GAME NOTES: Rebels Face Hoosiers In Puerto Rico
GAME 3: Ole Miss (2-0) vs. Indiana (2-0)
Thursday 11.19.09 | 6 p.m. AT
San Juan, Puerto Rico | Coliseo de Puerto Rico
REBELS MAKE TRIP TO PUERTO RICO
Ole Miss will receive some of its first major tests of the season with its trip to San Juan for the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off this week. The Rebels are coming off a convincing 90-53 win over defending SWAC Champion and NCAA Tournament team Alabama State. They will square off with Indiana in the first ever game between the two programs in Thursday's first round (ESPN2). Andy Kennedy's squad will look to maintain its high-scoring approach after scoring 92 and 90 in back-to-back contests to open the season. The winner of the Ole Miss-Indiana matchup will advance to face the winner between Boston Univeristy and Kansas State on Friday. The last time Ole Miss visited the island, the team came home with the 2007 San Juan Shootout championship trophy.
- Ole Miss is receiving votes in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today coaches poll for the second straight week.
- Ole Miss has a 40-10 record against non-conference opponents under the guidance of Andy Kennedy.
- The Rebel defense held Alabama State to just 28.6 percent from the field and forced 22 Hornet turnovers, including 17 steals by Rebel players.
- Ole Miss' participation in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off marks the first time the Rebels have been involved with an early-season tournament sponsored by ESPN.
- Ole Miss was picked by the media to finish second in the SEC West, while the Rebels have been tabbed as an NCAA Tournament by a number of preseason publications.
- Eniel Polynice already ranks among the SEC leaders in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals.
- Terrico White and Chris Warren were named to preseason All-SEC teams by both the media and league coaches. White was named to the first team and Warren to the second team on both lists.
- Terrico White is a preseason candidate for the Naismith and Wooden Awards.
SCOUTING THE HOOSIERS
Indiana is off to a 2-0 start with wins over Howard (83-60) and USC-Upstate (69-61). Freshmen Maurice Creek and Christian Watford lead the team with 15.5 ppg each in the early going. Watford also pulls down a team-high 10.5 boards per game. Tom Crean's Hoosiers are coming off an uncharacteristic down season, going 6-25 and just 1-17 in Big Ten play with a short-handed group last year.
OLE MISS-INDIANA SERIES
Thursday is the first meeting between the Rebels and Hoosiers.
OLE MISS VERSUS BIG TEN FOES
Ole Miss owns a 1-7 all-time record against current members of the Big Ten Conference. The Rebels have played five of the 11 teams in the league, including Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State. Below are Ole Miss' records vs. the Big Ten:
Illinois (0-2), Minnesota (0-2), Michigan (1-0), Ohio State (0-2), Michigan State (0-1) - TOTAL (1-6)
OLE MISS VS. PUERTO RICO FIELD
- vs. Boston University: Never Played
- vs. Dayton: Dayton leads 1-0
- vs. George Mason: Series tied 1-1
- vs. Georgia Tech: Georgia Tech leads 11-8
- vs. Kansas State: Ole Miss leads 2-0
- vs. Villanova: Ole Miss leads 1-0
- TOTAL: Ole Miss has a 12-13 all-time record against the Puerto Rico Tip-Off field.
Ole Miss sophomore guard Nick Williams is currently sitting out the 2009-10 season after transferring from Indiana, where he started 29-of-31 games and averaged 8.90 ppg as a freshman last season.
REBELS AT THE BEACH
Ole Miss will participate in a tournament in a sunny, beach locale for the third straight year when it plays in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off this week. The Rebels had much success at the San Juan Shootout in December 2007, winning the Puerto Rican tourney title with three straight wins, including an 85-82 championship game triumph over No. 15 Clemson that put Ole Miss back on the national radar screen when the team's record improved to 11-0 at the time. The Rebels went 2-1 during last year's Glenn Wilkes Classic (Daytona Beach, Fla.).
