Rebs hoping for 4-0 SEC start at Georgia

Ole Miss, 13-3 overall and 3-0 in SEC action, is back on the court today at 4 p.m. Central Time in Athens, Ga. in a televised game on FSN and SUN.

Sometimes coaches whose teams are on a roll don't want an open date to slow their momentum. Rod Barnes thought a week between games for his rolling Rebels, 13-3 overall, winners of seven straight games, and with a 3-0 Southeastern Conference record, was allright. He thought they needed a break from games more than to keep playing them at this point.

So he wasn't overly concerned following last weekend's 75-65 win over Mississippi State that the SEC schedule showed no game until the next Saturday against the league's other Bulldogs.

"We're so young that yes I was a bit concerned we might not stay focused," Barnes said. "But I also knew we needed a break from games. We needed to practice to correct some things. We needed to get our kids through the first week of classes this week. We needed for Dwayne Curtis to be able to check on his family situation. It was good this week for us not to have a game."

Curtis' brother Jarrod, injured in a car accident in Illinois a week and a half ago, remains in a coma in a hospital in his home state. Dwayne is on the trip to Athens with the Rebels.

Barnes, whose team got votes this week in the AP top 25 poll, says the game against the Bulldogs in Athens (11-6, 1-3) will be a challenge.

"They are one of the more physical teams in our league," he said. "They really don't have a lot of size, but they have a great perimeter game. They get back in transition well, and they'll play with three guards a lot. We'll have to play well to win."

Junior guard Todd Abernethy, coming off his best outing as a Rebel with 22 points against MSU, says the team has been focused all week on Georgia.

"It's been a tough week of work," he said. "Coach is pushing us to help us take our game up a level. We have to keep playing well because we want to keep winning."

Abernethy says that while the team is 3-0 in the league and tied atop the SEC West with LSU, every game is a challenge. Today will be no different.

"We know it will be a real physical game," he said. "But we have a lot of confidence and believe we will play well again. Personally I just want to keep playing hard and leading this team."

Barnes said the Rebels are mostly injury-free and are not that banged up as they head on the road for two games - today at Georgia and again Wednesday at Arkansas.

"We want to keep this thing going and win at Georgia. But we have to play well and stay focused," Barnes said. "I've tried to tell the team that now is the time to make a run at our goals, not later. We can go to Georgia and get a win, or we can try to make up for it somewhere down the road. When you're trying to reach your goals, a win now is as important as one later. So a win (today) would be really big for this team."

Game notes for the Rebels and the Georgia Bulldogs are on the Spirit Message Board posted at the top.

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