By Adam Brown
The Ole Miss Rebels basketball team plays host to No. 10 Auburn Tigers this evening inside the Pavilion. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. on ESPN2.
Ole Miss (11-2, 1-0) opened SEC play with an 81-71 road win at Vanderbilt on Saturday. The Rebels have won eight straight games for the first time since nine games in the 2012-13 season.
Junior guard Breein Tyree is the reigning SEC Player of the Week after scoring a career-high 31 points in the win over Vanderbilt, the most points scored by an SEC player to open up conference play and the most by a Rebel this season.
Coach Kermit Davis’ squad leads the conference in free throw shooting (76.6 percent) while ranking second in field goal percentage (50.5), three-point percentage (38.3), rebounding margin (+7.0) and rebounding defense (28.8).
Auburn heads into town with an 11-2 record heading into SEC play. The Tigers have had significant time off, last playing Dec. 29 with a 95-49 home victory over North Florida. Eight of Auburn’s 11 victories have come at home, and the Tigers are 1-1 in true road games.
The Tigers are led by strong guard play in Bryce Brown (15.3 ppg) and Jared Harper (14.9 ppg). Harper is the conference leader in assists (6.8 per game), free throw percentage (86.7 percent) and playing time (33.2 minutes per game). As a team, the Tigers lead the SEC in offensive rebounding (15.4 per game) and threes made (10.5 per game).
On the defensive side of the court, Auburn averages 10.4 steals and 6.2 blocks to go along with a +7.4 turnover margin to top the conference. Bruce Pearl is in his fifth season guiding the Auburn program. He is in his 24th season as a head coach with stops at Southern Indiana (1992-2001), Milwaukee (2001-05) and Tennessee (2005-11) before arriving at Auburn in 2014.
Auburn leads the all-time series 77-58, but the Rebels have won 10 and the last 12 over the Tigers and 13 of the last 17. Prior to last season’s sweep, the Rebels had a 10-game winning streak in the series. It was the longest in school history against an SEC foe, bettering a pair of eight-game streaks against LSU and Mississippi State. During the winning streak, five of the Rebels’ victories occurred in Oxford, four in Auburn and one at the SEC Tournament (2012). Ole Miss holds a 42-24 advantage in Oxford, including a 2-1 mark at The Pavilion.
The first 1,000 fans that come through the doors of the Pavilion will receive an Ole Miss replica jersey. Can’t make it in for the game? Listen to all the action on the Ole Miss Radio Network or watch it on ESPN2.