Ole Miss (8-1) vs. Indiana State (5-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 22, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) -- Honolulu, Hawaii. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Ole Miss 7-0, Indiana State 3-1. Away Record: Ole Miss 1-1, Indiana State 2-2. Neutral Record: Ole Miss 0-0, Indiana State 0-0. Conference Record: Ole Miss 0-0, Indiana State 0-0. Series Record: Ole Miss leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: Another top-notch program has made the trip to Honolulu, as the Ole Miss Rebels appear in opening-round action of the Diamond Head Classic against the Indiana State Sycamores at the Stan Sheriff Center.
With a record of 8-1 heading into action this weekend, Ole Miss may not be nationally ranked, but the team is joining both Arizona and San Diego State, ranked fourth and 18th, respectively, in this event which should give the Rebels some added exposure on a national scale.
While making their way out West, the Rebels also paid a visit to Loyola Marymount on Wednesday, but barely slipped by in a 73-70 final. The win was the second in a row for an Ole Miss group that bowed to Middle Tennessee back on Dec. 8 by a 65-62 margin on the road.
As for the Sycamores, a team which is 2-2 away from home thus far in 2012-13, they ended a brief two-game slide last weekend with a 75-61 triumph at IUPUI. The victory was the fifth in eight tries overall, but again came against questionable competition, although the team did manage to take nationally- ranked New Mexico to overtime three weeks ago before tasting defeat.
Ole Miss won the only previous matchup between these programs back in 1989 with a 70-64 triumph.
Both teams will be back in action on Sunday to face either San Diego State or San Francisco, depending on the outcomes on Saturday.
Ole Miss led by as many as 11 points against the Lions of LMU a few nights back, but down the stretch the Rebels had to hold off the hosts in what turned into a narrow three-point win at Gersten Pavilion. Except for Reginald Buckner who finished with nine points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots, every starter for the visitors finished in double figures, led by Marshall Henderson who tallied 18 points on 4-of-9 shooting beyond the arc. Murphy Holloway registered his fourth double-double of the campaign with 16 points and 14 rebounds, followed by Nick Williams and Jarvis Summers with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Holloway, now second on the school's all-time rebounding list with 837, is averaging a double-double for the program with 14.8 points and 10.4 boards per outing, numbers that have helped to mask his mere 45.5 percent accuracy at the charity stripe. Henderson (17.8 ppg) has connected on 82.4 percent of his shots at the line, but still this is a team that is making just 64.0 percent in that area. Nonetheless, at this stage of the campaign Ole Miss is one of the top teams in the country in terms of scoring differential with a plus 22.4 ppg even after the close call with LMU.
Leading by six at the half against IUPUI, the Sycamores proceeded to connect on 52.0 percent from the floor after the break in order to cruise to the 14- point win on the road. Manny Arop and Jake Odum both tallied 18 points, the former clearing nine rebounds and the latter added eight boards and three assists, while R.J. Mahurin contributed another 12 points and reserve Khristian Smith tacked on 10 points and four boards in 20 minutes of action for a squad that overcame 18 turnovers by producing a 40-25 rebounding edge. Scoring in double figures in three straight games and six of the last seven, Odum paces the program with 15.5 ppg, his 48-of-62 shooting at the charity stripe a huge portion of his 124 total points thus far. Arop (11.8 ppg) is the other double-digit scorer who is also first on the team with 6.8 rpg. However, for someone who handles the ball as much as Arop does, posting only five assists against 24 turnovers is far from efficient. Odum, on the other hand, accounts for more than a third of the unit's 93 dishes with 34, and has suffered just 16 miscues.
As long as Ole Miss was able to get some rest following the visit to LMU and the lengthy travel has not taken a toll on the Rebels, expect them to move to the winner's side of the tournament bracket.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ole Miss 82, Indiana State 66
12/22 10:39:41 ET