Tuesday, January 9, 2007

UT Preview

I really hate the Volunteers, which makes writing this preview that much harder. Tennessee comes into Memorial ranked 16 in the AP, 20 in the USA Today/Coaches, and winners of 9 straight. In this time, UT has beaten some impressive teams including a Memphis team ranked 16 at the time of their game, an Oklahoma State team ranked 15 (in Nashville), and Texas. With a 13-2 record, UT's only losses have come to two very good teams (Butler and UNC). Suffice it to say, this team is very good. Chris Lofton leads the SEC in scoring, averaging 22 points a game, and as a team, the Volunteers are averaging close to 85 points a game. Where UT is vulnerable is that they play defense about as well as Vanderbilt does, which basically means they don't.

The match-up to watch (and by watch, I mean follow along online since this game will not be televised because Lincoln Financial has an anti-Commie bias that has not gotten nearly enough attention...but I digress) will be Chris Lofton and Shan Foster. Vanderbilt, as of late, has come to rely almost soley on Shan for points. While Cage had a great game in Auburn, and is putting together a fantastic senior campaign, Foster is who makes this team go. If Shan can have a big night, Vanderbilt has to potential to beat any team in the SEC, Tennessee included.

The other keys to the game will be Derrick and Ross. Both are matched up with freshman, and assuming they actually contribute as opposed to their previous two games, they will be crticial to any Vanderbilt upset bid. These two have, as of late, been pretty disappointing. The early fire the transfering-duo showed has been replaced with equal parts complancent and down right poor play. In the too-close-for-comfort win at Rice they didn't shoot (combined 3-6); in Auburn, they would have been better off not (shot a combined 4-19) and simply passing it to Dannyboy. If the Commies are going to catch fire, and be any kind of factor in the SEC, Neltner and Byars will have to do more than they are doing.

This is a game that the Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Student Athletics , Vice Chancellor Williams, and Chancellor Gee should all attend. The comparsion could not be more stark between the morose and ineffective Stallings and the vibrant and poorly attired Bruce Pearl. THAT is the kind of coach that Vanderbilt needs to go out and get if the Men's Basketball team is going to return to SEC and national prominence over the long term. While it is not my position, nor the official editorial position of Vanderbilt Sports Line that Coach Stallings be fired, we can only be so patient. The Commies performance on Wednesday should give these three men, and Commodore Nation, a better idea of what our future will (or has the potential to) look like.

Career Record: 339-92 (.785)
At Tennessee 22-8 (.733)

Career Record: 245-159 (.606)
At Vanderbilt: 122-96 (.559)
At Vanderbilt vs. SEC: 44-68 (.393)


Woody said...




How's that for deep, heart-felt analysis?

J.B., M.D. said...

At least Bruce Pearl's attire doesn't make me want to take my own life, compared to the mediocrity that is Mr. Stallings' wardrobe.

But heck, I'm an M.D., not a fashion consultant.