Men's Basketball Game Notes
Dec. 13, 2002
Date: Saturday, Dec. 14
REBELS ON TELEVISION AND RADIO
OLE MISS PROBABLES
OLE MISS/VCU TEAM COMPARISONS
REBEL GAME NOTES
Ole Miss (3-1) brings a three-game win streak into the contest after victories over Alabama State, George Mason and Austin Peay. The Rams (3-2) defeated Richmond 73-68 in overtime in their last outing Dec. 7. VCU also brings a three-game win streak into Saturday's game.
BARNES IN FIFTH SEASON AS REBEL MENTOR: Rod Barnes is in his fifth season at the helm of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. The 2001 Naismith and CollegeInsider.com National Coach of the Year, Barnes has an 89-47 record (.654 winning percentage). He is 3-1 in 2002-03. The 86 wins in his first four seasons were the most by a Rebel coach in that span of time in Ole Miss history. Last year, Barnes, the 2001 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, guided Ole Miss to a 20-11 overall record and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The winning season and postseason tournament both were the sixth 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 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 (7th; 154).
OLE MISS-VCU SERIES: The Rebels lead the all-time series with Virginia Commonwealth 2-0. Ole Miss won the last meeting between the two schools in the 2000-01 season, an 88-84 overtime thriller in Richmond, Va. The Rebels also won the 1999-2000 encounter, a 75-62 win in Oxford. Both contests were televised by FOX Sports Net South.
SCOUTING VCU: The Rams enter Saturday's encounter with a 3-2 record, having won three straight over North Carolina A&T, Florida Atlantic and Richmond. Senior Willie Taylor leads four Rams scoring in double figures with a 19.4 average. Domonic Jones (13.6 ppg), Nick George (13.2 ppg) and Emanuel Mathis (11.4 ppg) are also netting double figures for VCU. George leads the Rams with a 10.2 rebounding average, followed by Troy Godwin's 8.4 rebound-per-game average.
VCU is shooting 45 percent from the field, 40.5 percent from the three-point line and 67.8 percent from the charity stripe. The Rams are out-rebounding their opponents by an average of 5.6 boards per contest (44.0-38.4). Jeff Capel, a 1997 graduate of Duke University, is in his first year as the head coach of the Rams.
OLE MISS VERSUS THE CAA: Saturday's game versus Virginia Commonwealth will be only the seventh time that the Rebels have faced a current member of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). Ole Miss has a 3-3 record versus teams from the CAA. The Rebels are 2-0 versus Virginia Commonwealth, 1-1 versus George Mason, and 0-1 versus Hofstra and James Madison. Earlier this season, the Rebels defeated George Mason 56-49 in Farifax, Va., on Nov. 30.
Prior to this campaign, the last two times the Rebels played a CAA member were memorable. Last year, George Mason and Ole Miss played a thriller in Oxford, with the Patriots taking a 71-70 win. The George Mason victory snapped the Rebels' 44-game homecourt win streak versus non-league opponents, which was the second longest in the nation at the time. In the 2000-01 season, Ole Miss defeated VCU 88-84 in an overtime heart-stopper in Richmond, Va. That contest proved to be a big boost in the Rebels' season and the team's run to the NCAA Tournament "Sweet Sixteen."
DECEMBER'S NOT SO BAD: While the Rebels are nearly unbeatable in the month of November (31-5 record) since 1990-91, their record in the month of December in that same span of time isn't so bad either. Ole Miss has a 59-27 record (.686 winning percentage) in December games since 1990-91. The Rebels are 21-3 (.875 winning percentage) in December the last four years (6-1 in 1999-2000; 8-1 in 2000-01; 6-1 in 2001-02; 1-0 in 2002-03).
REBELS TOUGH ON NON-CONFERENCE FOES IN RECENT YEARS: In the last 10 years (including 2002-03), the Rebels have posted an 88-29 record (.752 winning percentage) versus non-conference opponents. Non-conference foes have found Ole Miss especially tough the last eight seasons (1995-96 through 2002-03), as the Rebels have an impressive 76-21 mark (.784 winning percentage) against out-of-conference teams. The following shows Ole Miss' non-conference record the last 10 years:
Year Record 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 2001-02* 11-3 2002-03* 3-1 Totals 88-29 *Totals Under Barnes 53-12
BARNES BECOMES SECOND WINNINGEST COACH IN REBEL HISTORY: With the Rebels' 56-49 victory over George Mason Nov. 30, Rod Barnes became the second-winningest head coach in Ole Miss basketball history. That win gave him 88 for his career, and his record now stands at 89-47. The 89 victories are second most in Ole Miss history, trailing only B.L. "Country" Graham's (1950-62) 145 wins.
