'Cats Calling

Andy Kennedy hates to use the word "frustrating." It's an empty word, or an empty emotion, according to the fifth-year Ole Miss head coach.

However, Kennedy can think of no better way to describe the Rebels' loss to Tennessee, when they shot a dismal 28 percent from the floor for the game. He knows his team is capable of much more than its 13-8 overall record and 1-5 mark in Southeastern Conference games.

Ole Miss is 1-5 through its first six SEC games for the first time since 2000.

"We've got to make sure we're doing the right things, practicing good habits," Kennedy said. "As hard as it is in the face of adversity, continue to encourage, continue to put them in positions where we feel they're at their best. And we've got to continue to believe that we can get it done."

Lately, Kennedy has taken a hard look at himself. He's asked the same of his players.

Andy Kennedy

And, to their credit, they've responded. In practice, players "aren't accepting this," Kennedy said, "which is good."

"After every loss, the next day when we reconvene and we got through our schedule, typically guys are pissed off, which is good," Kennedy said.

"They're agitated. They're not accepting this. That's good. I want them to be upset about it."

Senior guard Zach Graham acknowledged a different approach to practice Sunday, a day after Ole Miss fell by a lopsided 17-point margin to Tennessee.

Defensively, Ole Miss has struggled mightily in conference play. The Rebels are allowing opponents to shoot just over 47 percent.

"We had a good practice (Sunday). We went hard. Everybody had the right mindset," Graham said. "We know what happened in the Tennessee game, and we have a big game (against Kentucky). Everybody's focused on that. We came out and had a hard practice."

Graham is Ole Miss' second-leading scorer at 14.0 points per game. Chris Warren leads the team with 18.2 points per game. Outside of those two, however, no other player averages in double-digit scoring. Terrance Henry and Trevor Gaskins both average at least eight points.

But Saturday's game notwithstanding, Ole Miss has few times struggled to score. Ole Miss is eighth in the SEC in field-goal percentage. The Rebels' problem, according to Kennedy, comes from the team's lack of consistency from its top scorers.

"I certainly don't like being in the position that we've put ourselves," Kennedy said. "But this team has shown capable. It's just a matter of us being consistent. We need three or four of our key players, night in and night out, to play at a high level to give us a chance."

Chris Warren

Kentucky head coach John Calipari likes what Ole Miss is doing offensively.

Calipari said Ole Miss runs through Warren -- a senior point guard -- who currently ranks second in the conference in scoring, first in free-throw percentage, fourth in assists and fourth in 3-pointers made.

"I like what they're doing. They're spacing the court, running good stuff, getting good looks," Calipari said.

"I like how he's spacing the floor, how they attack the rim. They get to the rim and draw fouls. They're playing to their strengths. I don't like it for us, I like it for them."

Kentucky in town:

Ole Miss hosts No. 10 Kentucky tonight at 6 p.m.

The Wildcats are 16-4 overall and 4-2 in the SEC, and are currently tied for second place in the SEC East behind Florida. After a loss at Alabama, Calipari's team has earned wins at South Carolina and against Georgia.

Kentucky is 3-0 in league play at home, but 1-2 on the road.

"I thought Tennessee was the biggest and most physical team we've played to date -- until (today). Kentucky has just got size that we have not seen all year," Kennedy said. "They don't play a guy any relative minutes that's under 6-foot-4. So, naturally, it creates some matchup issues."

Kentucky is led in scoring by three freshmen. Terrance Jones averages 17.7 points per game. Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb are next with averages of 17.3 and 13.9 points per game, respectively. Kentucky is the second nationally ranked foe for Ole Miss this season.

"Very, very talented. Very athletic. They've got a number of different options that could hurt you," Kennedy said. "The difference between this year's Kentucky team and last year's Kentucky team is probably quality of depth. They don't play as many people, but the guys they do play are very good."

Tonight's game will be broadcast by ESPNU.

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