Ole Miss (19-12) vs. Tennessee (18-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 9, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: New Orleans Arena (18,500) -- New Orleans, Louisiana. Television: SEC Network. Home Record: Ole Miss 12-2, Tennessee 14-3. Away Record: Ole Miss 4-8, Tennessee 3-8. Neutral Record: Ole Miss 3-2, Tennessee 1-2. Conference Record: Ole Miss 8-8, Tennessee 10-6. Series Record: Tennessee leads, 69-38.
GAME NOTES: After advancing past their first-round matchup, the seventh-seeded Ole Miss Rebels are set to take on the second-seeded Tennessee Volunteers this evening in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Ole Miss made relatively easy work of 10th-seeded Auburn in the first round, downing the Tigers in a 68-54 final. The win was the Rebels' fourth straight dating back to the regular season, as they now sport a solid 19-12 overall record.
Tennessee experienced a solid, albeit unspectacular season overall, conjuring up an 18-13 record, though it was able to accomplish great things in the SEC. Highlighted by a series sweep of nationally-ranked Florida, the Vols finished the regular season tied for second in the conference with a 10-6 record, and by virtue of the tie-breaker, they earned the second-seed. UT rolls into the tournament with plenty of momentum, having won four in a row and eight of its last nine.
Tennessee has a sizeable advantage in the all-time series with Ole Miss, 69-38, which includes a 73-60 win in Knoxville on Feb. 22 in the only meeting between the two during the regular season.
Though Ole Miss shot a modest 43.8 percent from the floor in Thursday's game against Auburn, it was able to roll to a 14-point victory behind a stout defense, holding the Tigers to a woeful 32.7 percent shooting from the field, including 5-of-21 from three-point range. Nick Williams paced all scorers with a season-high 22 points for the Rebels, while Murphy Holloway logged a double- double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. On the season, the Ole Miss offense puts up 66.1 ppg on 43.1 percent field goal efficiency, and it is led by senior Terrance Henry with 12.3 ppg. Holloway (11.1 ppg) and Williams (10.2 ppg) are positive contributors to the scoring attack, with Holloway also ranking third in the conference in rebounding with 8.9 per contest. Overall, the Rebels are one of the better rebounding teams in the SEC, owning a positive margin of +3.0.
Tennessee has been successful this season despite some rather modest statistics, as it ranks sixth in the SEC in both scoring offense (68.9 ppg) and scoring defense (65.1 ppg). It is able to take advantage of solid production from the three-point line (213 treys) and it is also the conference's second-most effective team on the glass (+3.4 rebounding margin). Trae Golden has been the Vols' primary playmaker this season, leading the team in scoring with 13.4 ppg and ranking fourth in the conference in assists with 4.5 per contest. Jeronne Maymon has been a solid presence in the paint, scoring 12.6 ppg while grabbing a team-high 7.8 rpg. When UT struggles, it is usually due to a problem hanging on to the ball, as it ranks last in the conference in turnover margin (-1.94).
This game is bound to be much closer than the seedings suggest, as Tennessee has not been very good away from Knoxville, going a combined 4-10 in road and neutral-site games. Both teams have been running hot lately, but the Vols will ride success from behind the three-point line to take down the Rebels.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee 70, Ole Miss 67
03/09 10:33:09 ET