Ole Miss (11-2) at Tennessee (8-4)
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 8:00 p.m. ET
Thompson-Boling Arena (21,678) . Knoxville, Tenn.
TV: ESPN or ESPN2
Radio: Vol Network (WGOW-FM 102.3, Chattanooga)
Series Record: Tennessee leads, 69-39
Probable Ole Miss Starters
F-Reginald Bucker, 6-9, 245, SR (10.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 3.0 bpg)
F-Murphy Holloway, 6-7, 240, SR (15.8 ppg, 10.9 rpg)
G-LaDarius White, 6-6, 210, SO (3.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg)
G-Marshall Henderson, 6-2, 175, JR (18.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, .377 3PT)
G-Jarvis Summers, 6-3, 184, SO (7.1 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 3.7 apg)
Key Reserves: Nick Williams (6-4, 212, SR); Derrick Millinghaus (5-10, 170, FR); Aaron Jones (6-9, 218, SO).
Probable Tennessee Starters
F-Kenny Hall, 6-9, 230, SR, (7.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg)
F-Josh Richardson, 6-6, 188, SO, (8.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg)
C-Jarnell Stokes, 6-8, 270, SO, (11.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.0 spg, 1.0 bpg)
G-Skylar McBee, 6-3, 195, SR , (6.3 ppg, 1.2 rpg, .300 3PT)
G-Trae Golden, 6-1, 205, JR, (11.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.3 apg)
Key Reserves: Jordan McRae (6-5, 178, JR); Brandon Lopez (6-1, 178, SO); Yemi Makanjuola (6-9, 250, SO); Derek Reese (6-7, 218, FR).
The opening tip
The Vols get a break by being able to start Southeastern Conference play at home, but they’ll be facing a dangerous opponent in Ole Miss, a team that has size and athleticism. And unlike his team that knocked Tennessee out of the SEC tournament last March, Rebel coach Andy Kennedy has a legitimate 3-point threat in junior college transfer Marshall Henderson, the SEC’s leading scorer who came in with the reputation of being a volume shooter and hasn’t disappointed. Henderson leads the SEC with 138 3-point attempts and also with his average of four made 3-pointers per game.
Henderson has already notched nine games with double-figure 3-point attempts, and in his first 10 games he averaged 11.8. But in his last three games, after some counseling from Kennedy about being a big more prudent with his shot selection, Henderson has averaged just 6.6 shots from behind the arc. Not coincidentally his percentage is rising. He’s fifth in the league (.377).
The Rebels have other weapons, notably the rugged front-line combo of Murphy Holloway and Reginald Bucker. Holloway averages a double-double and leads the SEC in rebounding. Bucker is second in the league in blocked shots.
Tennessee senior forward Kenny Hall on the start of SEC play: “It’s a whole new season. This is the second half of the season and SEC play is going to be a lot tougher. The level of basketball is going to continue to rise, so protecting this house and getting our first win in the SEC is very important.”
Tennessee point guard Trae Golden has made one field goal in his last three games: 1 of 9 against Western Carolina, 0 of 5 against Xavier and 0 of 2 against Memphis. . Ole Miss senior Murphy Holloway bagged his league-best seventh double-double of the season with 15 points and 13 boards in the Rebels’ final non-conference game against Fordham. Holloway leads active SEC players with 32 career double-doubles. . With six blocks against Fordham, senior Reginald Buckner moved into the SEC’s all-time top 10 list. He’s tied with Jamaal Magloire of Kentucky for ninth in league history (268). Buckner trails Dwayne Schintzius for eighth on the list by just four blocks. . Rebel coach Andy Kennedy (136) is just eight wins away from tying B.L. Graham (144) for the most wins in Ole Miss history.