Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Morning After: Well We Got Smoked By The Illini, But At Least Our Day Is Going Better Than Lane Kiffin's

As is clearly evident from the post-game thread, last night was not the Dores best performance. We really didn't show up to play in a hostile environment on the road. Now in all fairness, Illinois was absolutely unstoppable. They just had one of those nights where they were feeling it. We helped in that we played very poorly on defense and did nothing to help ourselves offensively, but you gotta credit the Illini for stepping up to the challenge after taking so much heat for a few of their previous efforts.

I'm not saying anyone's wrong for bashing an individual player's performance. Each one of our guys failed to execute in some way last night, and each one has flaws in their game. There's no doubt we aren't represented by the Fab Five, I mean honestly who (without being somewhat shady) is (Yeah that's a dig at Kentucky Loblaw!). But we really have to step back and look at the overall picture here. The team's play last night, and frankly for most of the season, was not the fault of one player, but was rather everyone's fault. We have yet to demonstrate any kind of cohesiveness on either the offensive or defensive end of the floor. You can tell the guys just aren't feeling comfortable as a unit yet. I don't know what it's going to take to get these guys to buy into an offensive set and run it efficiently, to run the break effectively, and perhaps most importantly, to play defense with more tenacity and organization. I can pretty much guarantee you it isn't because we're athletically limited. Sure we don't have one quick guy who can match up with the ever-nagging penetrating point guard, but we've got some guys who can move around and get up and down the floor. The problem is that we are way too passive in our help defense and we refuse to nag the crap out of opposing teams. That's a team issue, not just an individual issue. It's Stallings job to get those guys into a mindset and rhythm where they play at a high level as a unit, and he'd probably be the first to tell you that. So we can rag on individual players' deficiencies until the cows come home, but we gotta understand that they're a work in progress AS A TEAM. The good news is, they are nowhere near their potential as a whole unit right now, and there's still plenty of season left to make it there.

With that said, and I think most of you would agree, yesterday should come as no surprise. Sure we keep hoping for that breakthrough game, but based off our performance just a few days earlier against DePaul, did we really think a drastic improvement was going to happen on the road against a good team? It's going to take several games and a lot of practice to work out our issues. But, once again, they are TEAM issues, and they should be evaluated as such.

That pretty much sums up my feelings on the game. In other news, Tennessee is once again caught in an embarrassing NCAA probe as to whether they are sending "hostesses" to make recruits feel "welcome" (take that how you will). Just another example of a system gone totally haywire, you know Tennessee can't be the only place that does it.

See y'all on the flip side of a miserable construction law exam.


VandyGold28 said...

Sounds like no new posts for a few days or so with that exam! Last night was a very large disappointment but like you said, the season is long and things can change. We have 6 more games until SEC play, 5 of them in Memorial, and 1 in the arena. Out of these 6 the teams that worry me the most are WKU (mainly because of the venue and the fact that they may have more fans along with UT & MTSU fans cheering them along), Manhattan, and Southern Miss. WKU is not living up to their potential at all as a Sun Belt favorite. I don't think they were picked to win the Sun Belt but were certainly expected to challenge for it. Manhattan is in the same league as Siena and we all know as vandy fans how that one turned out. i don't think they are nearly as good as siena but i think they bring some trouble to the table.

the team i worry about the most is southern miss. at 5-1 they haven't realy beaten anyone but it's the loss that worries me. they lost by 2 to a very good ole miss team recently. that's scary.

all that said i would still be extremely disappointed if we don't end up 12-2 going into the florida game. we should be able to win all of them and if we don't this team is destined for major disappointment.

Joseph said...

regardless of how we do in our non-con schedule, there is a 6-4 WALL glaring us in the face on 1/30. yea yea we shouldnt look ahead.. blah blah blah, but our point play really needs to be better than its been to even lose by 15.

Anonymous said...

VandyGold28 posted an excellent analysis of the remaining non-con schedule. I often count teams like So. Miss and Manhattan as automatic "Ws". It certainly would not surprise me if Vandy enters the conf. schedule at 10-4, rather than 12-2 as I hope.

Although it doesn't seem like it now, all of the holes Stallings refers to will be plugged. Turnovers are becoming less of a factor which shows that ball handling has improved overall. Same goes for offensive and defensive rebounds. The "running" of the offense has also improved, but if AJ and Taylor aren't shooting the ball (to say nothing of having said ball go through the net), Vandy will lose games. To some degree that is dependent on Beal getting the ball to them, but I think more of it has to do with them getting open through running effective screens (most of which have been sloppy to date).

Stanimal said...

You couldn't have said it better anonymous. Come SEC play we'll be an improved team, and hopefully we'll continue to improve all the way through to where we have an impressive resume come March.

Joseph, a fair point about John Wall. Dude is a Commodore's worst nightmare. Not only is he ultra-quick, but he has a nice stop and pop game. Still, there are weaknesses, but we have to learn how to force teams to our gameplan first.

Tom M said...

Are Gold Stars still around? While I've never heard of of our Vandy hostesses traveling around to see recruits, we have definitely had pretty girls assigned to welcome recruits and sell them and their families (typically their moms) on Vandy. Did CBJ do away with this? My undergrad days were Dowhower/Woodyball.

Stanimal said...

Pretty sure Gold Stars are still around. However, pretty sure Gold Stars didn't travel 200 miles to high school football games to flash a sign that said, "Come to Tennessee."

Tom M said...

Agreed, so what is fishy here is that the UT hostesses traveled to the recruit, not that UT has a hostess program? That doesn't sound nearly as scandalous as I want it too.