GAME 11: Ole Miss (9-1) at Southern Miss (7-2) Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011 | 3:30 p.m. CT Hattiesburg, Miss. | Reed Green Coliseum (8,095)
MEDIA Television: FSN (Ron Thulin, play-by-play; Dan Bonner, analyst; Jenn Hildreth, sideline reporter). Live Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Keith Carter, analyst). Satellite Radio: SIRIUS 220, XM 200 Live Video: ESPN3.com Live Audio: RebelVision Gametracker
Ole Miss has won at least nine of its first 10 games for the third time in the last six years. With the win over UL-Lafayette, Andy Kennedy has the most wins by a Rebel coach in his first six years (114). Freshman G LaDarius White made his Rebel debut vs. MVSU (team-high 16 points). Ole Miss is playing in Hattiesburg for the first time since Dec. 22, 1994. Ole Miss has a 17-6 record versus current Conference USA teams since the league was formed in the spring of 1995. The Rebels are 2-0 in true road games so far this season (wins at DePaul and Penn State). Junior F Reginald Buckner needs 2 blocks to take over sole possession of the school's all-time career record. He currently ranks t-2nd in the SEC and 18th nationally with 2.5 blocks/game. The Rebels are 74-18 in non-conference games under Andy Kennedy. Rookie G Jarvis Summers was last week's SEC Freshman of the Week after scoring 27 points at Penn State and making clutch plays down the stretch in wins over the Nittany Lions and DePaul. Junior F Murphy Holloway leads all SEC players and ranks 26th nationally in rebounding (9.8). Five Rebels average double-figure points, and six players have led the team in scoring at least once this year.
IN-STATE BRAGGING RIGHTS ON THE LINE Ole Miss will seek its seventh straight win on Saturday when the Rebels travel into hostile territory for an in-state showdown against Southern Miss in Hattiesburg. Ole Miss hasn't visited Hattiesburg since Dec. 22, 1994. The Rebels have won six straight on their way to a 9-1 start to the year. They are 2-0 in true road games so far with wins at DePaul and Penn State.
HOT START With a 9-1 start this season, the Rebels have won at least nine of their first 10 games for the third time in Andy Kennedy's six seasons at the helm. Their record through 10 games was 9-1 in 2009-10 and 10-0 in 2007-08. Through 10 games last season, Ole Miss was 8-2. The Rebels are looking to start 10-1 for the third time since 2007-08.
MOST WINS IN FIRST SIX SEASONS With Wednesday's victory over Louisiana-Lafayette, Andy Kennedy surpassed Rod Barnes for the most wins (114) in the first six seasons as Ole Miss head coach. Kennedy's 114 wins already rank third in school history behind B.L. "Country" Graham (144 wins in 13 seasons) and Barnes (141 wins in 8 seasons).
WHITE MAKES SPLASH IN DEBUT, KENDRICK COMING TOO Freshman guard LaDarius "Snoop" White led the Rebels with 16 points in his anticipated college debut against Mississippi Valley State. He made four 3-pointers and scored 14 points in the first half alone. The NCAA required him to sit out the fall semester due to academic requirements he needed to fulfill. Redshirt-freshman Jelan Kendrick is also now eligible to play after sitting out a full year since transferring from Memphis. The 6-foot-6 White and 6-foot-7 Kendrick add instant height, length and versatility to the Rebels' backcourt.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN EAGLES Southern Miss has won its last three games and built a 7-2 record to start the season. Larry Eustachy's club has a quality road win at Colorado State, and its only losses are at Denver and in double OT against still undefeated Murray State (currently No. 24 in AP poll) in the Great Alaska Shootout. The Golden Eagles are 3-0 at home, including their most recent 78-62 win over Louisiana Tech, which is coached by former Ole Miss player and assistant coach Michael White. USM averages 73.9 ppg to its opponents' 63.2 (+10.7 scoring margin) and out-rebound their opponents by 6.3 per game. Four Golden Eagles average double-figure points, led by LaShay Page at 15.3 ppg. Maurice Bolden adds 12.8 ppg and 7.2 rpg, while Angelo Johnson chips in 12.4 ppg and Neil Watson 10.7 ppg.
