Sunday, January 7, 2007

Commies Drop SEC Opener; Neltner MIA

Vanderbilt’s loss last night in Auburn might very well be the first of many disappointments the Commies suffer this season. Vanderbilt was able to stage a comeback, after falling behind by 12 early on in the second. While there are a number of reasons why Vanderbilt lost – 16 turnovers that led to 22 Auburn points, terrible free throw shooting (9-17), and a complete lack of offense from inside the three-point arc (10-32)—I was struck by the play of Derek Byars and Ross Neltner who, for the second game in a row, failed to step up. A combined 4-19, the transfer-duo has got to step up if Vanderbilt is going to be competitive this season. I was a huge fan of Neltner early on, but going 1-10 from the field and blowing several shots around the basket is unacceptable. While Ross was able to grab 9 boards, the offensive ineptness is ridiculous.

Dan Cage was a bright spot for Vanderbilt who dropped a career-high 19 points and was able to put the Commies in a position to win. The Commies had two good looks to tie the game, but couldn’t get either to fall. Kevin Stallings and the Commies seem completely content to live and die by the three. That, coupled with terrible free throw shooting and an inability to score points inside the arc, led to Vanderbilt losing to one of the few teams they match up well with in the SEC. I hope I am wrong, but after last night’s performance, I really think this will be a long SEC campaign.


Seamus O'Toole said...

The cellar team of the SEC East just got beat by the cellar team of the SEC West. Awesome. We had a lot of open looks and just didn't make shots. I think we have to accept that, until they prove us otherwise, our boys just aren't that good. We've got several guys who can shoot, but no one who can do it consistently. The inability to make open layups or convert great drives into points is frustrating to watch because that's not always the case with this team. From one game to the next, we're not going to know which Vanderbilt team will show up, and Bobby is right--that's going to make it a long SEC campaign. What's the cure for chronic inconsistency?

Stanimal said...

Let's face it, we're screwed. Auburn isn't that great a team, and we got smoked. Rasheem Barrett had the game of his career for the Tigers and we were unable to find him all night. Great point about Byars and Neltner, going a combined 4-19 is abysmal to say the least when you consider that they are supposed to present a solid chunk of our offense.

On another note, Dan Cage is awesome. There's no other way to put it. He plays hard, makes smart decisions, and doesn't miss threes. He might not have as much athletic talent as Foster, Byars, Gordon, or Beal, but there is no way you can't look at the way he plays and have some respect. Props to him for stepping up.

Our one quality win (Georgia Tech) is no longer very quality as Tech fell to Clemson last night and further proved how mediocre they are. Lots of season left, but I have a feeling we're all going to experience even more heartache than we already have.

Stanimal said...

I need to proof-read better. I meant to say there's no way you can look at the way Dan Cage plays and NOT have respect. Excuse me.

Matt Freeman said...

As a UVa fan, I know quite a bit about Byers. The kid obviously the kid has quite a bit of talent but I can remember countless games when he was a freshman where he just didn't show up.

I hope for Vandy's sake this streak does not continue.

Matt Freeman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Matt Freeman said...

Looks like I followed in Stanimal's foosteps. I know quite a bit about Byars, except how to spell his name, as is clear from my previous post.