Men's Basketball Game Notes
Dec. 23, 2002
REBELS ON TELEVISION AND RADIO
OLE MISS PROBABLES
OLE MISS/EVANSVILLE TEAM COMPARISONS
REBEL GAME NOTES
Ole Miss (6-2) bounced back after its setback to Memphis Dec. 19 with a 63-52 victory over Nicholls State Dec. 21. Prior to the Memphis setback, Ole Miss had won five straight over Alabama State, George Mason, Austin Peay, VCU and Louisiana-Monroe. Evansville (3-4) dropped a 76-58 decision to Murray State Dec. 21.
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 a 92-48 record (.657 winning percentage). He is 6-2 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-EVANSVILLE SERIES: Monday's game will be the first meeting between the two schools on the hardwood.
SCOUTING EVANSVILLE: The Purple Aces enter Monday's game with a 3-4 overall record. Evansville fell to Murray State 76-58 Dec. 21. Prior to that loss, the Purple Aces defeated Austin Peay 95-85. Junior forward Clint Cuffle leads three Purple Aces in double figures with a 19.1 scoring average. Ian Hanavan (17.4 ppg) and Dan Lytle (13.6 ppg) are also averaging double digits. Hanavan leads Evansville on the boards with a 6.7 rebounding average. Lytle is hitting a blistering 56.7 percent from the floor, while Cuffle is the team's top three-point threat at 57.1 percent. The Purple Aces have been shooting the ball well, hitting 51.9 percent from the floor. Evansville is shooting 40.7 percent from the three-point line and 66.1 percent from the foul line. Steve Merfeld is in his first season as head coach at Evansville.
REBELS VERSUS FIRST-TIME FOES: Ole Miss will face its second and final first-time opponent of the 2002-03 regular season when the Rebels play Evansville Monday. The Rebels' only other first-time foe during the regular season was East Carolina Nov. 24. Ole Miss dropped a 65-58 decision to the Pirates.
Last year, Ole Miss was 4-2 against first-time opponents with wins over Alaska-Fairbanks (75-58), Tennessee-Martin (83-72), IUPUI (77-70) and UTEP (68-58) and setbacks to George Mason (71-70) and UCLA (80-58). Since the 1998-99 season, Ole Miss has a 14-6 record (.700 winning percentage) versus first-time foes.
COMMON OPPONENTS: The Rebels and the Purple Aces have played one common opponent this season. Both posted wins over Austin Peay. The following shows the results of those games:
Ole Miss Opponent Evansville 74-46, W (H) Austin Peay 95-85, W (H)
REBELS VERSUS THE MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE: The Rebels have an all-time record of 6-7 (.462 winning percentage) versus current members of the Missouri Valley Conference. Ole Miss is 1-0 versus Indiana State and Southwest Missouri State, 2-2 versus Wichita State, 1-2 versus Bradley and Southern Illinois and 0-1 versus Illinois State. The Rebels have not played Creighton, Evansville, Northern Iowa and Drake. The last time Ole Miss played a member of the Missouri Valley Conference was the 2000-01 campaign when it defeated Southern Illinois 70-66 in the first round of the Yahoo! Sports Invitational in Hawaii.
ANOTHER CONNECTION?: Well, sort of, and it may be a little stretch, but here it is. Evansville head coach Steve Merfeld was the head coach at Hampton in the 2000-01 season. In the 2001 NCAA Tournament, Merfeld led No. 15 seed Hampton to an upset over No. 2 seed Iowa State in the first round. That same season Ole Miss faced Iowa State in the title game of the Yahoo! Sports Invitational in Hawaii in December. The Rebels dropped a 73-68 decision to the Cyclones.
REED MISSES FIRST COLLEGE GAME: Junior Wooden Award candidate Justin Reed (Jackson, Miss.) missed the first game of his collegiate career Dec. 21 when he did not play against Nicholls State. The 6-foot-8 forward suffered an injury to his right eye in the first half of the Dec. 19 game at Memphis. His status is day-to-day. Prior to missing the Nicholls State contest, Reed had played in 73-consecutive games.
GOING FOR WIN NO. 999: 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 the 63-52 win over Nicholls State Dec. 21, the Rebels' all-time record is now 998-1082.
"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 96 of its last 105 games (.914 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 124-30 (.805 winning percentage).
In head coach Rod Barnes' era, the Rebels have a home record of 59-8 (.881 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 5-0 Totals 59-8
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 329-156 (.678 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 Monday's game versus Evansville, Ole Miss has a homecourt win streak of 17, which is the second 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 17 2001-02 to present 16 1925-26 to 1927-28 15 1995-96 to 1996-97 14 1935-36 to 1937-38
REBELS TOUGH ON NON-CONFERENCE FOES IN RECENT YEARS: In the last 10 years (including 2002-03), the Rebels have posted a 91-30 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 79-22 mark (.782 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* 6-2 Totals 91-30 *Totals Under Barnes 56-13
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 92-48. The 92 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 8 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:
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 62-28 record (.689 winning percentage) in December games since 1990-91. The Rebels are 24-4 (.857 winning percentage) in December the last four years (6-1 in 1999-2000; 8-1 in 2000-01; 6-1 in 2001-02; 4-1 in 2002-03).
