Ole Miss and Memphis resume longstanding basketball rivalry Friday

After five years off, Ole Miss and Memphis are set to resume a basketball rivalry that dates back more than 100 years.

The teams will face off inside FedEx Forum tonight at 7 p.m. on ESPNNEWS. The Rebels have won five-straight games, with a blowout win over Louisiana Tech in their most-recent action, to move to 8-2 on the year. The Tigers are 8-2 following a 72-67 win over Southern at home Tuesday.

“Good team. They beat (Louisiana Tech) pretty handily,” Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said. “I’ve seen them play casually a couple of times. I actually watched the Memphis - La. Tech game for obvious reasons. They’re talented, they’re fast, they’re athletic. It’ll be a great game. It’ll be fun. Our guys will be super excited. We’ve got a lot of Memphians, a lot of guys that are going to be super excited to play in the FedEx Forum. It’s one of the nicest arenas in the country. I’m sure there will be a few Rebels sprinkled in there, it’ll be a fun game for us and an opportunity to continue to move forward.”

Ole Miss features a handful of players on its roster with Memphis ties, including three that call Memphis home: Martavious Newby, Marcanvis Hymon and Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey, who was cleared to play by the NCAA Wednesday. He’s expected to play against the Tigers.

“Anything’s possible,” Kennedy said of Fitzpatrick-Dorsey, a former three-star prospect who spent the fall semester at Elev8 Prep in Florida. “He’s a Memphian, too. I don’t want to put him in a position he’s not ready for. But it’s another body.”

Rebel freshman guard Terence Davis played his high school ball just across the state line in Southaven, while junior guard Rasheed Brooks played two seasons at Southwest Tennessee Community College.

Brooks said he’s excited to play in front of what he expects to be a number family and friends.

“It means a lot just going back to a city I was in for two years,” Brooks said. “We've got guys who grew up there. I know I'll have people watching me. I know there will be people with family watching them. It's going to be a big game, a fun game. I'm excited.

“I can't wait. I've seen the atmosphere before. I can't wait. It's nice. It's an NBA arena. It's not full all the way around but their fans are going to come in no matter if they're playing SEMO or if they're playing us. Of course, we're only an hour away so Ole Miss fans can go there and give us some support.”

Tip-ins: Memphis holds a 27-12 lead in the series, though Ole Miss won the last meeting 90-81 in the NIT in 2010. Kennedy is 1-2 in his career against Memphis, including a 1-1 mark at Ole Miss. The Tigers are 6-2 at home this season with losses to Oklahoma and Texas-Arlington. Memphis is lead by 6-9 freshman Dedric Lawson, who is averaging 15.9 points and 9.0 boards a game this season. Senior Shaq Goodwin is second on the team in scoring and rebounding at 13.0 ppg and 7.9 rpg.

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