OLE MISS-USM SERIES The Rebels and Golden Eagles will be meeting for the 24th time in the history of the series, with Ole Miss holding an 18-5 overall advantage. Ole Miss has won three of four meetings since the current five-year series began in 2007. Saturday will mark the Rebels' first visit to Hattiesburg since Dec. 22, 1994 (Southern Miss won 76-69). Ole Miss owns a 4-3 edge in games played in Hattiesburg, but it hasn't won there since Dec. 12, 1973. Chris Warren scored 20 points and made a pair of late 3-pointers in an 86-81 Rebel win last year in Oxford. Zach Graham added 16 points and Nick Williams 13 as the Rebels beat the Golden Eagles for the second time in a row.
OLE MISS VERSUS C-USA FOES In non-SEC play, Conference-USA is Ole Miss' most faced league. Southern Miss is the first of two C-USA foes on this year's schedule (SMU, Jan. 3). The Rebels have an all-time record of 82-98 (.456 winning percentage) against current members of Conference USA. Ole Miss has a 17-6 record versus current C-USA teams since the league was formed in the spring of 1995.
A GAME THAT COULD MATTER IN MARCH RPI rankings don't necessarily mean very much this early in the season, but Saturday's game could very well become an important one when the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee examines the resumes of both teams in March. As of Thursday, Southern Miss has the nation's 13th-best RPI, while Ole Miss sits at No. 35, according to RealTimeRPI.com.
ROAD WARRIORS Ole Miss is 2-0 in true road games with clutch come-from-behind wins at DePaul and Penn State. Andy Kennedy's squad is 4-1 overall in games away from Oxford, which includes at 2-1 mark at the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam. The only defeat there was at the hands of Marquette, which remains undefeated and has risen to No. 11 in the national polls.
NON-CONFERENCE SUCCESS The Rebels boast a 74-18 record (.804 win pct.) against teams outside the SEC since Andy Kennedy took over in 2006-07, including a 50-2 mark at home. The Rebels are 9-1 against non-league teams this year and went 12-4 a year ago, including a 12-3 mark during the regular season.
BUCKNER NEARS ALL-TIME SCHOOL BLOCKS RECORD Junior F Reginald Buckner needs one blocked shot to tie and two to break the all-time school career record. He did not block a shot against Louisiana-Lafayette after swatting six against Mississippi Valley State. In just 72 games, the Memphis native has accumulated 179 blocks, which is second-most among active SEC players (Alabama's JaMychal Green has 186). The school record is held by Sean Murphy, who had 180 blocks in 117 games from 1988-91. Buckner's 2.5 blocks average this season ranks second among SEC players and entered the week at 18th nationally. He already holds the school record for blocks in a season and game.
HOLLOWAY RETURNS WITH BIG NUMBERS Junior F Murphy Holloway has posted some big numbers in his first games back as a Rebel (following a one-year stint in South Carolina) and averages 10.7 ppg and an SEC-leading 9.8 rpg. He entered the week ranked 26th nationally in rebounding. He's the only league player to have at least two 17-rebound games (Louisiana-Monroe and Miami). He is tied for second among SEC players with four double-doubles this year and ranks second among active league players with 18 in his career. He was the SEC Player of the Week after helping Ole Miss to wins over TCU and Miami.
NELSON WITH THE HOT HAND FROM OUTSIDE Sophomore G Dundrecous Nelson has been hot from downtown of late. He has hit at least two 3-pointers in each of his last three games, including five in the most recent outing vs. Louisiana-Lafayette. The Jackson, Miss., native has strung together six straight double-digit scoring performances after struggling with his shot in the first few games of the season. He now ranks 16th among all SEC players with a 13.0 scoring average.
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