BRING. ON. KENTUCKY.
Ok, that might be a little wooly, but the Ole Miss Rebels looked like a complete team as they notched the biggest win of their season only one week from playing Big Blue Nation - defeating the South Alabama Jaguars 92-58 on Thursday night in Oxford.
Sebastian Saiz led the Rebels in scoring and rebounds with 23 points and 16 boards. Five Rebels scored in double digits as the Rebels shot a healthy 49 percent from the field.
Deandre Burnett tossed in 21 points, and Cullen Neal nearly achieved a double double with 11 points and 9 assists.
The lopsided affair marks the first game this season where Ole Miss completely broke away from its competition and kept them there. The Rebels’ 34-point margin of victory closely resembles the 20-30 point lead they were able to maintain through most of the second half.
Here are the three takeaways from Thursday's thrashing of South Alabama.
Was this the Rebels most complete game?
From the margin of victory to the number of assists to the rebounding margin, the Rebels dominated every category imaginable. USA only shot 22 percent from three point range, which has been a sore spot on the Ole Miss defense.
We know what you're thinking - it's South Alabama, no big deal. Take into consideration though that the Jaguars had only allowed two teams to score more than 80 points all season, and its previous largest margin of defeat was only 13 points. This is just not a team that has been manhandled like this at the halfway point of the season.
Conversely, the Rebels in the past have allowed teams like UT-Martin, Montana and Murray State to hang around and lose by single digits when the talent gap was obviously greater than what the score showed.
Saiz is putting together his best season
There was a point in the second half where I turned to Mrs. One Man to Beat and said, "You know, Saiz needs two points for a double-double, but he's looked pretty good tonight."
Then Saiz went off for 15 points before the end of the game. He looked unstoppable at stretches as he went 8 of 14 from the floor and even stretched his game behind the arc going one of three from deep.
This is the kind of effort we'll have to see from Sebas in SEC play in every game for the Rebels to make some noise come March.
Andy Kennedy's haberdasher is the real MVP
His suits and jackets are almost always noteworthy, but Kennedy brought out a Christmas jacket last night that made Clark Griswold look like the Grinch on Thursday. If you did not get a chance to see it - and we will post a picture here once we have one - it was a red and green-patterned deal that looked more like something one would stitch into a kilt, as opposed to a jacket. AK joked after the game that he was now sponsored by Scotch Guard.
The ability to be self deprecating afterward is the reason why AK has endeared himself to Rebel fans over an 11 year period. We will definitely take back all of these nice things we're saying right now when we drop a game to Mississippi State or Auburn in a month or so, but let's just be wooly and merry for now.