Ole Miss Hosts Nationally-Ranked Oklahoma Saturday

Dec. 1, 2000

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The Ole Miss Rebels (4-0) will continue their three-game homestand Saturday, Dec. 2 when they host nationally-ranked Oklahoma (5-0). The contest is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. (CT) tip and will be televised by FOX Sports Net South. The Rebels enter Saturday?s game on a four-game win streak with victories over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Sam Houston State, Virginia Commonwealth, and Louisiana-Monroe. The Sooners, ranked No. 14 in the Associated Press poll and No. 13 in the USA Today/ESPN poll, won the Big Island Invitational championship last weekend.

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 43-27 (.614 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 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-OKLAHOMA SERIES
Saturday's game will be the third meeting between the two schools. The Rebels and Sooners have played the last two seasons, with the series tied at 1-1. Ole Miss won the first encounter, a 75-72 second-round victory in the 1998 Puerto Rico Holiday Classic (Dec. 22, 1998). Last year, the Sooners defeated the Rebels, 81-73 in Norman, Okla. (Dec. 4, 1999).

SCOUTING OKLAHOMA
The Sooners, ranked No. 14 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and No. 13 in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 poll, enter Saturday?s game with a perfect 5-0 mark. Oklahoma won the Big Island Invitational in Hawaii last weekend with victories over Montana State, Tulane and Oregon State. Sophomore guard Hollis Price leads five Sooners averaging in double figures at 17.0 points-per-game. Aaron McGhee (16.6 ppg), Nolan Johnson (10.2), Kelley Newton (10.2) and J.R. Raymond (12.3) are also averaging double digits. Senior forward Jameel Heywood leads Oklahoma on the boards with 6.8 rebounds-per-game. Newton is the squad?s top three-point threat, hitting 54.5 percent from beyond the arc. The Sooners are shooting 49.5 percent >from the field, 39.6 percent from the three-point line and 74.7 percent >from the charity stripe. Oklahoma is also out-rebounding its opponents by an average of 5.8 boards per game (33.2-27.4).

REBELS GOING FOR CONSECUTIVE 5-0 STARTS
With a win over Oklahoma Saturday, the Rebels would open a campaign with a 5-0 record for the second straight season. The Rebels began 1999-2000 with a 6-0 record. Last year?s 6-0 start was the program?s first since the 1973-74 Rebels also began their season 6-0. The 1970-71, 1966-67, 1959-60 and 1955-56 teams also started their seasons with 6-0 marks.

OLE MISS VERSUS THE BIG 12 CONFERENCE
Ole Miss has a 9-17 overall record (.346 winning percentage) versus members of the Big 12 Conference. The Rebels are 1-0 versus Oklahoma State, 1-1 versus Nebraska and Oklahoma, 6-8 versus Texas, 0-1 versus Baylor, Kansas and Texas A&M and 0-4 versus Texas Tech. Ole Miss has played only one Big 12 Conference member since the league was formed in 1994, and that was Oklahoma the last two years. Prior to the last two meetings with the Sooners, the last time Ole Miss played a current member of the Big 12 Conference was the 1981 season when the Rebels fell to Kansas, 69-66 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Current Rebel radio analyst Sean Tuohy was a guard on that Ole Miss team which played Kansas in the 1981 NCAA Tournament.

OLE MISS TO JOIN THE BIG 12?
It may seem like it in December, but Ole Miss is not moving to the Big 12 Conference. The Rebel schedule, though, has a strong Big 12 Conference flavor in the month of December. Ole Miss hosts Oklahoma Saturday and Kansas State Tuesday (Dec. 5), and could meet Iowa State in the Pearl Harbor Invitational Dec. 21-23.

DID YOU KNOW?
Rod Barnes recorded his first win against a ranked team as head coach of the Rebels versus Oklahoma in the 1998 Puerto Rico Holiday Classic. The Sooners were ranked No. 23 in the USA Today Top 25 Poll when the two teams met in Puerto Rico. Ole Miss won that second-round contest, 75-72.

REBELS VERSUS RANKED OPPONENTS AT HOME
Ole Miss has a 10-5 record (.667 winning percentage) versus ranked opponents at Tad Smith Coliseum since the beginning of the 1994-95 season. Oklahoma will be the Rebels'first ranked opponent of the 2000-01 season. Prior to the 1999 Auburn loss (1998-99 season), Ole Miss had won six straight versus ranked opponents at the ?Tad Pad.? During that streak, the Rebels defeated Temple (#18), South Carolina (#11) and Arkansas (#12) in 1997-98, Kentucky (#3) in 1996-97, and Auburn (#21) and Mississippi State (#25) in 1995-96. Ole Miss? first win over a ranked opponent since the 1994-95 season was a 76-71 win over No. 3 Arkansas on Jan. 4, 1995. Last year, Ole Miss was 2-2 versus ranked opponents at home. (NOTE: Ole Miss lost to No. 5 Kentucky in the 1994-95 season, but that home game was played at The Pyramid in Memphis.)