The winner of the Ole Miss-Indiana first-round matchup (ESPN2) will advance to play the winner of Boston U.-Kansas State at 9:30 p.m. AT on Friday (ESPNU), while the losers play at 7 p.m. Friday (no TV). The final round is on Sunday, with the tournament championship game scheduled for 9 p.m. local time (ESPN2). All other Sunday games will be shown on ESPNU.
REBELS IN THE POLLS
Ole Miss is receiving votes in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. The last time the Rebels were ranked in the top 25 in one of those two polls was Jan. 28, 2008, when they were No. 24 and 22, respectively.
Ole Miss boasts a 40-10 record against teams outside the SEC since Andy Kennedy took over in 2006-07. 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). Last year, the team went 9-5 against teams outside the SEC.
Expected to boast one of the top backcourts in the SEC, and perhaps the country, Ole Miss showed a glimpse of its potent guard attack in a 90-53 win over Alabama State Monday. Four guards scored in double figures - Terrico White (19), Eniel Polynice (17), Chris Warren (12) and Zach Graham (11).
The backcourt has been ranked as high as ninth in the country by one national preseason outlet (Lindy's) and best in the SEC by another (Blue Ribbon). Warren, White, Polynice and Graham have all been a full-time starter during the last two seasons, while Trevor Gaskins was an SEC All-Freshman team member with Warren in 2007-08 before Gaskins missed last season with an ACL injury.
POLYNICE FILLS UP THE STAT SHEET
Healthy for the first time since 2007-08, junior guard Eniel Polynice is back to doing what he does best - filling up every area of the stat sheet. In Monday's win over Alabama State, Polynice had 17 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals and a block. Through two games, he is averaging 13.0 points, 5.0 boards, 5.0 assists and 3.0 steals.
CRANSTON LEADS TEAM TO BIG OPENING WIN
DeAundre Cranston scored a career-high 21 points to go with seven rebounds, and Ole Miss dominated UALR en route to a 92-64 win in Friday's season opener. The Rebels got out to a 27-8 early lead and never looked back. Murphy Holloway also helped solidify the frontcourt play with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
ALL PLAYERS HEALTHY ENTERING 2009-10
After one of the most bizarre rashes of injuries one could imagine decimated the Ole Miss roster a year ago, all players are healthy and full-go entering the 2009-10 campaign. Sophomore guard Trevor Gaskins and junior guard Eniel Polynice, who missed all of last season with knee injuries, returned to action early in the summer. After tearing his ACL in the Rebels' 11th game last year, Chris Warren also returned to action during the summer. Zach Graham played through the last half of the season with a partially torn patella tendon, had surgery in April to repair the tear, and returned to action for preseason camp.
REBELS ON THE TUBE
Thursday's game vs. Indiana on ESPN2 is the first of at least 20 Ole Miss games scheduled for live television this season, including all 16 regular-season conference games as part of the SEC's 15-year deals with CBS and ESPN. The Rebels had a school-record 22 games televised in 2006-07.
- Reginald Buckner: Has swatted 9 shots after his first two collegiate outings ... Posted 7 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks vs. Alabama State ... Had 4 blocks and 4 rebounds in collegiate debut vs. UALR ... He is the Tennessee high school record holder for career blocked shots.
- DeAundre Cranston: Career-high 21 points (8-9 FGs, 3-4 3-pters) with 7 boards in season opener.
- Trevor Gaskins: Played in his first game since 2007-08 after missing last year with injury and scored 7 points with 3 boards and 3 assists in opener.
- Zach Graham: First double-digit scoring game of the year with 11 vs. Alabama State ... Scored in double figures 12 times (10 times in SEC play) a year ago.
- Terrance Henry: Injured his hand slipping on stairs on campus and missed the first two games ... Expected to return for the Indiana game.
- Murphy Holloway: Had 7 points, 9 boards and 4 steals vs. Alabama State ... Registered a double-double in the season opener (17 pts, 10 rebs) ... He led Ole Miss with six double-doubles last year.
- DeAngelo Riley: Made his Rebel debut in the opener and had 5 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks in 10 minutes of action.
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