Thursday, January 18, 2007

Commies go NBA Jam on 'Bama

When you shoot 58% from the field and 53% from downtown, you are going to win games. That's exactly what Vanderbilt did last night, dismantling the #9 ranked Crimson Tide of Alabama 94-73 in Memorial last night. Alabama has now lost 8 straight on Vanderbilt's home-court.

In almost every aspect of the game, the Commies dominated. Alabama did out-rebound Vanderbilt 42-31, and was able to grab 22 offensive rebounds compared to 5 for the Commies. While 22 offensive rebounds leading to 18 points is a discouraging stat, imagine how bad it would have been had they not gotten those boards? As for the Commies, they only missed 25 shots, so getting an offensive rebound for every five misses isn't that bad.

Shan Foster lit it up again, dropping 27 on the Tide, including shooting 5 of 9 from downtown. All 5 starters were in double digits, and all played very well. Ross Neltner turned in a solid game going 6-8 from the floor, scoring 14 points, grabbing 6 rebounds, and dishing out 4 assists. Vanderbilt's defensive was also impressive as they contained Alabama to 36% from the floor, and 31% from behind the arc. Overall, a great performance last night in Nashville.
Kevin Stallings and the boys now have to look ahead to Saturday's I-65 match-up against Kentucky. Tubby's Cats are 15-3, winners of 11 straight, with their only three losses coming against a UCLA team ranked #5 , a Memphis team ranked #11, and a UNC team ranked #6 when they played. Vanderbilt is 0-2 on the road in the SEC this year and have not played especially well away from home. This game will be on Lincoln Financial Sports (and ESPN Gameplan) Saturday at 3pm EST meaning Bobby and Shamas will be further alienating their girlfriends for most of the afternoon. Don't be surprised if Saturday's performance doesn't get us nominated next week's Hoser of the Week award.


Stanimal said...

NO NO NO (Finger-wave)

Seamus O'Toole said...

Vandy fans can be forgiven if their joy at knocking off Alabama is currently tempered by confusion with their beloved Commies. I remain cautiously optimistic at the moment, but emphasize the word "cautiously." We've got 12 games left on the schedule before the SEC tournament, and we probably need to go 7-5 over those 12 games (plus an SEC tourney win) to be dancin' in March. That will be no small feat. For one thing, our next three games are at Kentucky, at LSU, home against Ole Miss, and at Florida. This is a brutal stretch in the schedule, and I hope our guys stay up for it.

Looking down the road, I think Vandy needs to do two things (both of which are feasible, but neither of which are even remotely given):

1. The old adage: win the games you oughta win. To have a shot at the NCAA Tourney, we MUST beat Ole Miss (home), Georgia (home), South Carolina (home), Mississippi State (away), South Carolina (away), and Arkansas (home). That's six games we simply cannot afford to lose.

2. Win one more big game. I think the best chances to do that is when we get Kentucky at home, given the traditional difficulty Vandy has on the road in-conference. Tennessee will be out for revenge in Knoxville, and it's hard to envision us beating Florida (either home or away) or LSU on the road. Not saying it couldn't happen, but those seven games (Kentucky on Feb. 25th plus the six mentioned) will give us the best shot at a bid.

We've already got the quality wins to put us over the edge if we make it to the bubble, and we'll probably be on it even if we go 6-6 over the next 12 games plus a win in the tourney. The selection committee will not overlook the wins against Ga. Tech, Tennessee, or Alabama (especially since it was a blowout). But, in my view, one more quality win plus six more "should-wins" solidifies this team's place in the Field of 65.

Seamus O'Toole said...

Fair point. I would say we need 8 more wins (a 20-win season in the SEC with the quality wins we've got ought to be good enough for the committee, but who knows). 8 more wins in any of the following combinations ought to do it:

1. Win the 6 should-wins plus 1 big win plus 1 SEC tourney win.

2. Win 5 of 6 should-wins plus 2 big wins plus 1 SEC tourney win.

3. Win 5 of 6 should-wins plus 1 big win plus 2 SEC tourney wins.

4. Win all 6 should-wins and 2 SEC tourney wins.

I may have left something out, but those 4 roads (and especially the first two) look most promising from where I'm sitting.