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Behind the Box Score: Ole Miss

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A blowout in Oxford

Petre Thomas/ Ole Miss Athletics

One thing I’ve been wanting to do since taking over ATVS is bring you all more basketball #content. After all, we have something up every single day during football season about either the game that just happened or looking ahead to the current week’s opponent; I think it’s high time we do something similar for hoops. So with all that in mind, let’s look a little bit closer at the box score from LSU’s dominant win over Ole Miss on Saturday.

39:36: The amount of time that LSU led Ole Miss Saturday evening. I’ll remind those of you who hibernate during the basketball season that a game is 40 minutes long, meaning LSU led for 99 percent of the game. This one was over as soon as it started.

+22: Darius Days’ plus/minus. Days does so many things for LSU, he stretches the floor (3-6 from three) while also crashing the glass (team-best seven rebounds). He’s your 3&D wing player that is so highly coveted nowadays; and at 6’7” and 245 pounds he’s a full grown man, which ought to prove valuable come tournament time when games slow down and LSU needs someone to backdown an opposing player.

15/16: LSU’s assist to turnover ratio. If you want some stuff to pick at, here’s a big one. Having 15 assists on 27 made baskets leaves a little to be desired; but having more turnovers than assists is alarming, especially when six of those were by your third-year point guard Javonte Smart. Remember, LSU was supposed to play Missouri, not Ole Miss Saturday. Turning the ball over that many times against better opponents of Mizzou’s caliber will get you beat.

+3: LSU’s rebounding margin. If there’s a fatal flaw in this LSU team it’ll be their rebounding. There’s not one singular great rebounder on this team like a Naz Reid or Kavell Bigby-Williams. Maybe its Shareef O’Neal but he’s out due to a foot injury; and Bryan Penn-Johnson, LSU’s transfer center from Washington, is back home for personal reasons and it’s unclear if or when he’ll return to LSU. Along the same lines as the previous paragraph, LSU can get away with barely out-rebounding a team like Ole Miss. but the Tigers have games against Arkansas, Alabama and Texas Tech looming, and those teams will be far less forgiving on the boards.

4: Number of minutes Cam Thomas played before being taken out by a rolled ankle. Fortunately it doesn’t appear to be a serious injury, Will Wade said Thomas would be questionable for Arkansas but ought to be fine beyond that. That’s a relief because Thomas is maybe the single best scorer in college basketball. But it’s also comforting that even without their leading scorer, LSU could go on the road and comfortably win a conference game.

1: Number of Q1 wins for LSU. This was LSU’s first “good” win of the season, something they’ve desperately been needing. I’ve been saying practically all season long that LSU, at least so far, doesn’t have any bad losses on their resumé. Saint Louis is a top-25 team and Florida, despite currently losing their last two games, received a handful of votes in this week’s AP Poll. Losing those two games by a combined eight points won’t keep LSU out of the NCAA Tournament.

What will keep LSU out is a lack of quality wins. Fortunately, the Tigers began reversing that Saturday night and will have another opportunity Wednesday to score another resumé boosting Quad 1 win when Arkansas visits the PMAC.