Up next for Barnes is the 100-win milestone, and with 11 more victories, he will reach that. If Barnes is successful in reaching 100 victories, he would be only the second Rebel mentor to do so. Barnes is the only coach in the program's history to average 20 or more wins per season entering the 2002-03 campaign. The following lists the winningest coaches in Rebel history:
GOING FOR THE MILLENNIUM: The Ole Miss Rebel basketball program will be going after a milestone as well in 2002-03. Ole Miss entered the season with 992 all-time victories, needing only eight to reach 1,000. After their 74-46 victory over Austin Peay Dec. 4, the Rebels' all-time record is now 995-1081.
"TAD PAD" SWEET "TAD PAD": Yes, most of the home win streaks are over, but Tad Smith Coliseum (a.k.a. the "Tad Pad") is still one of the toughest arenas in the nation for opposing teams to play. Ole Miss has won 93 of its last 102 games (.912 winning percentage) at home, including homecourt winning streaks of 15 and 29 games. Ole Miss was 13-1 at the "Tad Pad" in 2001-02. In the past 10 seasons (1992-93 through 2001-02), Ole Miss has an overall home record of 121-30 (.801 winning percentage).
In head coach Rod Barnes' era, the Rebels have a home record of 46-8 (.852 winning percentage). The following shows Ole Miss' home record under Barnes:
Year Record 1998-99 13-3 1999-2000 13-3 2000-01 15-1 2001-02 13-1 2002-03 2-0 Totals 46-8
REBELS ALL-TIME AT THE "TAD PAD": The Rebels posted their 300th victory in Tad Smith Coliseum in the 2000-01 campaign, and has kept on winning at home. Ole Miss has an all-time record of 326-156 (.676 winning percentage) at the "Tad Pad." Tad Smith Coliseum opened in the 1965-66 season.
STARTING ANOTHER STREAK?: Don't look now but the Ole Miss Rebels are beginning another homecourt win streak. Entering Saturday's game versus Virginia Commonwealth, Ole Miss has a homecourt win streak of 14, which is tied for the fourth longest in Rebel basketball history. The following shows the longest homecourt win streaks in Rebel history:
Win Streak Years 29 1996-97 to 1998-99 16 1925-26 to 1927-28 15 1995-96 to 1996-97 14 2001-02 to present 14 1935-36 to 1937-38
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!: Saturday's game versus VCU will be the first of 11 regular-season contests in which the Rebels will be on television. Last year, the Rebels were 6-5 in television games. Under head coach Rod Barnes (since 1998-99), Ole Miss has played 57 television games and has a 34-23 record in those contests.
THE BATTLE LINE IS DRAWN: And that battle line is the three-point line in the Ole Miss-Virginia Commonwealth match-up Saturday. The Rebels lead the Southeastern Conference in three-point field goal percentage defense at 20.7 percent. On the other hand, the Rams shoot 40.5 percent from the arc, which is tops in the Colonial Athletic Association. Opponents have hit only 12 treys against the Ole Miss defense, while VCU has hit 34 three-pointers.
GETTING DEFENSIVE...PART I: Defense has always been a trademark of the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program, and it is continuing in the early part of the 2002-03 campaign. After four games, Ole Miss is holding opponents to 35.4 percent shooting from the field (1st in SEC) and 20.7 percent from the three-point arc (1st in SEC). The Rebels are also holding the opposition to 54.5 points per game (1st in SEC).
Last year, Ole Miss finished third in the league in scoring defense, allowing only 64.3 points per contest.
MORE ON THE REBEL DEFENSE: Ole Miss has held their last two opponents - Austin Peay and George Mason - to below 50 points. The Rebels held George Mason to 49 points and Austin Peay to 46 points. The last time the Rebels held opponents to less than 50 points in consecutive games was Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes' first season in 1998-99. In Barnes' first two games as the Rebel mentor, Ole Miss defeated Alabama State 87-45 Nov. 13, 1998, and Belmont 91-42 Nov. 16, 1998.
HARPER MOVING UP THE CHARTS: Junior Aaron Harper (Jackson, Miss.) has expanded his game in 2002-03 with more drives to the basket and mid-range jumpers. However, that doesn't mean the Rebels' sharp-shooter has given up on the three-point shot.
