Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tonight, we play Wake Forest...

And while it is certainly too early in the year to declare this game a "must-win," I certainly think this is a game Vanderbilt needs to have. Wake Forest is down this year, but its games like these that can be the difference between bursted bubbles and dancing in March. Unfortunately for those of us living outside the Southland, this game will not be televised. With that said, I am sure all of us out there in Commodore Nation will be following along at VUCommodores.com and VandySports.Blogspot.com .

What are the keys to victory:

1. Shan Foster plays like the pre-season First Team All-SEC player he is.
- Foster took 5 shots against Georgetown. Give Georgetown's defense credit for playing great defense against Shan. Regardless, you cannot have the best player on your team, and one of the most prolific scorers in the SEC taking 5 shots and two free throws in 26 minutes. 26 minutes, 0 personal fouls, 5 shots, 0 field goals...not a First Team performance. Look for Shan to have a big game tonight.

2. Contain Kyle Visser.
- This is Vanderbilt's second game in a row against a team with a force inside. Roy Hibbert is probably the best big-man in the country, but Visser's 23 point, 9 rebound average is nothing to scoff at. The two headed monster of Metcalfe and Skuchas with Ross Neltner helping out was (at times) effective, but in order for Vanderbilt to be successful in Winston-Salem tonight, they must make someone other than Visser beat us. Coming into this season, Visser had never scored more than 16 points in a game…this guy is not the second coming, and solid interior defense should bring him (and his numbers) back to earth.

3. Beal vs. Smith, which Freshman Point Guard steps up?
- Jermaine Beal's first start was pretty awful. Scoring 0 points and dishing out 0 assists is not the way you want to start your college career. Ishmael Smith, on the other hand, has started out like gangbusters. The first ACC-Rookie of the Week, Smith has doled out 25 assists, scored 32 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and played an average of 31 minutes a game in his first three games. The upside on Beal is tremendous, but tonight will be a good opportunity to see how he stacks up against another freshman who has made an immediate impact.

4. Production off the bench - Vanderbilt's bench kept them in it for most of the game against the Hoyas. Tonight, Vanderbilt should look to take advantage of a Wake Forest team that is not particularly deep. In their only real scare of the season, Wake gave up 37 points to Bucknell’s bench. In Vanderbilt’s loss to the Hoyas, the bench scored 39 of the team’s 70 points. While that number is definitely out of wack (see issue one about Shan), it does show that there is scoring potential off the bench. This Commodore team is pretty deep, and there is no reason why they should not be able to play up-tempo Basketball and put some points on the board. Wake Forest’s bench has contributed 21, 22, and 21 points in their first three games. This indicates two things: one, they are consistent; and two, they rely heavily on their starting five for their offensive production.

1 comment:

Seamus O'Toole said...

Must run tonight. We have the athletes and depth to do it, and it takes away their big man advantage. We looked best against Georgetown when the tempo picked up (like at the end of the first half).