Tuesday's overtime collapse in The Pavilion against South Carolina evinced a hard lesson of Ole Miss basketball this season: the Rebs' offensive production and defensive cohesion severely drop off when Sebastian Saiz and Stefan Moody don't contribute. The Basketbears' stalwart duo comprise the anchors of Andy Kennedy's inside-outside ambitions, and as Tuesday demonstrated, the absence of one might not prove fatal, but the absence of both is downright necrotic.
According to Daniel Paulling, Saiz will sit Saturday's game in Starkville as the big man continues to recuperate from retina surgery. Moody, who abstained from workouts Wednesday and Thursday, will be a game-time decision. Andy Kennedy said that he's "going to let [Moody] make the call ... if he's not 100 percent, he will not play Saturday or as close to 100 percent as he can be."
UPDATE: Moody's sitting this one out.
Senior G Stefan Moody has been ruled out for today's game at Mississippi State.— Ole Miss Basketball (@OleMissMBB) January 23, 2016
The bad news doesn't stop there: guard Martavious Newby looks like he's sitting as well.
Martavious Newby in street clothes with Moody. Don't expect them or Saiz to play today.— Daniel Paulling (@DanielPaulling) January 23, 2016
Newby is struggling his own retinal issues, which have caused pronounced swelling and vision problems in his right eye since last summer. Guy's face looked nothing kind of comfortable Tuesday, and the unfortunate news certainly explains his overall drop in minutes and bullishness compared to last season.
And so the Rebel hoopmen limp down to Starkville for their first look at Ben Howland's club, which at 7-10 (0-5 SEC) is playing well below their presumptive ceiling. Led by senior forward Gavin Ware's 16.4 points and 7.6 boards per game, CLANGA checks in at No. 104 on Ken Pomeroy's latest findings, which situates them just ahead of Ole Miss' No. 105 spot. Really.
Craig Sword and the Magnolia State's own Malik Newman are both averaging over 12.5 points per outing for the Bulldogs, who hold a slight advantage in scoring at 76.2 points per game to the Rebs' 75.4. Ole Miss is allowing 72.1 points per outing to State's 74.1, but in any case these numbers means little to nothing with Saiz, Newby and Moody out of rotation.
And about that rotation: with Moody out, certainly Tomasz Gielo, Marcanvis Hymon, Anthony Perez, and Rasheed Brooks should start, but who begins at swingman? Terence Davis had a career-high seven points in 25 minutes of work against South Carolina, while Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey scored six and jacked two steals in 12 minutes. Ultimately it probably doesn't matter which of the two gets the nod, since AK is sure to cycle between them for the duration.
Maybe just drink heavily in your snow-encased home and you won't even remember what happened to whom and why on Saturday.
How to watch:
Game Time: 1 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
Online Streaming: WatchESPN