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Rebels Host Aggies in Key SEC Matchup

National Signing Day will grab most of the headlines Wednesday, but there's also an important basketball game in Oxford, as Ole Miss hosts Texas A&M in a matchup of two of the hottest teams in the Southeastern Conference. 

The Rebels have won three straight games, their first three-game winning streak since November, while the Aggies have won six straight games after dropping each of its first two SEC contests, both without leading scorer and rebounder Jalen Jones.

"We're playing better," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "The two home games (Florida and Mississippi State), for us to win them in the fashion we did, battling back, and then to go to Missouri and lead the game from tip to buzzer, our team is continuing to evolve, which is what you want as you enter the month of February."

As the calendar turns to February, RPI rankings and bracket projections become more in focus and take on greater importance. Ole Miss ranks No. 47 in the latest RPI rankings released by the NCAA and boasts two RPI top-50 wins over Arkansas (No. 24) and Cincinnati (No. 34), looking for a third top-50 win in Texas A&M, which is ranked No. 32 entering Wednesday's game.

Looking at the NCAA Tournament bracket projections, CBSSports.com, ESPN.com and USA Today all have the Rebels among one of the last four teams into the field. The same three projections also have Texas A&M in the field, as CBSSports.com has the Aggies among one of the last four in, ESPN has them as one of the last four teams with a bye and USA Today with them solidly in the field.

"We don't really pay attention to it, but Coach does and he's always talking about that," said Ole Miss forward Anthony Perez of the RPI and NCAA Tournament talk. "When he talks to us, he always talks about the RPI and all that stuff. He lets us know where we are, what teams are ahead of us and what teams we have to beat."

Texas A&M is led by a pair of transfers in Jones (SMU) and Danuel House (Houston), the reigning SEC Player of the Week, who each average 14.2 points per game, while Alex Caruso, the SEC assists leader from last season, leads the the league in the same category this season, averaging 5.6 assists per game.

Defensively, the Aggies rank second in the SEC in field goal percentage defense (.377), while leading the league in 2-point field goal percentage defense (.401) and rebounding margin (+3.9/game).

Texas A&M, like Ole Miss, played No. 1 unbeaten Kentucky, the lone unbeaten team in the nation, to the wire, falling 70-64 in double overtime, despite the absence of Jones.

"You bring in Jalen Jones and Danuel House, two all-leaguer caliber players, and you couple them with the guys they returned, and Billy (Kennedy) has them playing at a really high level. They're good defensively and they can hurt you with a number of things offensively. They're going to pose a number of challenges for us."

Kennedy has been pleased with his team's progress but also said this team has a long way to go to reach its potential, as they enter the heart of SEC play and NCAA Tournament talk heats up.

"I'm proud of the things we have done," Kennedy said. "We have moved the program forward, and I think this team has chance to take another step. I like where we are right now, but I don't think we're close to being what we can be."

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    Tiffany J. Moore said:

    This is amazing with what he have done so far! Hope that he'll achieve more in the future!

    in post Evan Engram Hauls in Midseason Accolades

    Fiftyyears fan said:

    How can you have five straight top 25 recruiting classes and look as bad as Ole Miss has this year. Easy lack of coaching fundamentals. Look at Mason at Vandy, nothing but 2 and 3 star recruits out of high school and he developers players that want to win. Hugh freeze has 3, 4 & 5 recruits and he expects them to win because of what they were in High School. Mr. Freeze you have not been teaching the fundamentals of football or winning in life. Mr. Freeze you have quit on your players because you have some false expectations of what they are instead of what you can develop in them. Either do your job or quit. Oh yea, please quit running your smoke and mirrors offense, everyone has figured it out. Run a physical offense that can open up holes for your running backs and then your pass attack want require 12 are 14 four and five star receivers. Mr. Freeze you have problems and you need to know that you are not smarter than the rest of the coaches in the SEC.

    in post Rebels Unable to Send Senior Class Out on a High Note

    Karen Holden said:

    Not every pass can be caught. Too low, too short whatever. Not every Kelly pass is perfect. Records were broken by receivers also. But they sre not going to catch every ball thrown. The loss to Auburn was not one players fault. You win or lose as a team.

    in post Late Mistake Spoils Chad Kelly's Historic Performance

    Trent browning said:

    Hey I was just wandering if these are the only 2 olemiss players signing. If there are more signing please respond to me ASAP. Also wondering if neil everett will sign any autographs. Thank you very much

    in post Heisman House Tour Heads to Oxford for Ole Miss-Georgia

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