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Unbeaten but unranked, Ole Miss aims to tackle Cal

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Ole Miss still is being told it has more to prove, and the Rebels figure to be determined to do so against Cal on Saturday in a Hall of Fame Series matchup in San Antonio, Texas.

At a perfect 9-0, Ole Miss still was not ranked in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll. Included in that poll, released at the start of the week, were 19 teams with at least one loss, while three of those 19 had lost three times.

Ole Miss was one of seven undefeated teams in the country when the poll was released. The other six were ranked, including No. 20 James Madison.

The Rebels stayed perfect Sunday by edging UCF 70-68 as Allen Flanigan scored 18 points with seven rebounds. Flanigan leads the team with 18.0 points per game, followed by Matthew Murrell (15.6) and Jaylen Murray (14.7).

“I do think we are a team that is going to have to demand some respect,” new Rebels head coach Chris Beard said.

“… There is not a lot of narrative on our team right now. I think our guys are using that and we do appear to be a team that has a little bit of a chip on our shoulder, so that’s good.”

Beard has Ole Miss three victories away from their win total from last season.

Cal (3-6) is approaching its own transition while playing in the Pac-12 for the last time. The Bears move to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.

After a slow start, Cal has shown improvement despite going 1-2 over its past three games. The Bears took San Diego State into overtime Nov. 25 before losing 76-67, then earned an 84-69 home victory over Santa Clara on Dec. 2.

Last Saturday, Cal went double overtime at Butler before falling 97-90. The Bears received 24 points and 16 rebounds from Fardaws Aimaq, 23 points from Jalen Cone and 20 from Keonte Kennedy. Cone is one of the top 3-point shooters in the country, making 3.7 per game.

It was the first time since February 2011 that Cal had three players score at least 20 points in a game.

“I told them in the locker room how hard they battled,” new Bears head coach Mark Madsen said, “but also reiterated, ‘Hey, we have to get better, we have to improve, we have to start making the plays late in ballgames that will allow us to win a game, on the road like this.'”

–Field Level Media

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