Primer: Ole Miss - Kansas State

Ole Miss (6-0) is in Manhattan, Kan., for a showdown with Kansas State (4-3) tonight at 8 p.m. on ESPN2. The Rebels are in search of their best start to a season since 2007-08.

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Game: Ole Miss - Kansas State
Date: Dec. 5, 8 p.m.
Location: Manhattan, Kan.
TV/Radio: ESPN2/Ole Miss Radio Network

The Lede:

Ole Miss (6-0) claimed the Barclays Center Classic championship with a pair of wins over ACC foe Georgia Tech and Big Ten foe Penn State. It marked the second exempted tournament title for the Rebels, joining the 2007 San Juan Shootout, under head coach Andy Kennedy, who improved to 19-6 in exempted tournament play at Ole Miss.

A win over Kansas State (4-3) would give the Rebels wins over ACC, Big 12 and Big Ten teams in the same season for the first time in school history. Ole Miss is 3-0 all-time versus Kansas State including a 1-0 mark in Manhattan.

Scouting Kansas State:

Marshall Henderson
USA TODAY images

Kansas State is 4-3 on the young season after knocking off Central Arkansas 87-54 at home Sunday. The Wildcats also have a win against Oral Roberts and a pair of wins over Long Beach State. KSU has losses to North Colorado to open the season, and to Charlotte and Georgetown in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Freshman Marcus Foster leads the team averaging 13.9 points per game for a squad that averages just 66.1 ppg, while sophomore D.J. Johnson paces the Wildcats with 5.6 rebounds per game.

Kansas State has been limited to 63 or fewer points in four games this season and are just 1-3 in those contests. The Wildcats are shooting just 26.6 percent from behind the arc this season, but are limiting opponents to 27.1 percent from 3.

The Rundown:

Ole Miss guard Jarvis Summers has seen his role change in his junior season.

Summers played in 34 games last season with 31 starts. Most, if not all, of those starts came at point guard. A year later, however, Kennedy is using Summers almost primarily off the ball.

He's responded by leading the team in scoring with 15.7 points per game.

"Coach is giving me the green light to just play my game," Summers said. "He basically just tells me to be more aggressive and just take advantage of opportunities. I used to play the two in high school, so I'm already adjusted to it."

Summers averaged 9.1 points, 3.8 assists, 1.8 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 27 minutes as a sophomore. He's still passing at a team-leading clip (his 21 assists top all players) despite his emphasis on scoring, while he's grabbing one more rebound per game.

Jarvis Summers
Bruce Newman

Really, he's improved all around. But none more so than on offense, where he's become the aggressor, as was shown when he scored a career-high 28 points in the Rebels' season-opening win over Troy. He scored 22 in the first half on 9 of 11 shooting.

"He's looking to finish plays for himself instead of setting other guys up," Kennedy said of Summers, who has made 54 percent of his shot attempts, including 12 of 24 3s.

"He's still attacking, we're just allowing him to attack from the edge, which I think gives him a little bit of an angle, which has been beneficial to him and us."

A benefit Kennedy and Co. hopes pays off once more tonight at Kansas State.

"We've just done what we're supposed to do, quite frankly," Kennedy said. "We haven't done anything other than what we're supposed to do. Now's the next step. To go into a place like Manhattan, Kansas - where basketball is pretty serious, a Big 12 opponent with a lot of tradition, a lot of pride - it'll be a very difficult game for us."

Spirit's Pick:

Ole Miss

Ole Miss Logo
NCAA tournament resumes are made or ruined in non-conference play. The Rebels have some margin for error in their non-conference schedule this year. As in, they can lose a game or two because of the quality of their upcoming opponents. However, tonight is not one of those games. Ole Miss has the No. 13 Oregon Ducks, who were a Sweet 16 team last season, on Sunday, followed by Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky and Dayton. While Kansas State is a name, the Wildcats have struggled out of the gates. An NCAA tournament hopeful wins this game. Here's saying Ole Miss does.

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