Friday, November 30, 2007

Lookin' for Number 7 againt Tech's Ramblin' Wreck

The Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech (I always thought they were the Yellow Jackets, but hell, whatever) comes to town tomorrow at 1pm EST (12 CST) to try and avenge last season’s loss to the Commies. Tech is 3-3 this season and is coming to Memorial after their third loss of the season to No. 15 Indiana 83-79 this past Tuesday evening. With four days off, they’ll be well rested at tip, something that could prove troublesome to the Commies who only have 38 hours to rest and regroup after the double OT win against South Alabama, 91-88. Speaking after the win, Shan was asked if fatigue would be a factor on Saturday, Shan was adamant: “Not at all,” he said. “We’re going to do a great job of taking care of our bodies. We’ll be ready to play Saturday at noon.” You have to love that confidence coming from the senior who poured in 26 in last nights win.

Tech is lead by 6’5” guard, Anthony Morrow who is averaging nearly 19 points a game, good for fourth in ACC play. Morrow burned the Commies two years ago for 28 (he didn’t play last year as his back was injured) and had a career-high 31 in their win against Tennessee State. Containing Morrow will be key: as he goes, so go the Yellow Jackets. Coach Paul Hewitt’s team has two other scoring threats, 6’10” PF Alade Aminu (12.8pts/game) and 6’3” guard Lewis Clinch (12.2pts/game). Aminu is shooting lights out from the floor (62%, 2nd in ACC) and Clinch is almost 50% from behind the arc. 6’5” PG D’Andre Bell and 6’8” F Jeremis Smith round out Tech’s projected starting lineup.

Tech is averaging nearly 80 points a game, shooting 47.7% from the floor, and 41.9% from behind the arc. Make no mistake, Tech can score and likes to get out to a fast start. The jumped out to a big lead in both halves against Indiana before the Hoosiers were able to fight their way back into the game. Red and Shan will need to step up their defense and lock down Bell and Morrow to slow down Tech’s offense. They are averaging 18 assists a game and an assist-turnover ratio (1.14-to-1), both leading the ACC.

As I mentioned earlier, the Commies will have just 38 hours to regroup for their Saturday showdown with Tech after coming off a hard-fought, double-OT win against South Alabama. After last night, the Commies are averaging almost 85 points a game, shooting 50.7% from the floor and 45% from three. Shan is off to a great start, averaging 20 a game on 49% shooting (52% from three). He also leads the team in steals (9) and third in blocks (3). Croc OG is averaging almost 19 a game and is shooting a lights out 67% from the floor. The Commies are unquestionably benefiting from having an experienced true big man down low. I personally haven’t had the chance to watch the Commies live yet, but I look forward to watching Oglivy in action this Saturday. With Croc OG down low, it allows Neltner to return to his more comfortable power forward position. As a result, Neltner is having a great year, averaging 11 a game (57% from the floor), with 5.5 boards, 5 blocks, and 7 steals.

A big reason why the Commies are off to a 6-0 start is free throws. The Commies have gone to a line a total 148 times, 41 more then their opponents, and shoot just under 74% from the charity stripe as a team. One negative aspect of the team so far is turnovers. The commies are averaging almost 20 a game. It’s simple: this number has to go down.

I know it’s been long, but I’m filling in for my future lawyers who are currently, or just about, wrapped up in their 1L exams: fun. Just a few key points for Saturday:

  • Defense: The commies have held opponents to just 42% from the floor this season and that will need to continue Saturday. Stallings will need great defensive guard play from Shan and Red to prevent Morrow from getting to the hoop.
  • Tech can score as I mentioned, but they also give up a lot of points. In fact they average 79.5 pts a game and give up 79.3 pts a game.
  • Match-ups: Vandy matches up extremely well with Tech at all positions. There isn’t any one position where Tech has a size advantage.
  • Turnovers: We can’t have them.
  • Continue to get to the line by pounding the ball down low. I forgot to mention that Metcalfe had a career high last night (14) as the Commies continually went down low. With the duo of Croc OG and Metcalfe down low, there’s no reason why the Commies shouldn’t attempt at least our free-throw average (25). Personally, I’d like to see a little higher number.
  • Fatigue. I love Shan’s confidence, but he and Red both played over 40 minutes last night (44 and 42 respectively) and they’ve got to be a little drained. It’ll be important for the Commies to slow down Tech, who will be rested, and not allow them to jump out to a quick start.