After four games, Harper is 10-of-20 from the arc and leads the team in three-pointers made. With the 10 treys, Harper is also moving up the career three-pointers made list, and the following shows that:
Career Three-Pointers Made
ALLEN'S BACK!: After a couple of sub-par performances to start the season, it looks as if Derrick Allen (Gadsden, Ala.) is back to the "blue-collar" form of a year ago that made him a fan favorite. In Ole Miss' last two victories over George Mason and Austin Peay, the 6-foot-8 forward averaged 10.5 points and 6.5 boards. Against the Patriots Nov. 30, Allen had 11 points and 9 rebounds, and followed that performance with 10 points and 4 rebounds versus Austin Peay Dec. 4. For the year, Allen is averaging 8.5 points and 5.8 rebounds (second on the team).
...AND SO IS WADE: After getting off to a slow start, senior Emmanuel Wade (Marianna, Ark.) is settling back into his role as the Rebels' 6th man. Last year, Wade took over that role and thrived, giving the Rebels a spark off the bench. And, he has done the same in Ole Miss' last two victories over George Mason and Austin Peay.
In those two games, the 6-foot-3 guard averaged 9.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists. He shot 58.3 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from the arc in those contests.
GETTING DEFENSIVE...PART II: Senior David Sanders (Jackson, Miss.) was named by one preseason publication as the league's top defensive player. Well, the Southeastern Conference schedule hasn't begun yet, but the 6-foot-3 guard is already in mid-season form.
In the Rebels' victory at George Mason Nov. 30, Sanders limited the Patriots' Mark Davis to 11 points - only 2 after halftime - and 4 rebounds. He also forced Davis into 3-of-13 shooting from the field, including 1-of-7 from the three-point line. Entering the contest, Davis was averaging 23.0 points and 5.5 boards, while hitting 35.7 percent from the arc.
MORE ON SANDERS: Entering 2002-03, senior David Sanders knew he would have to take over a large portion of the point guard duties in the early part of the season, and the off-guard (his normal position) has done quite well.
In the Rebels' victory at George Mason Nov. 30, Sanders had an excellent floor game with 10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and only 1 turnover in 33 minutes of action. The 6-foot-3 guard did all that while also shutting down George Mason's top scorer (see previous note).
Sanders continued his solid all-around play against Austin Peay. He had 10 points, 9 boards, 2 assists and only 1 turnover in 33 minutes.
GUNN'S A-BLAZING: Indeed, redshirt junior John Gunn (Oxford, Miss.) came out on fire in the Rebels' victory over Alabama State Nov. 27. After being away from the court for over a year with a kidney illness, the 6-foot-10 forward scored a career-high 16 points against the Hornets. The 16-point performance bested his previous career high of 14 points against Tennessee in the 1999-2000 campaign (Gunn's freshman year). He scored his 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field, and the 8 field goals were also a career best.
Gunn also got the starting nod for the game, which was the second of his career and the first since the 1999-2000 season (started against Prairie View on Dec. 29, 1999).
In the Rebels' game at George Mason Nov. 30, Gunn didn't score, but his aggressive play caused problems for the Patriots. He finished the game with 3 rebounds, 1 block and 1 steal. Against Austin Peay, Gunn had 5 points and 2 boards.
THRICE WOULD BE NICE: Entering the 2002-03 season, the Rebels have three players - Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.), David Sanders and Aaron Harper - who could top 1,000 points for their careers. If all three reach the milestone this year, it would be the first time in Ole Miss basketball history that three Rebels hit the 1,000-point plateau in the same season. After the Rebels' Dec. 4 game against Austin Peay, Reed now has 882 points, Sanders 672 and Harper 745. Although he scored most of his points at Towson University, senior transfer Shaun Holtz (Crystal Springs, Miss.) could also reach 1,000 points for his collegiate career. He has 743 points. The last time Ole Miss had multiple players reach 1,000 points in the same season was 1997-98 when Ansu Sesay and Keith Carter did so.
PEARSON GETS FIRST COLLEGIATE START: It's rare when a freshman gets the starting nod in his first collegiate game, but that is what Trey Pearson (South Fulton, Tenn.) did when the Rebels played at East Carolina Nov. 24. The 6-foot-4 guard had 7 points, 3 assists and 2 rebounds in his debut.
He followed that with a 6-point, 5-rebound, 5-assist performance in Ole Miss' victory over Alabama State Nov. 27. He also started the Alabama State game. Pearson started the Nov. 30 George Mason game, and had 6 points, 3 assists, 1 rebound and 1 steal against the Patriots. He also hit 3-of-4 free throws in the final 9 seconds to seal the win. Pearson got his fourth start of the year against Austin Peay. He had 4 points, 7 boards and 5 assists.
