Top 25 Teams Clash As Ole Miss Meets USC

Dec. 22, 2000

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#24/#25 Ole Miss (10-0) vs. #13/#13 Southern Cal (8-0)
Friday, December 22 @ 12:00 a.m. (CT)
Yahoo! Sports Invitational
Cannon Activities Center - Laie, Hawaii

OLE MISS TO MEET SOUTHERN CAL IN CLASH OF NATIONALLY-RANKED TEAMS FRIDAY
The Ole Miss Rebels (10-0) will meet Southern Cal (8-0) in the Yahoo! Sports Invitational championship bracket semifinals Friday, Dec. 22. Game time is 12:00 a.m. (CT). Friday's encounter will be a match-up of nationally-ranked teams. Ole Miss is ranked No. 24 in the Associated Press (AP) Top 25 poll and No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 poll. The Trojans are ranked No. 13 in both polls.

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 49-27 (.645 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 NCAA Tournament 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-SOUTHERN CAL SERIES
Friday's game will be the first meeting between the schools on the hardwood.

AND THEN THERE WERE THREE...
Ole Miss is one of three NCAA Division I schools to have both its men's and women's basketball teams undefeated as of Dec. 21. The Rebels are currently 10-0, while the Lady Rebels are 11-0 after winning the Beach Classic at Long Beach State earlier this week. The other two schools that have accomplished the feat are Alabama and Baylor.

REBELS VERSUS THE PAC-10 CONFERENCE
The Rebels have an all-time record of 3-0 versus current members of the Pac-10 Conference. Ole Miss is 1-0 versus Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon State?with all three victories coming in regular-season tournament play. The Rebels defeated the Wildcats, 75-70 in the 1953 Memphis Invitational, and beat the Sun Devils, 76-63 in the 1986 Holiday Bowl Classic. Last year, Ole Miss defeated Oregon State, 77-58 in the second round of the SoCon Holiday Hoope Tournament in Greenville, S.C. The Rebels went on to win the SoCon title with a 57-53 win over Wisconsin-Green Bay.

REBELS OFF TO BEST START SINCE 1936-37
With their victory over Southern Illinois Dec. 21, the Rebels remained undefeated at 10-0, marking the program's best start since the 1936-37 team began that year with an 11-0 record. That 11-0 start by the 1936-37 squad is the best in the program's history. Last year (1999-2000), Ole Miss started the campaign with a 6-0 record before losing its first game at Oklahoma, 81-73.

STREAKING REBELS
Ole Miss is currently on a 10-game win streak entering second-round play at the Yahoo! Sports Invitational Dec. 22. The 10-game win streak is the second longest in the program's history. The 1936-37 and 1937-38 teams both posted 11-game win streaks.

REBELS IMPRESSIVE AWAY FROM CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES
Ole Miss has only made three trips -- including this one -- away from the continental United States in its history, but the Rebels may want to keep scheduling games outside the continental U.S. Ole Miss has an 8-1 record (.889 winning percentage) in games played outside the continental U.S., including Thursday's 70-66 win over Southern Illinois in the Yahoo! Sports Invitational first round. The Rebels went 2-1 in the 1998 Puerto Rico Holiday Classic, falling to eventual 1999 NCAA Final Four participant Ohio State in the championship game. Following the 1996-97 campaign, Ole Miss posted a 5-0 record in an exhibition tour of Australia in May.

OLE MISS VERSUS FIRST TIME FOES
Ole Miss will face its second first-time opponent of the 2000-01 season when it meets Southern Cal Friday. The Rebels defeated Kansas State, 60-46 Dec. 5, and will meet Morris Brown for the first time Dec. 30. Last year, Ole Miss posted a 3-0 record versus first-time foes with wins over Oregon State (77-58), Virginia Commonwealth (75-62) and Southwest Missouri State (70-48). Since the 1998-99 campaign, Ole Miss has an 8-2 record (.800 winning percentage) versus first-time foes.

BARNES GOING FOR 50
Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes is nearing 50 -- and it's a good thing. With Ole Miss' next victory, Barnes will hit the 50-win plateau for his career. He has a current record of 49-27.

HITTING 'EM WHEN THEY COUNT
The Rebels haven't had a reputation for hitting a high percentage from the charity stripe the last couple of seasons, especially down the stretch in games. However, that may be changing in 2000-01. Ole Miss is hitting 66.8 percent from the foul line for the season, but more importantly, the Rebels are hitting their foul shots down the stretch. In their five narrow wins over Sam Houston State, VCU, Oklahoma, Memphis and Southern Illinois, the Rebels shot 80 percent from the line (40-of-50) in the final four minutes (and overtime) of those games.

MOVING ON UP THE CHARTS
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 597 career rebounds, after grabbing nine boards in the Rebels' victory over Southern Illinois Thursday. Lockhart is in the No. 12 spot on the Ole Miss career rebounding list, moving past Keith Carter (1996-99, 596 career rebounds) in Thursday's contest.

FLANIGAN IN THE CLUTCH
Throughout his career, Jason Flanigan has not had the reputation of being a scorer. However, the last two seasons when the Rebels have needed him to step forward on the offensive end, the 6-foot-1 guard has responded. He did it again Thursday versus Southern Illinois. With the Salukis beginning to take control of the game early in the second half, Flanigan hit three treys in a three-minute stretch to keep the Rebels to within striking distance. The three treys tied a career best. He also hit two key free throws with six minutes left to widen the Rebel lead.

In the Rebels' victory over Memphis Dec. 9, Flanigan netted a season-high 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field, including a career-high three treys. Flanigan nailed a key three-pointer in the first half to extend the Rebel margin, and later in the second half, he hit his third trey of the game to halt a Tiger rally.

Earlier this season, Flanigan came up big for the Rebels in their victory over VCU. 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.

CLOSING IN ON THE HEAD OF THE CLASS(ES)
This year's senior class of Jason Flanigan and Rahim Lockhart and junior redshirt John Engstrom are closing in on the record of most victories by a class in a four-year span. The record is 74 wins by the 1998-99 class of Hunter Carpenter, Keith Carter, Jason Smith and Michael White. After Ole Miss' victory over Southern Illinois Thursday, this class has now won 71 games, just three behind the record. This senior class has also been a part of the 1998 SEC Western Division championship squad and has been to three straight postseasons (2 NCAA, 1 NIT).

TIP-INS...
Although Ole Miss and Southern Cal have never met, the Trojans are familiar with the SEC. Southern Cal has an 18-12 record versus SEC teams in its history...David Sanders dished out a career-high four assists versus Southern Illinois...Jason Flanigan passed the 600-point plateau for his career Thursday. He now has 610 points...David Sanders also scored a career-high 15 points Thursday...The Rebels now have a 77-9 record when scoring 70 or more points since the 1996-97 season.

 

 

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