Rebels visit rising Hogs

OleMissLogoBy Parrish Alford

Daily Journal

Ole Miss has had an impressive run against Arkansas of late, particularly away from home.

The Rebels have also come up short in five of their last six SEC basketball games and have been especially flawed on offense on the road.

Trying to determine which factor might more influence the Rebels’ trip to Arkansas tonight Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy is going with the latter.

“I’d like to tell you those prior four games would have some influence on our game Wednesday night. Unfortunately for us they will not,” he said.

Ole Miss and Arkansas tip at 7 p.m. The game can be viewed only through live streaming at ESPN3.com.

The Razorbacks (20-9, 9-7 SEC) have won five straight and seven of their last eight including an overtime victory at Kentucky.

Ole Miss (17-12, 8-8 SEC) hasn’t lost in Fayetteville since a 75-69 decision in 2008, Kennedy’s third season as coach.

The Rebels won two of their first three SEC road games but have struggled since. They’re shooting 37.7 percent on the SEC road, just 29.9 percent from 3-point range. They’re getting out-rebounded by an average margin of minus-6.2.

Arkansas coach Mike Anderson says the Rebels’ guard play makes them an “explosive” opponent.

“I’ve always been impressed with Jarvis Summers. He’s the head of that basketball team, and (Marshall) Henderson is an outstanding player.”

The Razorbacks could magnify the Rebels’ road rebounding problems with 6-foot-10 freshman Bobby Portis, who’s averaging 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds.

“Our biggest problem is that we lost two guys up front that were pillars in our program for a number of years, and we’re replacing them with younger and inexperienced guys,” Kennedy said. “As a result we’re not being productive up front.”

Kennedy is 10-3 against the Razorbacks but says there are too many different players and personalities to rely on history to give Ole Miss an edge at Arkansas.

“We’ve struggled in a number of different areas,” he said.

parrish.alford@journalInc.com