NOVEMBER, PLEASE DON'T GO...
The Rebels love to play games in November and it shows in their record in contests played during that month. Since the 1990-91 campaign, Ole Miss has a 25-3 record (.893 winning percentage) in the month of November. The Rebels have won 11 straight in the month of November, with their last loss coming at then-No. 7 nationally-ranked Temple (68-52, Nov. 18, 1998).

...BUT DECEMBER'S NOT SO BAD
While the Rebels are nearly unbeatable in the month of November, their record in the month of December since the 1990-91 season isn?t so bad either. Ole Miss has a 44-25 record (.638 winning percentage) in December games since the 1990-91 campaign. Ole Miss was 6-1 in the month of December last season, with the lone setback being an 81-73 loss at Oklahoma.

'TAD PAD' GOING FOR 300 The Rebels are going after 300 in Tad Smith Coliseum?and it?s a good thing. With one more win at home, the Rebels will reach the 300-win milestone in the ?Tad Pad.? Ole Miss has an all-time record of 299-154 (.660 winning percentage) at the ?Tad Pad.? Tad Smith Coliseum opened in the 1965-66 season.

FLANIGAN STEADY AS EVER
Senior Jason Flanigan (Little Rock, Ark.) has been a steadying force on the Ole Miss squad the past two seasons, and he?s proven the same this year. Flanigan is averaging 9.5 points and 3.5 boards, but it?s more than just stats when looking at what he means to the Rebel squad. In Ole Miss? victory over Louisiana-Monroe, he netted a season-high 12 points, but also had a solid floor game with two assists, three steals and two boards.

In the win at VCU Nov. 25, Flanigan had his ?regular? game with eight points, three rebounds and three assists, but it was when he scored his points that turned out to be huge for Ole Miss. With the Rebels fighting to stay in the game, Flanigan answered consecutive VCU hoops with two baskets of his own. His second bucket?a three-pointer?started a 10-0 Rebel run which cut the Ram advantage to six at 40-34 at the break. His second three-pointer of the game came during the Ole Miss comeback in the second half, slicing the VCU lead to 70-68 with 3:13 left in regulation.

Flanigan returned to the Ole Miss starting lineup in the season opener versus Arkansas-Pine Bluff Nov. 18, after missing the Rebels'second exhibition game Nov. 11 with a grade-one MCL sprain of the right knee.

OLE MISS PICKED SIXTH IN WEST BY MEDIA
The Ole Miss Rebels were picked to finish in sixth place in the SEC Western Division in a vote by media members at the annual conference media days Nov. 1-2 in Birmingham, Ala. Arkansas was picked to win the SEC Western Division championship, while Tennessee was selected to win both the SEC overall title and the Eastern Division crown.

REED POSTS FIRST DOUBLE-DOUBLE
Freshman Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.) recorded the first double-double of his collegiate career in the Rebels'victory over Virginia Commonwealth Nov. 25. Reed had 16 points and 13 boards, which are career highs. The 6-foot-8 forward also had one blocked shot and two steals in the win. After four games, Reed is averaging 13.0 points and 7.8 rebounds.

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 75-9 record (.893 winning percentage) when it scores 70 points or more. On the other hand, the Rebels are 9-34 when they net less than 70 points during that five-year period (including 2000-01). Last year, the Rebels were 16-3 when scoring 70 points or more. This season, Ole Miss has a 4-0 record when scoring 70 points or more.

OLE MISS ENTERS 2000-01 SEASON WITH STREAK INTACT
In recent years, the Rebels have been tough on all opponents entering Tad Smith Coliseum (a.k.a. the 'Tad Pad'). Entering the 1998-99 season, Ole Miss had a 20-game homecourt win streak, and the Rebels extended that streak to 29 games, before falling to nationally-ranked Auburn on Jan. 13, 1999. Despite the overall homecourt win streak coming to an end, the Rebels still have another homecourt streak intact?consecutive home wins versus non-conference opponents. Ole Miss entered the 2000-01 season with the third-longest homecourt win streak versus non-conference opponents. With their win over Louisiana-Monroe Nov. 28, the Rebels'streak reached 38 straight, trailing Maryland's 72-game streak and Penn State's 49.

