Originally posted on College Chalktalk  |  Last updated 1/3/13
Buckner is averaging 10 points and seven boards to go along with his 2.8 blocks a night.  (Credit: Robert Jordan, Ole Miss) Few pundits believed Ole Miss would be one of only two teams (Missouri is the other) in the SEC to have 10 wins going into the first week of January. Ole Miss has not been in the NCAA Tournament since 2002, which is the longest drought of any SEC team even though coach Andy Kennedy has led his team to the 20-win mark five of the past six seasons. Granted the Rebels have not played a brutal schedule, but they have shown promise by leading the league in several team and individual categories. The Rebels latest game was an 81-66 win on Christmas Day against Hawaii in the Diamond Head Classic that secured a fifth place finish. Ole Miss missed out on its chance to play ranked teams San Diego State or Arizona by losing its opener in the Diamond Head Classic to Indiana State (their only other loss was to Middle Tennessee). Still, Kennedy was pleased that his team closed out the 2012 portion of this season’s schedule with a 10-2 record. The neutral-site win against Hawaii might help them with the NCAA Selection Committee. Murphy Holloway led the Rebels with 18 points in the Hawaii win. Nick Williams and Marshall Henderson scored 16 points each and Aaron Jones added 10 for the Rebels, who broke away from a game tied at 63 to finish on an 18-3 run. Against San Francisco two nights previously, Holloway had his sixth double-double of the season (23 points, 13 rebounds). Holloway is averaging a double-double, with 15.8 points per game (No. 8 in the SEC) and 10.9 rebounds per game (No. 1 in the SEC). He averaged 11 ppg and nine rpg last season. Holloway is already in the top ten in school history in four categories– rebounds, steals, field goal percentage and double-doubles. Henderson is No. 1 in SEC in scoring with a 17.9 ppg average. He is also No. 1 in 3- point shots made with 4.1 per game. Henderson, who was the NJCAA National Player of the Year in 2011-12, was a former starter at Utah. Point guard Jarvis Summers leads the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio at 5.0 with 45 assists and just nine turnovers. He averaged nearly four assists per game last season. Reginald Buckner, who is 6-foot-9, is No. 2 in the SEC in blocked shots with 2.8 per game. Buckner has three of the top six single-game block totals in school history. In terms of team stats, Ole Miss ranks No. 2 in the SEC in scoring margin (18 ppg) and No. 2 in field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to make just 26 % of their shots. The Rebels are No. 2 in the league in scoring averaging 82 yards per game (they were only No. 7 last season averaging 66 ppg) and they are No. 2 in blocked shots averaging 5.9 bpg. They are No. 3 in steals averaging 9.8 steals per game and No. 2 in turnover margin (plus 6). After a January 4 home game against Fordham, the Rebels crank up SEC action at Tennessee then they return home against Missouri before traveling to Nashville to face Vanderbilt. One of the disappointing aspects of the offseason was the loss of forward Jason Carter who has been dismissed from the basketball team for an unspecified violation of team rules. The 6-foot-8 transfer from Chipola (Fla.) Junior College was supposed to add depth in the frontcourt, but he was suspended before the first exhibition game of the season by Kennedy and never played in a game. Regardless, these Rebels could be a pleasant surprise come NCAA Tournament time.   Related Posts:SEC Notebook: The Murphy editionSEC NotebookRice looking for fiestiness, efficiency from Scarlet KnightsNo easy buckets in the SECTough Early Schedule Prepares Hogs for SEC
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