Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bobby's Post-Game Auburn Thoughts

It was a tale of two halves. The first half was probably the team's worst since either Western Kentucky half back in December. Then the Commodores came out with intensity and fire in the second half to erase an 11 point half-time deficit with 11:39 to go on John Jenkins spectacular 3 from way down town to take a 2 point lead 55-53. The Commodores would never look back and ended up winning the game 82-74, lifting their record 15-3 and staying undefeated at 4-0. Some stats to consider about why the Commodores were able to pull away. They out-rebounded Auburn 18-11 in the second half, out-scored them by 19, and shot an impressive 64% from the field.

Here are some of my thoughts in no particular order.
1. I was really excited to see Vanderbilt run some honest-to-goodness pick'n rolls with AJ. It's such a simple play, but when you have a big-man like Ogilvy who moves well, and guards who can both penetrate and knock down jumpers, the play is incredibly effective. That's something Vanderbilt should look to do more in the half-court set.

2. Vanderbilt would be well-served to spend at least one practice working solely on out-of-bounds plays. The "throw a lob to a big man 20 feet from the basket and hope it doesn't get stolen" is a missed opportunity and completely inexcusable.

3. As bad as Vanderbilt looked in the first half, they came out strong in the second and chipped away. I said this against Florida and I'll say it again, Vanderbilt, as a team can really take a punch. Something that will serve them well as their opponents get better and the stage their on gets bigger.

4. Brad Tinsely had an absolutely phenomenal game. While his 11 points kept Vanderbilt (sort of) close in the first half, the strength of Brad today was the calm with which he played. He made a pass that Steve T. didn't handle that was fantastic. To me, he showed flashes of brilliance as a point guard and game manager who will continue to be invaluable to the Commodores this season and beyond.

5. What can you say at Jeffrey Taylor. He is absolutely Vanderbilt's best player on offense. He didn't play much in the first half due to early foul trouble (0 points in 6 minutes), but poured it on in the second half, scoring 18 points in 16 minutes, including 8-8 from the charity stripe. He is also the best slasher I've seen in a Vanderbilt jersey since I've been watching them (Derrick Byars being a close second). He was a whopping 5-6 from the field and did a tremendous job of getting to the rim. Better still, he gives Vanderbilt a scoring option they haven't had in a while.

6. Auburn is a bad team. Despite leading by 11 in the first half, it was pretty apparent early in the second that they were going to lose. They don't play great defense, don't have a lot of talent, and don't play with any kind of cohesion. I'm afraid this will be a long year for Tigers fans, and there is reason for dissatisfaction with Jeff Lebo.

7. Starters stepped up. Brad scored 15, Jermaine scored 14, A.J. scored 17 (14 in the 2nd), and JT scored 18. That is incredibly balanced. While Andre Walker had a pretty bad game, (fouling out with 0 points, 5 boards, and 1 assist), the other guys stepped up. In my view, Brad took up the slack for Andre and was the calming influence that helped VU stay, and ultimately pull away, in the game.

8. John Jenkins is a gamer. His 3 to take the lead caused an erruption so loud in Memorial that it distrupted the SEC Network's feed. But even better, Jenkins showed an ability to score inside the arc, even getting to rim a few times. He WANTS THE BALL in big moments, and I hope for his sake and ours, he gets many more opportunities.

9. Tennessee is presently losing big to Georgia. I think UGA is a better team than their record reflects and I think UT will be a tough opponent for the Commodores this Wednesday. Still, I said after their win over Kansas that they'd struggle to be better than .500 in conference. That prediction hasn't borne out too well so far, but I'm standing by that prediction if only because I like nothing more than people telling me, "you were right."

10. Contribute to the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. Today at Memorial fans could donate $5 to the children's hospital by texting "VUDM" to 85944. If you get a chance, and are able, please consider contributing.

11. J-E-T-S, Jets! Jets! Jets! Do Douglas James and I solid and root for Gang Green tomorrow to shock the world and beat the mighty Colts. While no one gives Rex Ryan's squad a chance consider this: 1. It would be poetic justice for the Jets to beat both teams that "rolled over" in weeks 16 and 17 to allow them to make it into the playoffs; 2. The franchise's only Super Bowl win came over a heavily favored Colts team; 3. I deserve to be happy, too.

Enjoy your Saturday and tomorrow's playoff game. Savor the victory today, it's back to work with the biggest road trip of the year for the Commodores at Tennessee and at Rupp this week.


VandyGold28 said...

wow, i can't believe UGA throttled UT like that. should at least give us some sort of blue print.

Stanimal said...

If we are going to make noise and let the country know we are for real, we HAVE to play a complete game. We aren't going to be able to come out slow against UK and Tenn. I want to see us come out with fire from start to finish. Until then, I will not believe we are close to our ceiling.

VandyGold28 said...

i think we are going to beat UT on the road. 5-0 in SEC, 16-3 overall and some space between us and the rest of the east outside of UK. i really, really think this is gonna happen. it's time for this team now.

Anonymous said...

oshea would you have written your 2nd comment if it had been tinsley throwing the ball in? predj..

Chuck Heston said...

Following the loss to Western KY I went on this website and posted my prediction that Vanderbilt would win its next 9 games and be 15-3 by the time it played TN. I believe the post that followed my prediction had to be removed by the site administrator for profanity. Another poster praised my team spirit, but urged me to be "realistic". Well . . . here we are and never let it be said that I don't enjoy telling people "I told you so."

Time for another prediction. Jeff Lockridge of the Tennessean wrote of this coming week that the best that Vanderbilt can hope for is a split at TN and KY. I don't know if Vandy can beat TN in Knoxville, even after the upset loss at GA. If I had to choose, I'd say TN wins by less than 6 pts. However, I will predict this, if Vanderbilt does end up beating TN on Wed.,the 'Dores WILL, mark my words, beat KY in Rupp.

Fear the Commodore.

Anonymous said...

Another anony.. besides you write as though this is done (lob) in every game. It has been successful so why not?

Bobby O'Shea said...

Anoyomous 9:47: Absolutely. Who is executing the play isn't the point at all. It's the play (or lack thereof) itself,that's the problem.

Anonyomous 9:52: A lob to a big man 20+ feet from the basket who's offensive options are severely limited is not effective. In-bounding the ball from under your basket is a great opportunity to run a good play and get an easy scoring opportunity in the half-court. That opportunity is squandered if the player receiving the pass is constrained in what he can do. That play is never "effective," it is merely getting the ball in play. And while that's fine, the Commodores would be better served if out-of-bounds sets offered something more.

Anonymous said...

you are so ... oshea basketball isnt all about a made up play it is although most of the time spontaneous with a hint of organisation and a lot of skill. You do what works and no doubt this has been practiced so maybe stalling did put the play in.