'PROVINE POSSE' COMES UP BIG FOR REBELS
The Provine High School trio of Aaron Harper (Jackson, Miss.), Justin Reed and David Sanders (Jackson, Miss.), nicknamed the ?Provine Posse,? took a couple of games to adjust to the collegiate level, but they have and came up big in the Rebels'win at VCU. All three netted double figures in the win, as Reed had 16, Sanders 13 and Harper 10. But, it wasn?t as much their scoring as when they stepped up, and the following charts their big plays in the VCU win:

-Lockhart picked up his second foul at the 11:36 mark of the first half and went to the bench. From that point, Reed scored eight points and grabbed seven boards the rest of the half.

-With time running down in the first half, Sanders capped a 10-0 run with a layup at the buzzer to pull the Rebels to within six at 40-34 at the break.

-Two Harper free throws cut the VCU lead to 71-70 with 1:14 left in regulation, setting up Jason Harrison's three-point basket to put Ole Miss ahead 73-72 with under a minute to play.

-Harper nailed a three-pointer to give Ole Miss the lead for good in overtime at 76-73.

-Sanders hit two free throws with :36 left in overtime to give Ole Miss an 84-78 lead.

-Harper clinched the victory with two free throws with :06 on the clock.

THE LAST TIME THAT...
The Rebels were hot from the free throw line in their Nov. 25 win over VCU. Ole Miss shot 78.4 percent from the foul line, hitting 29-of-37. The last time Ole Miss shot better from the foul line with over 30 attempts was back in the 1997-98 campaign. The Rebels hit 81.8 percent (27-of-33) from the charity stripe in an 82-78 victory over Mississippi State in Starkville (Feb. 21, 1998). The last time that the Rebels shot better (no limit on attempts) was 80 percent from the line (16-of-20) in last year?s NIT second-round victory over Southwest Missouri State.

FIVE IN A ROW
For the 2000-01 Rebels, the season theme could be 'The Drive for Five' - as in five straight winning seasons and five consecutive postseason tournament berths. Ole Miss enters 2000-01 on the momentum of four straight winning campaigns (20-9, 1996-97, 22-7, 1997-98, 20-13, 1998-99, 19-14, 1999-2000) and four consecutive postseason tournament bids (NCAA?1997, 1998, 1999, NIT?2000).

The last time the Rebel basketball program put together four straight winning seasons was 1979-80 through 1982-83 (17-13, 1979-80, 16-14, 1980-81, 18-12, 1981-82, 19-12, 1982-83). The last time the Rebels had five or more consecutive winning campaigns was nine straight from 1919-20 through 1927-28. The Rebel program has never played in five straight postseason tournaments.

LOCKHART BREAKS INTO TOP 15, RECORDS 500TH REBOUND
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 536 career rebounds, after grabbing 10 boards in the Rebels'victory over Louisiana-Monroe Nov. 28. 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. He is in the No. 15 spot on the Rebel career rebounding chart. The following abbreviated chart shows the top rebounders in Ole Miss history:

OLE MISS' RECRUITING CLASS RANKED AMONG NATION'S ELITE
After its 1999 recruiting class was ranked No. 26 in the nation, Ole Miss took another step up the ladder to national prominence when its 2000 class was ranked as high as No. 10 in the country. The 2000 class of Derrick Allen (Gadsden, Ala.), Aaron Harper, Justin Reed and David Sanders was ranked No. 10 by HOOP SCOOP and No. 23 by The Recruiting Beat. According to the HOOP SCOOP rankings, Ole Miss had the top recruiting class in the SEC.

TO BE THE BEST...
You have to play the best, as the old adage in college athletics goes. Ole Miss has taken that to heart in the 2000-01 season. According to two preseason polls by FOXSports.com and CBS Sportsline.com, the Rebels could possibly meet at least eight teams listed in their polls. Alabama (ARV), Arkansas (#16), Brigham Young (ARV), Florida (#19), Iowa State (#20), Kentucky (#12), Oklahoma (ARV) Southern California (#18) and Tennessee (#5) all are listed in the FOXSports.com poll. In CBS Sportsline?s top 40 poll, Alabama (#39), Arkansas (#19), Auburn (#33), Brigham Young (#38), Florida (#13), Iowa State (#15), Kentucky (#10), LSU (#34), Mississippi State (#32), Oklahoma (#40) Southern California (#24) and Tennessee (#5) are ranked.

TIP-INS...
Ole Miss and Oklahoma did not have much of a history between them in the athletic realm before the 1997-98 season, but that has changed the past couple of years. The men's basketball teams are playing for the third straight year, and the women's basketball squads met in the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons. Also, the schools' storied football programs met for the first time in last December's Sanford Independence Bowl. Ole Miss won that game, 27-25. It is also the last time the Sooner football team lost...Rahim Lockhart is on pace to become the 25th player in Ole Miss basketball history to score 1,000 points in a career. He currently has 775 career points and needs to average only 9.0 points the rest of the season to reach the milestone.

 

 

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