Rebs host always tough UKats
By By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
Sat., Jan. 20, 2001
OXFORD The Ole Miss Rebels don't have long to lick their wounds from a whipping they sustained at the hands of Alabama earlier this week.
That's because the Rebels (14-3, 2-2 SEC) return home to Tad Smith Coliseum today for a Southeastern Conference showdown against Tubby Smith's Kentucky Wildcats (10-5, 3-0 SEC). The game is scheduled for 12:35 p.m. (CT) tip, and will be televised by CBS. Ole Miss, ranked No. 21 in the Associated Press poll and No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, suffered its second straight SEC loss to the Tide on Wednesday, while Kentucky won its seventh straight with a victory over No. 4-ranked Tennessee Tuesday.
Saturday's game will be the 97th meeting between the two schools. The Wildcats hold a lopsided 86-10 lead in the series, including the last three. Ole Miss' last win in the series was a 73-64 victory in Lexington on Valentine's Day, 1998. The Rebels' last win over Kentucky in Oxford was a 73-69 victory in the 1996-97 campaign.
Rebel head coach Rod Barnes is 0-3 versus Kentucky and 0-1 versus the Wildcats in Tad Smith Coliseum. But oddly enough, for the first time in the history of the series, the Rebels enter the contest with the higher national ranking.
Kentucky has won seven straight, with its last setback a narrow 46-45 loss at powerful Michigan State in mid-December. Today's game mark's the Cats first on the road this year.
The bluegrass duo of Keith Bogans and Tayshaun Prince pace the Kentucky offense. Bogans is the team's top scorer with a 16.4 average, while Prince is second with a 13.8 average.
Prince leads the Wildcats on the boards with a 6.1 rebounding average. Marquis Estill is the team's top shooter from the field at 57.3 percent, while Bogans is the squad's top three-point threat at 37.4 percent.
Kentucky is shooting 47.4 percent from the floor, and are out-rebounding its opponents by an average of 4.3 rebounds per contest.
For the Rebs' it will have to be more and more in the middle from Rahim Lockhart. He had his best offensive performance in SEC play against Alabama with 17 points and six boards. The center is now averaging 10.3 points, and is now No. 10 on the school's career rebounding list, as well as second on the career blocked shots chart.
Ole Miss, who will be making its 11th television appearance of the year with today's tilt, are holding opponents to an average of 63.2 points per game, which is still tops in the league The Reb's next two contests will also be televised.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org