By NEMS Daily Journal
MORGANTOWN, W. Va, – Coming off their most complete performance in recent weeks, the No. 20 Ole Miss Rebels carry a six-game win streak into a top 15 showdown against No. 6 West Virginia.
Tipoff is at 6:30 p.m., at 14,000-seat WVU Coliseum, televised by ESPN2.
The Rebels (10-1) haven’t lost since falling 79-67 to No. 5 Villanova in the championship game of the Puerto Rico Tipoff Classic.
West Virginia is 8-0 after surviving an 80-78 scare at Cleveland State on Saturday.
Ole Miss defeated Centenary 108-67 on Saturday and has risen steadily since entering the Associated Press Top 2 three weeks ago at No. 25.
The Rebels are No. 21 in the coaches poll.
Ole Miss has shot well from 3-point range through its current win streak and is second in the SEC with 8.7 3-pointers made per game. At 85.4 points a game, Ole Miss leads the SEC and ranks sixth in the nation in scoring offense.
Junior point guard Chris Warren continues to lead the Rebels and ranks second in the SEC with 18.3 points a game.
The Rebels have never beaten a top 10-ranked non-SEC opponent.
West Virginia is coached by Bob Huggins, who first hired Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy while at Cincinnati. Kennedy succeeded Huggins as an interim head coach there in 2005-06.
WVU shooting guard Da’Sean Butler, a 6-foot-7 matchup problem, hit a layup with 1.2 seconds left to lift the Mountaineers past Cleveland State, which pressed its way back into the game after falling behind by 17 points in the second half.
Like most Huggins teams, this one wins with defense. West Virginia is allowing just 58 points a game, has a plus-7.4 rebound margin, and a plus-5.8 turnover margin.
Butler leads the team in scoring at 16.9 points a game.
Sophomore center Kevin Jones (6-8, 250) averages 15.5 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds.
West Virginia visited Oxford last season and escaped with an 80-78 victory. Butler led the way with 22 points and 10 rebounds in 38 minutes.
It’s only the fourth time the Mountaineers have played a ranked non-conference opponent at home. They’re 2-1 in previous such games, the last a victory against second-ranked UCLA in 2007.