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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, January 15, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Gym (14,136) -- Nashville, Tennessee. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Ole Miss 9-0, Vanderbilt 4-3. Away Record: Ole Miss 3-1, Vanderbilt 1-2. Neutral Record: Ole Miss 1-1, Vanderbilt 1-3. Conference Record: Ole Miss 2-0, Vanderbilt 0-2. Series Record: Vanderbilt leads, 74-39.
GAME NOTES: The Ole Miss Rebels attempt to extend the SEC's longest current win streak on Tuesday night, as they face off against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Memorial Gym in Nashville.
At 13-2, Ole Miss has been one of the most pleasant surprises in the country, and following a Dec. 22 loss to Indiana State at the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii (87-85 in OT), it has ripped off five straight wins. The club's most recent triumph was its most impressive, as it knocked off nationally-ranked Missouri on Saturday, 64-49. With a win on Tuesday, the Rebels will move to 3-0 in SEC play for the first time since the 2005-06 season.
Success has not come as easily for Vanderbilt, which has dipped below .500 following back-to-back losses to open league play. The Commodores' most recent clash took place at Arkansas and they were handed an embarrassing 56-33 loss. It was one of the worst offensive performances in program history, as they committed 26 turnovers and just narrowly missed their record-low point total of 31 set back in 1982.
Vanderbilt holds a commanding 74-39 advantage in the all-time series with Ole Miss, which includes an incredible 47-5 mark in Nashville.
The majority of Ole Miss' success this season has come thanks to the SEC's top-ranked offense, which accounts for 82.4 ppg (seventh in the nation). Its performance at the offensive end was lackluster against Missouri over the weekend, as it shot below 40 percent from the field, but it earned the 15- point statement victory by holding the high-powered Tigers to just 36.8 percent efficiency, which included a dismal 2-of-18 showing from 3-point range. Murphy Holloway paced the squad with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Jarvis Summer and Marshall Henderson put up 12 and 11 points, respectively, but the two combined to go just 6-of-19 from the floor. On the season, Henderson is the league's most potent scorer, netting 18.6 ppg, and while his field goal percentage leaves a lot to be desired (.397), he has been highly productive at the foul line (.862). Holloway is a dominant force in the frontcourt, tallying 16.1 ppg and 10.8 rpg while piling up a conference-best eight double-doubles. Nick Williams (10.3 ppg), Reginald Buckner (10.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.8 bpg) and Summers (8.0 ppg, 3.5 apg) are all great complementary pieces.
Thanks to Vanderbilt's dreadful shooting performance against Arkansas on Saturday (10-of-40 from the field, 2-of-15 from 3-point range), it now ranks dead last in the SEC in scoring offense (57.6 ppg), field goal percentage (.402), and free throw percentage (.581). The Commodores can hang their hat on an outstanding scoring defense though, as they allow foes to net fewer than 60 ppg, but it's all for naught if they cannot put points on the board. One of the team's only consistent players is Kedren Johnson, who shoots 45.7 percent from the field on his way to 15.7 ppg, but he was shut down by Arkansas, as he tallied just three points while attempting only three field goals and turning the ball over five times. Kyle Fuller nets 11.0 ppg, but does so on less than 40 percent shooting, and Kevin Bright puts up only 5.9 ppg but collects a team-best 6.1 rpg.
Even if Vanderbilt's defensive attack is able to slow the Rebels somewhat, it simply doesn't have the offensive firepower to keep up with the hottest team in the SEC.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ole Miss 71, Vanderbilt 58
01/15 10:32:10 ET
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