Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Commies Face Tough Defensive Test Against Wake Forest

Tomorrow, Wednesday, the Commies take on Dino Gaudio's Wake Forest Demon Deacons tomorrow at 8 pm EST in the friendly confines of Memorial Gym. Gaudio is in his first season after taking over for the late Skip Prosser in August. Overall, in his eight season as a head coach, Gaudio has a 73-125 record.This is the second ACC foe the Commies face in as many games having beaten Georgia Tech this past Saturday 92-79 in a game that was a much bigger blowout then the final score represents. The Commies shot almost 51% from the field and almost 45% from behind the arc.

The strong point for Wake is their defense. The Demon Deacs only gives up an average of 55 points a game on 36% from the floor, good for 14th and 16th in the country respectively. The currently average 10.33 steals and have a turnover margin greater then five by causing their opponents to cough it up almost 21 times a game. On the other side of the ball, the Deacs only average about 70 points a game on a mediocre 41% shooting and a dismal 27% from behind the arc.

It’ll be important for the Commies and their leading scorer, Shan Foster (19.6 pts/game, good for 49th in the nation), to get out to a quick start against a Deacon defense that
As Seamus mentioned in an earlier comment, the Commies are on an offensive roll. We’ve scored an even 600 points this season, good for 85.7 (51.3% from the floor) a game and 10th in the nation. (VMI is No.1 at 98.7 a game in case you were wondering.) The Commies are led, as you know, by senior Shan Foster and his 19.6 a game. Croc OG isn’t too far behind, averaging 18.1 a game, on 67.2% shooting, good for 7th in the country. Yes, seventh.

The Deacs field a young starting five (3 sophomores, 1 junior, and 1 freshman) that includes three guards (6’2” Harvey Hale, 6’0” Ishmael Smith, 6’4” L.D. Williams), 6’8” forward James Johnson, and seven-footer, Chas McFarland. The big name for Wake is James Johnson who is averaging 12.7 points and 8.5 boards a game. Johnson ranks among the ACC's best in rebounding (5th), steals (5th), field goal percentage (8th), blocked shots (10th) and scoring (21st). Oh yeah, he’s a freshman.

The Commies projected starting five will be as usual: 6’6” G/F Shan, 6’11” Center Croc OG, 6’0” guard Red Gordon, 6’9” forward Ross Neltner, and 6’3” guard Jermaine ‘DollaBeal. Look for Metcalfe to come off the bench quickly to give some quality minutes if Croc OG gets into early foul trouble. Both ‘bigs’ will have to play to well against their toughest test to date in seven foot center Chas McFarland. Look for Red to be on Ishmael, Beal on Hale, and then Shan and Neltner to rotate on Johnson and L.D. Williams.

This is without a doubt the toughest test that the Commies have faces thus far. The Deacon’s defense will cause headaches for Stallings club and we’ll need to keep up the hot shooting. Oglivy and Metcalfe need to keep pounding down low to open up good, outside looks, backdoor cuts, and to get Wake into foul trouble. Lastly, to Commies MUST HANG ONTO THE BALL. Coughing up the ball 15-plus times a game could kill us with a defense like Wake’s.

Just a few tidbits to pad your Vandy Basketball Trivia knowledge:

  • Vanderbilt owns a 75-69 record all-time record against the Atlantic Coach Conference after Saturday's win over Georgia Tech. All-time in Memorial Gym, VU is 46-13 against the ACC.
  • Shan Foster was named the SEC Player of the Week for his play against South Alabama and Georgia Tech November 27-Dec. 3 when he averaged 21.5 points and 3.0 points per game. Foster joins Will Perdue (1989), Dan Langhi (1999), Matt Freije (2004), and Derrick Byars (2007) as the only Commodore players to win two SEC Players-of-the-Week honors in the same season.
  • Foster also becomes only the second SEC player to win two weekly honors in the first four weeks of the season and the first student-athlete in 18 years to accomplish the feat.
  • Vanderbilt improved to 654-184 all-time at Memorial Gymnasium. The Commodores have won 93 of their last 99 games against non-conference opponents at home and are 140-13 at home against non-SEC foes since 1990.
  • The series between the two schools is tied, 4-4. Series is tied in Nashville (2-2); Series is tied in Winston-Salem (2-2).

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