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 8 games, Harper is 20-of-38 from the arc (52.6 percent) and leads the team in three-pointers made. With the 20 treys, Harper is moving up the career three-pointers made list, and the following shows that:
Career Three-Pointers Made
HARPER'S OVER 800... In the Nicholls State game Dec. 21, junior Aaron Harper moved not only up the three-point chart but also closer to 1,000-point milestone for his career. Entering the game against the Colonels, the 6-foot-7 forward had 784 career points, and after his 21-point performance, he now has 805.
REED OVER 900... Junior Wooden Award candidate Justin Reed entered the Dec. 14 VCU contest needing 18 points to reach the 900-point milestone. Well, the 6-foot-8 forward wasted no time in getting there with a 22-point performance in the 82-68 win over the Rams. Reed now has 932 points and needs 68 to become the 27th player in Rebel history to reach 1,000.
...AND SANDERS OVER 700: Senior David Sanders (Jackson, Miss.) had 12 points in Ole Miss' victory over Louisiana-Monroe Dec. 17, and with that, he went over the 700-point plateau for his career. Entering Monday's game versus Evansville, Sanders has 709 career points.
THRICE WOULD BE NICE: Entering the 2002-03 season, the Rebels have three players - Justin Reed, 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. 21 game against Nicholls State, Reed has 932 points, Sanders 709 and Harper 805.
Although he scored most of his points at Towson University, senior transfer Shaun Holtz (Crystal Springs, Miss.) - who saw his first action of the year versus VCU Dec. 14 after sitting out with a back injury - could also reach 1,000 points for his collegiate career. He now has 746 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.
IS HE REALLY A FRESHMAN?: The roster has Trey Pearson (South Fulton, Tenn.) listed as a true freshman, but he is sure not playing like one. The 6-foot-4 guard is only averaging 5.4 points per game, but it's his total floor game that has been impressive. In his first 8 games (all starts), Pearson has only 10 turnovers while averaging over 28 minutes per contest. He is tied for the team lead in assists with 30, and has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3-to-1.
Pearson is only the fourth true freshman since 1995-96 to start his first college game at Ole Miss. 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. The following shows how solid Pearson has been:
* hit 3-of-4 FTs in final :09 to seal the win
FOUR PLUS DOUBLE FIGURES EQUALS WINS: It's a rather odd equation, but it is adding up for Ole Miss again in 2002-03. The Rebels have had 3 games this year in which four or more players have scored in double figures. Ole Miss is 3-0 in those games. Last year, the Rebels had 19 games in which four or more players netted double digits. Ole Miss was 16-3 in those games, including an 8-1 mark in SEC action.
WADE'S BACK!: 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 6 games.
In those games, the 6-foot-3 guard averaged 8.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists. He shot 52.9 percent from the field, 46.7 percent from the arc and 71.4 percent from the free throw line in the 6 games.
Against Memphis, Wade was on fire in the second half, scoring all 13 of his points after the break. He added 2 rebounds and 4 assists. He earned his first start of the 2002-03 season against Nicholls State Dec. 21 and had 8 points, 1 rebound and 2 assists.
GETTING DEFENSIVE: 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 7 games, Ole Miss is holding opponents to 37.6 percent shooting from the field (5th in SEC) and 27.6 percent from the three-point arc (1st in SEC). The Rebels are also holding the opposition to 56.6 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.
THERE'S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes has said that junior Wooden Award candidate Justin Reed is showing more leadership qualities in recent games. That leadership has been seen not only in his encouragement of teammates, but also in his offensive output.
In the Rebels' 2 games versus VCU and Louisiana-Monroe, the 6-foot-8 forward has scored 22 and 21 points, respectively. It was the first time in his Rebel career that Reed has netted 20 or more points in back-to-back games. He now has seven 20-point performances in his career.
Reed averaged 21.5 points and 6.5 rebounds and shot 66.7 percent from the field (16-of-24), 100 percent from the three-point arc (1-of-1) and 76.9 percent from the charity stripe (10-of-13) in those 2 contests.
MORE ON THE REBEL DEFENSE: Ole Miss held Austin Peay Dec. 4 and George Mason Nov. 30 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.
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 Derrick Allen (Gadsden, Ala.), Shaun Holtz, David Sanders and Emmanuel Wade entered the year with 66 victories, which was 22 shy of tying the record of 88. After the Rebels' win over Nicholls State Dec. 21, the 2002-03 senior class now has 72 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 1999-2000 to present 72 1979-80 to 1982-83 70 1935-36 to 1938-39 63 1994-95 to 1997-98 62 1978-79 to 1981-82 62 1923-24 to 1926-27 62
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.
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 134 games (overall games) since 1996-97, the most by any team in the SEC Western Division. The 134 victories are also second among all league teams, only trailing Kentucky's 173 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)
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.
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):
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