Lastly two quick notes on the Commies:

Ogilvy was named the SEC Freshman of the Week Nov. 5-12 for his performance against Austin Peay, when he scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Ogilvy is the first Commodore freshman to win the award since it began in 2005-06.

Ten out of the next 11 games for Vanderbilt will be in the friendly confines of Memorial Gymnasium, with the only road game coming on December 12 at Big East member DePaul. Other than the match-up with the Blue Demons, Vanderbilt does not hit the road again until SEC play, when the Commodores travel to Kentucky on January 12. This is great for us as our winning percentage at home is ridiculously high.

Find a TV and enjoy the game. Go Commies!

13 comments:

Stanimal said...

There is FAR too little enthusiasm for basketball on the blog right now. Football is done, we're better at hoops anyway, let's get fired up.

chad said...

VANDERBILT WILL CRACK THE TOP 10 THIS SEASON. thats right, i said it. and no, that is certainly not a jinx. everyone knows it is bad luck to be superstitious. go commies.

Douglas James said...

I hate you chad.........

Woody said...

THAT'S what I'm talkin' about! Get a little enthusiasm for a new season going!

Douglas James said...

Also according to ESPN.com Red only played 26 minutes on thursday night. It was Beal who played 42 along with Foster's 44. If the Dores get ahead early I wouldn't be surprised to see alot of George drake, Keagan Bell and Metcalf in the 2nd and 3rd so that the big guys are ready to close out in the 4th

Seamus O'Toole said...

Yeah look for Andre Walker and Darshawn McClellan to get some good minutes too. We are as deep as we've been in a long time and stacked with young talent. Let's go Commies.

Douglas James said...

NICE WIN! Right now i would much rather talk about our Bball team instead of study for my finals. Anyway a couple things that i noticed. 1) Depth - Has anyone seen a Vandy bball team like this in the past 10 years? I would argue we have solid depth in every single position. AJ and Metcalf handle the center position real well (when did Metcalf become this force?) Neltner looks real good in the power foward position. We have Beal and Red to bring the ball up (and although he was alittle sloppy today I think Keagan Bell will be solid) and then i really like McClellan and Walker off the bench. And with all this support Shan doesn't have to be the man every night. 2) Holy %$&*!!!! We have an inside presence! Not only scoring inside but getting Bd's and drawing fouls. This is going to be so important down the road and makes this team so much more versitile than the 3 point shooting/backdoor cutting teams of the past. 3) Get ready for some national attention boys because the Vandy bandwagon is gonna start getting crowded real soon, we should make it into the top 25 this week and if we beat a difficult Wake team there is no telling how far up we might go. Time to get riled up about the Dores!!!!!!

chad said...

the starters (plus metcalfe) shot 69% from the field. and we have big men that can finish. i wouldn't be surprised if we go undefeated this season.

Douglas James said...

Chad i hope you sit next to some really fat and smelly person on the bus home from D.C and that it takes 9 1/2 hours to get home and you fail out of law school.......

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

I agree. Can we not start feeling good for ourselves, or must we continue the self-flagellation running rampant on this blog?

Jason said...

109 votes in the AP top 25 poll this morning, not enough to crack the top 25.

There are 10 teams with one loss, and by my quick count at least 2 teams with 2 losses that are ranked.

This is a team that was one blown traveling call away from the elite 8 last year, undefeated at 7-0, and still not ranked.

To the guy above who said that VU would be ranked in the top-10: They might have to get all the way to 18-0 in order for that to happen with these horribly biased and uninformed AP top 25 voters.

Seamus O'Toole said...

Jason: You're looking at last week's poll. It was misprinted last week when first published (had us at #37 I think) but they updated it so that last week we came in at #27.

We'll break into the Top 25 with authority this week -- my guess is somewhere near #20. I predict 18 in the AP and 21 in the coaches' poll.

We'll put up a post when it comes out later this afternoon so we can all stop "self-flagellating" (thanks JB) and start self-congratulating. After all, there's no way this team could have done it without US...

chad said...

#25 in coaches poll