Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Can Vandy Defend Memorial?

Thus far it appears as though Vanderbilt's young squad cannot win on the road. But perhaps that is due to a number of problems that we have more commonly than just road games.

The offense thus far in SEC play has paralleled that of our football compatriots: It's absolutely anemic. Vanderbilt is averaging just 58.7 points a game in SEC play thus far. Compare that to Tennessee at 80, Kentucky at 76, Florida at 75.3, and South Carolina at 71.2. Only Georgia has a worse ppg than us in the SEC East at 54 points per game.

The story is actually much worse than that, because Vanderbilt doesn't score more ppg than a single SEC West team. Which means we rank 11th in scoring in an already weak conference. Not a very good sign.

Our field goal percentage in conference play is awful at 39%, but even WORSE is our 3-point percentage in conference play, which is a horrendous 24%. Sports fans, when I tried to check the last time Vanderbilt's shooting percentage from three was that bad, I couldn't find it. Vanderbilt has not finished below 32% from the three ball in over 10 years.

The flip side to that is we are ranked 2nd in the conference in scoring defense, allowing 61.0 ppg, just a little behind Kentucky who is only allowing 59.0 ppg (I hate to say it but they might be back). Vanderbilt is 19th in the nation in this category as well. They are also 3rd in the SEC in opposing field goal percentage.

Despite my emphasis on how bad our defense is, this doesn't mean that we are in a bad position, it just means that watching these guys will require patience. They're young, they're inexperienced, and they have yet to find an offensive identity. There is a load of talent but the cohesiveness on offense has not caught up.

The problem is one of efficiency. We only score 40% of the time when we're shooting the ball. Furthermore, we rank 10th in the SEC in offensive rebounds so we're not getting enough second chances. All this equates to shots getting put up and not a lot of put-backs. When you've got as much size as we do, we should be getting more offensive rebounds.

The good news tonight is that we are facing a Tennessee team who, although they can light it up, cannot stop anyone to save their lives (they are 12th in the SEC in scoring defense in conference allowing 82 points per game).

So what's the answer to the anemic offense? Is it just youth, the lack of a go-to 3-point scorer, a regression by AJ, or is this class overrated? Will our defense shut down Tennessee's scoring, and even if it does, will our offense compensate enough to win?


Unknown said...

Shot selection is absolutely atrocious

Anonymous said...

I was saying Boo-urns.

Anonymous said...

there's not one outside threat on Vandy's team. we have about 7 guys who can hit them but they don't hit them regularly. i know beal and tinsley have decent 3 point FG% but in SEC play, it's been pathetic. Tchiengang made a couple quick ones against UT last night but i don't trust his shot. i think Hinkle might actually be able to hit with some consistency but he gets little to no playing time. i'm not sure why that is because he hustles so much when he's on the court.

if we can't shoot from the perimeter, nobody guards as close so they can focus more on denying entry into the paint and obviously UT did a great job of that tonight. Ogilvy barely got the ball down there.

working this hard on offense means our defense starts to suffer too.