Wednesday, February 25, 2009

COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE LOSS

Yesterday Stanimal posed the question, is "8-8 Still a Possibility?" Unfortunately, after tonight's 61-57 loss tonight at Georgia (not to mention South Carolina's beat down of UK in Columbia), the answer would seem to be no. Is it possible we'll win 3 straight? Sure. But after getting off to consecutive slow starts on the road, Vanderbilt hasn't given their fans much reason to be optimistic.

Lamenting after the loss, Douglas James pointed out a statistic that is particularly harrowing: in our last 5 games, we have averaged just 25 points in the first half. It's extremely difficult to win (especially on the road). Some might be happy that Vanderbilt was able to erase a 15 point second-half deficit and briefly took the lead. I'm not.

I'm tired of making excuses for this team and chalking up poor performances to youth, inexperience, or whatever else we've written in this space. Tonight was an important game for this young team to show they could finish strong and put themselves in a position to earn a spot in the post season. Instead, they blow a must-win game by losing to a 1-11 Georgia team.

Is 8-8 still a possibility? I don't think so. At least when that becomes official, I'll be on my honeymoon.

10 comments:

Mikey Powers said...

What ever happened to Jeff Taylor and Dolla being playmakers??? I just lost a fortune on both Vandy -5pts and the over 132pts. Neither were even close. This inconsistency is embarrassing.

Aaron said...

This team has been kinda a disappointment all year. The Kentucky win was nice, but i expected more from this team by this time in the year.

AJ has also been a let down, and i know he has been injured, but c'mon...

Anonymous said...

AJ is soft and he is no SEC first team OR second team player. he shouldn't get either and i don't think he will. i can't get that mad at the frosh. it happens your first year. beal has played the way he always has. he's done better scoring this year and you really can't put it on him. very disappointed in AJ not being able to carry this team. also, drake can be an awesome playmaker and he's yet to establish any consistency like he's a freshman. that i can't stand. also mcclellan didn't grow very much from last year. i'm writing him off. i like walker and wish he wasn't injured cause i think he could provide the spark the team needs sometimes. i think we finish the season 6-10 now. before yesterday's loss i was thinking 8-8 was going to happen....

Douglas James said...

I think most people expected a down year. The thing that irks me is that you would hope the team would be coming together at this point not falling apart.

Tom said...

Aaron, you mentioned that AJ "has been" injured. Don't you think that the injury is still bothering him and he's playing through it? I expect a lot from AJ as well after he had a tremendous freshman year, but I can recognize that this sort of injury isn't something you can fully recover from while playing on it.

A disappointing season I agree, but I'm not ready to throw our players under the bus.

Aaron said...

To some extent MAYBE but he re-injured the heel over a month ago, and unless there is another injury that i do not know about, i think he should be fine, and so does the coaching staff because he is getting minutes.

He is only averaging 14 and 7 (which is solid) but only 8.5 and 5 against UT. I like AJ a lot and think he has some talent, but people (on this blog) were talking about him leaving after this year he was so good.

Tom, who are you ready to throw under the bus after a disappointing season?

Stanimal said...

I think it's a bit aggressive to characterize our criticisms of players as throwing them "under the bus". After all, our input makes zero difference in the ultimate decision, and I'm pretty sure that throwing someone under the bus requires some sort of negative impact to them.

That being said, AJs injury is unfortunate, but even with it he's shown that he's able to play. I would understand if he just can't get out there and do anything, but let's be honest, he gets pushed around underneath. Until he figures out how to start pushing back, he's not going to achieve his potential. Injury or not, his toughness needs to improve. I know he's getting hacked down low and they're doubling up on him, but that is nothing different than just about any center in the nation. But you expect your center to be engulfing boards for you and he just doesn't do it.

But really, there's no one to blame for this. We all entertained hopes that these kids would pull a "Matt Ryan" (god I love using that analogy) and be good instantaneously. For the most part, they have. Brad is playing great for a freshman, Jeff has had some great games but has struggled down the stretch, Lance has as well, and even Steve T. has shown a lot.

It's disappointing to watch them play obviously, because we want wins, and yeah, you don't like to see us lay eggs against teams like Florida and Tennessee (and I guess now Georgia, yikes), but it's all part of the growing process and it's what will drive them to be better next year.

Anonymous said...

Can we issue a gag order on the phrase "throwing/thrown under the/a bus?" Its overuse is staggering with respect to sports talk... and further, it's an inappropriate metaphor, as no athlete, to my knowledge has ever thrown anyone, or been thrown, under said bus. I propose the phrase, "Committed double homicide" as I can think of at least two. Granted, this would only work if two players were made to be scapegoats, but it's more effective, overall.

Anonymous said...

Wait... three. Rae Caruth's girlfriend was pregnant at the time of the hit.

Tom said...

Fine, no more buses. I still think questioning AJ's toughness is incorrect. You can question his upper body strength and his overall conditioning (which I think he didn't improve as much on from frosh to soph years as he should have). However, he has shown considerable toughness however dealing with and playing through an injury that really hard for a basketball player to work with.

I'm not blaming anyone for this season. I was hoping for more, but I'm beginning to see that we are mostly performing at an expected level.

Also, the bowl game has relaxed me for the time being. Anything additional Vandy sports achieves this year is gravy.