Pearson is only the fourth true freshman since 1995-96 to start his first college game. Jason Smith did so in the 1995-96 season opener, and current Rebels Aaron Harper and Justin Reed also started their first collegiate game in Ole Miss' 2000-01 opener.
AT THE HEAD OF THE CLASS(ES): As a result of the Rebels' success the last six seasons, the recent seniors have taken their places at the top of the charts for the most wins by a senior class. The 2002-03 senior class of Shaun Holtz (Crystal Springs, Miss.), Richard Kirklin (Pine Bluff, Ark.), David Sanders (Jackson, Miss.) and Emmanuel Wade (Marianna, Ark.) entered the year with 66 victories, which was 22 shy of tying the record of 88. After the Rebels' win over Austin Peay Dec. 4, the 2002-03 senior class now has 69 victories. The record of 88 wins was set by the 2000-01 class of John Engstrom, Jason Flanigan, Jason Holmes and Rahim Lockhart. Last year's senior class of Jason Harrison posted the second-most victories with 86 in a four-year span. The 2002-03 senior class has also been a part of the 2001 SEC Western Division championship squad and has been to three-straight postseasons (2 NCAA, 1 NIT). The following chart lists the most successful classes:
Four-Year Span No. of Wins 1997-98 to 2000-01 88 1998-99 to 2001-02 86 1995-96 to 1998-99 74 1979-80 to 1982-83 70 1999-2000 to present 69 1935-36 to 1938-39 63 1994-95 to 1997-98 62 1978-79 to 1981-82 62 1923-24 to 1926-27 62
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 131 games (overall games) since 1996-97, the most by any team in the SEC Western Division. The 131 victories are also second among all league teams, only trailing Kentucky's 172 wins. The following charts show the Rebels' success:
Most Overall/SEC Wins By SEC West Teams
Most Overall/SEC Wins By SEC Teams (Top 6)
OLE MISS RANKED IN TOP 50 IN FIVE PRESEASON PUBLICATIONS/WEB SITES: The Rebels were ranked among the top 50 teams in the country in five preseason publications. Ole Miss is No. 40 in Basketball News, No. 43 in Sporting News, No. 36 in Lindy's, No. 40 in ESPN.com and No. 33 in ESPN.com Bracketology.
INDEED, EXPERIENCE COUNTS: One reason that Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is smiling about the 2002-03 season is because of the number of veterans returning. Four starters are back from the 2001-02 team, and when Ole Miss has had three or more starters return for the following season since 1995-96, it has resulted in a 20-win season and an NCAA Tournament berth. The following chart shows that:
Year Starters/Prev. Yr. Rec./Postseason 1996-97 5 (+6th man) 20-9/NCAA 1997-98 5 (+6th man) 22-7/NCAA 1998-99 3 20-13/NCAA 1999-2000 2 19-14/NIT 2000-01 3 27-8/NCAA 2001-02 3 20-11/NCAA 2002-03 4 (+6th man) ----
OLE MISS PICKED FOURTH IN WEST BY MEDIA: The Ole Miss Rebels were picked to finish in fourth place in the Southeastern Conference Western Division in a vote by media members at the annual conference media day Oct. 30 in Birmingham, Ala. Alabama was picked to win the SEC overall title and the Western Division crown, while Florida was selected to win the Eastern Division championship. The following shows the media's picks for the 2002-03 campaign (first-place votes in parentheses):
REBELS IN GOOD COMPANY: Some say you are judged by the company you keep. If that is true, then the Rebels should be considered among the nation's elite, especially the last six years (1997-2002). Ole Miss is one of only two teams from the Southeastern Conference to post a winning record and participate in postseason play each of the last six seasons. The Rebels played in the NCAA Tournament in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002 and participated in the NIT in 2000. Kentucky is the only other SEC school to have a winning record and play in the postseason (6 NCAA) each of the last six years.
NOT ONLY AN OLE MISS FIRST: When junior forward Justin Reed was named a candidate for the 2002-03 John Wooden Award this past summer, it was the second-consecutive year that his name was on the list for the prestigious honor. The Jackson, Miss., native is first player in Ole Miss history to be a two-time Wooden candidate, and is also the first player among all Mississippi Division I state colleges to be a candidate two-straight years. Reed is Ole Miss' third player to be up for the honor, as John Stroud (1980) and Ansu Sesay (1998) were candidates. Stroud and Sesay both earned Wooden All-America distinction.
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