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Ole Miss to open Pavilion against ‘Bama

The first event to be held at The Pavilion at Ole Miss, the Rebels’ new multipurpose arena, will be a men’s basketball game against Alabama on Jan. 7.

The Southeastern Conference released the league portion of the men’s basketball schedule for the upcoming season Wednesday. The game will tip at 8 p.m. and be carried on ESPNU.

Five days earlier, Ole Miss will start the conference slate just like it did last year — with a trip to Rupp Arena to face perennial power Kentucky (6 p.m., SEC Network). The Rebels, who nearly handed the Wildcats their first loss a season ago before falling, 89-86, in overtime, will be starting SEC play on the road for the 14th time in the last 18 seasons.

The Rebels will also play each of the four teams breaking in a new coach, including the pair of annual matchups with rival Mississippi State and coach Ben Howland. The first meeting will be a 1 p.m. tip (SEC Network) in Starkville on Jan. 23 with the Bulldogs making the return trip to Oxford on March 2 (6 p.m., SEC Network).

Ole Miss will also play Florida and former Ole Miss player and assistant Michael White twice, hosting the Gators in primetime Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 before traveling to Gainesville, Florida, on Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. Former NBA coach Avery Johnson is in first season at Alabama while Ole Miss will travel to Knoxville, Tennessee, on March 5 at 11 a.m. to close out the regular season against the Volunteers, who are coached by former Texas coach Rick Barnes.

The rest of the Rebels’ 18-game conference slate includes home games against Georgia on Jan. 9, South Carolina on Jan. 19, Auburn on Jan. 27, Vanderbilt on Feb. 6, Arkansas on Feb. 13, Missouri on Feb. 23 and trips to LSU on Jan. 13, Missouri on Feb. 3, Texas A&M on Feb. 16, Auburn on Feb. 20 and Georgia on Feb. 27.

Ole Miss will open the season Nov. 13 against Northwestern State at C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum.