Wednesday, January 30, 2008

OK, Now It's OK to Panic

Vanderbilt continues to disappoint on the road. One might take solace in the fact that Vanderbilt was, for a time, competitive; that there were able to cut the lead down to 3 twice in the second half. I don't, and you shouldn't either. This team plays dumb and they beat themselves constantly. Vanderbilt was just 34% from the floor tonight. Missing shots is going to happen, especially on the road. What is galling is that Vanderbilt attempted just 4 free throws in THE GAME. 2 per half, nice average. You know how you get your shooting stroke going, you get to the line. Worse, the guys who went to the line were Shan (2) and Red (2). Where's AJ? Alan? Focker? Our inability to score inside, coupled with an inability to hit outside shots, is a sure-fire way to lose.

I don't know how many times Vanderbilt played great defense only to allow Ole Miss to get an offensive rebound, which inevitably led to a lay-up or an easy bucket. Or how many times they would play great defense for 30 seconds only to bail out the Rebels with a cheap reach-in. Based on the Live Stats, Vanderbilt got out-rebounded 44-33. Awesome.

I am writing this in real-time, so I am clearly missing things. The recriminations from this game will be short-lived heading into Vanderbilt's next must win game on Saturday against Auburn. At 2-4 in the league and another week of road games starting next Wednesday in Athens, things don't get any easier for this team.

I know it's hard to tell over the radio, but something about the way this team is playing leads me to believe we are either lazy or dumb. It's possible it could be both. Still, I am now giving VSL Nation permission to panic.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

andy kennedy has only lost one game at tad since he started last year. UT has one of the longest winning streaks in the country at home. UF's o'connell holds one of the best student sections and they've only lost 3 or so games in quite a long time. and rupp, well, do i need to say anything else? disappointing. yes. are we playing like total ass? yes. but it's far from over. at home against auburn, please don't blow that. then you get road games at places that have not been great as of recent. usc and uga lose at home. win those and we're back in business w/ a great home stretch and a chance to rebound. lose at uga on wednesday, i give up and i am afraid to go to any more games because i may boo them.

Old Prospector said...

Anonymous, good teams steal a win or two of the 4 road games we've lost. As they said, we're beating ourselves ...and what can I say about Red and Ross, completely disappointing. Of course we can't give up on them, b/c w/out their contributions we are...well...what we are now. Here's to hoping we can turn it around.

Anonymous said...

i'm just sick of the excuses... yes we've had a rough first half of the SEC schedule, but win a damn game...

Anonymous said...

i agree. win a freakin game!!!!! or fire stallings. only one sec year over .500. and i must say, byars carried us there.

Douglas James said...

Firing stallings is the dumbest thing i have ever heard. But right now we suck and i dont want to hear any excuses about how tough the sched is. If we played these games close i would agree but we have been embarassed by UF and UT and from what i can tell from following over the internet basically felt apart in the 2nd half last night.

Dr. MZ said...

Rudy Giuliani may have had a better January than Vanderbilt's basketball team. At the very least, he got more nationwide TV airtime.

I hope for the sake of my friends on this blog -- and my roommate -- that your team can quickly pick itself up out of the gutter.

Don't get mad, I'm only being real.

THE DOC

Anonymous said...

something to think about for 1 minute instead of focusing on how horrible we are. we're playing south florida in nashville at the arena for the sec/big east invitational next season. at least we got south florida and not, well, any other team in the big east.

Boyer in the District said...

Easy, "anonymous." Don't ever get overconfident against a team led by the mighty STAN HEATH.

Also, nice to see the Hogs ripping threes, finally.

Boyer in the District

Jason said...

AJ: Alright, kid, you've had a few games to adjust to this level of competition. Now it's time to adjust.

Shan: Calm down. Play loose.

CKS: Devise a method to reduce turnovers. Maybe the team runs football stadium steps twice (it really sucks) after the next game with over 8 turnovers.

As bad as it has been, the bottom line is still 17-4. This is correctable. The ship can be righted in the next 2 weeks.

Elliot said...

Stanimal probably has a couple years of NCAA eligibility left. Can we draft him into NCAA action?

Stanimal said...

Sprained my ankle playing hoops the other day. Still probably could play better than Ross is playing right now though.

Just kidding

Elliot said...

Would it be a completely knee-jerk reaction to say that the administrators in charge of scheduling Vandy basketball games did a poor job this year? Until SEC action started on January 12th, we had almost all home games against weak opponents. And then we immediately jump into nearly 7 road games against SEC teams? Then, we're back playing in Memorial until the end of the season? I'm not trying to shift blame from our crappy play, but our scheduling seems a little extreme. Anybody? Can we thank EGG for this?

Anonymous said...

can we get an athletic director? even duke has an athletic director. without direction sports will suffer. i know we've done well and better than we had in past in a lot of sports. but we will soon venture down dangerous paths w/out it.

Bobby O'Shea said...

I don't know that this is the product of "bad" scheduling. In fact, given Vanderbilt's troubles in conference play, an equally strong argument can be made that we scheduled correctly by giving ourselves a 15 win cushion to withstand our SEC schedule. There is a great divide among coaches as to which is better, scheduling tough games to get prepared for conference play and take some lumps early, or get as many wins as possible and hope that the emotion and intensity of conference rivals takes care of itself. Personally, I think it's both. I also think that a few years out, Vanderbilt probably thought they had a pretty balanced non-conference schedule. Wake and Georgia Tech could have been great teams. Vanderbilt traveled to DePaul, a school with some recent success in basketball, and added UMass at the last minute after Billy Gillispie screwed them out of their home-and-home. Of those games, 3 ended up being good ones (2 that shouldn't have: Wake and DePaul), and one ended up being a blowout. While there is an art to scheduling, I don't think the out of conference schedule was a bad one, particularly given our 20/20 hindsight in light of this rough patch.

The conference makes up the schedule, not the AD's, so there is little we could have done about that. While Vanderbilt drew a tough opening stretch, at least the band-aid is ripped off early. Now, if the shock from the rip causes the team to go into shock and die, that has less to do with scheduling and more to do with this team being fundamentally weak.

I concede that Vanderbilt has not played well on the road, but we are now getting into a stretch of the season where we can actually win some games. If Vanderbilt can win all or almost all (losing to Tennessee at Memorial wouldn't be the end of the world) and steal one or two on the road (i.e. South Carolina, Georgia, or Alabama come to mind) then we are fine. The key now is the team getting some confidence back. The Auburn game should do that, because if we can't beat that team, than frankly we are just not very good. We are 2-4 in conference with 6 of our last 10 at home and 3 of our 4 road games against inferior SEC opponents. While we might not have played well, we have not lost to a bad team yet (although we have lost badly).

I know people are panicking...I am too. But some perspective is required. Noting is wrong with this team that can't be readily fixed with a little confidence and a winning streak.

Elliot said...

For the most part, I agree. The comment about perspective is definitely right. Our situation could be much worse. Looking at the big picture, we only have four losses and we have some nice home court advantage coming up soon.

But, I'm still panicking. And this talk of squeezing out a road win sounds a lot like Vanderbilt football....and that is depressing.

"I'm Coach Bobby Johnson and I'm here to talk to you about Vandyville."

Vandy fan said...

I agree that the vanderbilt team has struggled in the last few games, but they will turn it around..

Not to change the subject, but I just found this superbowl ad online. Looks like Saint Thomas is putting out some ads to compete with vandy in the medical field.

Anonymous said...

one...

go win a game on the road

Aaron said...

Scary= Arkansas beating Florida badly and USC beating Ole Miss