED THIRD IN 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):

Eastern Division Western Division
1. Kentucky (20) 1. Alabama (15)
2. Flordia (3) 2. Arkansas (5)
3. Tennessee 3. Ole Miss (2)
4. South Carolina 4. Auburn (1)
5. Georgia 5. LSU
6. Vanderbilt 6. Mississippi State
Overall Champion: Kentucky (20), Florida (3)

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 108 games (overall games) since 1996-97, the most by any SEC Western Division team. The 108 victories are also second among all league teams, only trailing Kentucky's 145 wins. The following charts show the Rebels' success (including the 2001-02 season):

Most Overall/SEC Wins By SEC West Teams
(1996-97 to present)

Team All Wins SEC Wins
Ole Miss 108 47
Arkansas 104 45
Auburn 103 43
Alabama 84 30
Mississippi State 78 30
LSU 72 23

Most Overall/SEC Wins By SEC Teams (Top 6)
(1996-97 to present)

Team All Wins SEC Wins
Kentucky 145 62
Ole Miss 108 47
Arkansas 104 45
Auburn 103 43
Florida 103 45
Tennessee 100 45

OLE MISS RANKED IN TOP 50 IN FOUR 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 four preseason publications. Ole Miss was ranked No. 22 by The Sporting News, No. 29 by Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, No. 30 by Lindy's and No. 42 by Basketball News.

A NEW REBEL IRONMAN: It took 18 seasons, but the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program crowned a new ironman in 2000-01 as Jason Flanigan set a school record for career games played with 127. Flanigan broke the previous mark of 121 games played set by Roger Stieg, who played from 1980-83.

Well, Flanigan's record may fall after only one season. Jason Harrison (Little Rock, Ark.) enters the 2001-02 campaign with 101 games played and could set a new Ole Miss record during the regular season.

IT COMES IN THREES: That is how the old saying goes, and Rebel senior Jason Harrison hopes it is true. The 5-foot-5 guard is looking to pass the century mark in assists for the third-straight year. The past two seasons, Harrison reached the 100-assists plateau with 115 in 1999-2000 and 104 in 2000-01. If he dishes out 100 or more assists in 2001-02, he would be the only the third player in Ole Miss history to accomplish the feat in three-consecutive seasons. Rod Barnes (three seasons of 100-plus assists) and Sean Tuohy (four seasons) are the only two players to have recorded 100 or more assists in three-straight campaigns.

Harrison has 305 career assists and needs only 95 to become only the third Rebel to reach the 400 milestone. Tuohy and Barnes are the only two Ole Miss players to record 400 or more assists in a career.

REBELS TOUGH ON NON-CONFERENCE FOES IN RECENT YEARS: In last nine years, the Rebels have posted a 79-30 record (.725 winning percentage) versus non-conference opponents. Non-conference foes have found Ole Miss especially tough the last six seasons (1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01), as the Rebels have an impressive 61-17 mark (.782 winning percentage) against out-of-conference teams. The following shows Ole Miss' non-conference record the last nine years:

Year Record
1992-93 5-5
1993-94 7-3
1994-95 5-5
1995-96 6-4
1996-97 8-3
1997-98 9-2
1998-99 11-4
1999-2000 14-2
2000-01 14-2
Totals 79-30

ANOTHER "FIRST" FOR OLE MISS: The Ole Miss basketball program achieved another first this past summer when sophomore Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.) became the first player in Rebel history to be named a preseason candidate for the John Wooden Award. Reed is one of 50 preseason candidates for the honor which recognizes the top collegiate player in the nation. Former Rebel standout Ansu Sesay was a Wooden All-American in 1998, but his name did not appear on the preseason list.

Reed is also one of six SEC players among the 2001-02 Wooden Award preseason candidates, joining Kentucky's Tayshaun Prince and Keith Bogans, Florida's Udonis Haslem and Brett Nelson and Tennessee's Vincent Yarbrough.

THE MAGIC NUMBER IS... Well, for the Rebels, it seems as if that number is 70. Since the 1996-97 season, 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 20-40 when they net less than 70 points during that five-year period. Last season, Ole Miss had a 16-1 record when scoring 70 points or more, with the lone setback a 78-77 overtime loss at LSU.



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