Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bobby's TSU Thoughts

Vanderbilt's 84-71 win yesterday over Tennessee State was unsurprising. TSU played hard, but they were just not a very good team. More important than winning was "how they looked" after losing back-to-back games to Illinois and Western Kentucky. I would describe the play yesterday as loose, but not sharp. They looked sharp at times, but there were definitely stretches of play yesterday where the team looked completely out of sorts. Still, after about the middle of the 1st half, the game was never really in doubt.

As Jeff Lockridge writes in today's Tennessean, Vanderbilt won yesterday because they shot the ball lights out. They finished the game 67.9% from the field, and shot a whopping 79% in the second half making 19 of the 24 attempts they took (2 of which were 3 pointers). John Jenkins showed in the first half what kind of prolific scorer he can be, pouring in 12 points on 3-4 shooing from downtown. The fact he only took 2 shots in the second half is remarkable. Jenkins still looks a little lost on defensive side of the ball at times (usually why Stallings appears to yank the kid), but he will certainly should be a potent weapon for the Commodores heading into SEC play.

Jeffrey Taylor led the team with 20 points on 10-11 shooting. Watching the game yesterday, it appears to me that Jeffrey Taylor, not Jermaine or A.J., is the emotional leader of this team (Author's note: I just saw this column from David Clymer in today's Tennessean. I posted this piece before seeing the article, but it certainly seems we are in agreement). He plays with a tremendous amount of energy, looks to get his teammates involved, and is certainly the best finisher on the team. I tweeted this yesterday, but his mid-range jumper is coming along quite nicely. I saw him hit a 18-footer on a step-back along the baseline that, along with his ability to penetrate and play above the rim, makes him a guy that NBA scouts will start to salivate over.

For me though, the key to yesterday's win, and hopefully a sign of good things to come, is the way Vanderbilt distributed the ball. The Commodores finished the game with 21 assists. Consider that in the 9 games prior, the most assists Vanderbilt had was 14 (twice against Arizona and Illinois), and that in their last two games they only had 22 combined. The Commodores offense is dynamic when as many people as possible are involved. The fact that almost 60% of VU's buckets yesterday were assisted is a sign of good things to come.

Better still, Beal had 7 of them and Brad had another 5. It's gotten heated on VSL over the proper role for Jermaine on this team. Personally, I'll take 9 points and 7 assists all day long. If Jermaine can average those kind of numbers in SEC play, I think this team will be infinitely better than if he's getting 16 points and 3 assists.

Vanderbilt is back at Monday night at 7 against Mercer at Memorial. It'd be great for another convincing win headed into the Christmas break.


Chuck Heston said...

Completely agree with your assessment, at the end of the day it was an unsurprising win which saw a competently run Vandy offense that exhibited flashes of brilliance.

Let's face it, TSU was not a formidable opponent which even a subpar Vandy squad could have defeated. The big question coming into the game was how Vandy would play defensively. The answer turned out to be better, but not great, and certainly not up to the level needed when the team enters conf. play. Given the injuries / illness, coupled with finals, the defensive effort was probably the best we could have expected.

Even taking account of injuries / illness / finals, is anyone else concerned about the number of open looks TSU had, particularly from beyond the arc? Maybe it was a calculated move to leave TSU shooters open from that distance, however, better teams have and will light Vandy up with such uncontested shots. The other big concern based on the TSU game is the number of turnovers. I believe the final # was 20 or 21. A high # regardless of the opponent.

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm still waiting for that game which shows that this team has a drive to win.

Anonymous said...

That was a cold stare that stalling displayed toward Beal and it's not the first time. No one else gets that when they make a mistake not even if it is consecutive ones as was the case with tinsley with 6 turnovers.Probably because of the parents but Beals was there so what does that look like preferential treatment or more respect for ones parents just because....I heard that this was a school who didn't allow all races but now...but it still lingers in the stare.

Unknown said...

We all know JT can score and I'm glad our offense looked much more alive, but the simple fact remains that doing it against Nashville rec league quality clubs isn't the same as a quality opponent, so I will wait until we a play a team that should actually challenge us before I get giddy and claim our problems solved. Let's see JT bring his shot and his talent in a big game before we start talking about the NBA scouts again.
I agree, with Bobby's thoughts on Beal, I've made it clear that I much prefer him distributing then looking to score and if he brings that kind of mind set to SEC play then our future outlook this season is much better, but for the time being I remain skeptically optimistic about that being a reality. Anonymous I'm not sure what kind of point you were trying to make since you weren't making coherent sentences but if your trying to insinuate that Kstall treats Beal any differently for reasons not directly related to practice or on court performance then I would have to say that your either irrational or misguided, and that you know doubt signed yourself as anonymous because you realize your comment has zero merit.

VandyGold28 said...

why is no one talking about how much we turned the ball over to a weak TSU team?

we had a lot of assists, but we had even more turnovers which means sloppy play and passes. this is why we lose to good teams and the hustle and effort still weren't there for me.

feels good to get a W and the next 5 or so games are probably going to roll like this (hopefully) but any formidable SEC opponent will kill us if we play like that.

Anonymous said...

colin you are misguided, incoherent, irrational and you have zero merit. Your use of these words in regards to my statements earlier is improper English usage. I said (but I did not insinuate) what I believed to be the truth based on stalling actions/reactions toward BEAL. Maybe you should sign yourself as anonymous because you are full of...