Quick Turnaround

The differences in football and basketball are many. One is that after a loss, a team doesn't have to wait long to get a shot at redemption. Ole Miss will be looking to do that tonight when it hosts Alabama State.

The Rebels, who lost 103-70 at New Mexico Saturday, will continue their quest to get better, which they must do quickly with upcoming games against Louisville, Southern Mississippi, and a Southeastern Conference slate that begins Jan. 10 at Florida.

Andy Kennedy, his team now 6-3 on the season, said the Rebels have to put Saturday's embarrassment behind them and look ahead.

"In this business, you're forced to," he said. "We were awful in all respects (at New Mexico). Thank goodness this only counts as one loss. We're forced to prepare and be ready for Alabama State Monday. There can be no hangover or it can get away from you."

Alabama State's record says it may be just the fix for Ole Miss. But that record could be deceptive.

The Hornets are 1-5 but have been competitive in a number of games, including a 76-67 loss at Mississippi State. All five losses have been on the road, with three coming by less than 10 points.

ASU has a 63.0 scoring average and shoots 41.9 percent from the field and 27.4 percent from 3-point. Seniors Brandon Brooks and last year's SWAC Player of the Year Andrew Hayles pace the team with 12.7 and 11.5 ppg, respectively. 7-foot senior center Chief Kickingstallionsims has 3.0 blocks per contest. Head coach Lewis Jackson directed the Hornets to a 20-10 record a year ago and a first-place finish in the SWAC with a 15-3 league record.

The Rebels boast a 5-0 all-time record against the Hornets with an average margin of victory of 21.2 points. Ole Miss has won all four games played in Oxford and the lone contest played in Montgomery on Dec. 1, 1999. The Rebels won 68-44 in the teams' most recent meeting on Dec. 31, 2003, with Aaron Harper pacing Ole Miss with 21 points and Justin Reed adding 16.

Ole Miss enters tonight's contest with a perfect 28-0 record against teams that currently comprise the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The Rebels have faced every SWAC school except Texas Southern, while having played Prairie View A&M the most times at six, followed by five contests with Alabama State and four against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

It doesn't matter who the Rebels are playing tonight, their whole focus will be on winning and playing better as a team.

"We've just got so many glaring weaknesses, and we've got to find some guys to step up," Kennedy said. "It's befuddling to me how poor we are in a number of areas. We're doing it with a lot of inexperienced guys, and we're not getting it done. We'll continue to work and try to get these guys better."

*** Joey Jones of UM athletics media relations contributed to this story.


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