I don't think this team is "there" yet, but there is no doubt that this Commodore team is getting better with each game they play. Vanderbilt handily defeated Middle Tennessee State 73-53 and played the kind of game fans were looking for in the team's last non-conference contest. Vanderbilt had 5 players in double figures, with Jeffrey Taylor leading the Commodore charge with 14 points on 3-7 shooting. More impressive to me, was the fact the Jeffrey scored a majority of his points from the free throw line. He attacked the basket and got himself into a rhythm that way. The Future, John Jenkins, had another great game, scoring 13 points on 4-8 shooting, including 3-6 from downtown. A.J. scored 10 and showed some fire early, but he picked up several cheap fouls relatively early in the second half and only played 14 minutes. Jermaine Beal played another solid game, pouring in 11 points, including scoring 8 straight points to help the Commodores build a lead in the first. Finally, Vanderbilt's final double-digit scorer was Festus Ezeli, who is continuing to show real promise. He explodes into the air, is developing some decent low-post moves, and plays with a lot of emotion.
Some team stats to consider: 18 of Vanderbilt's 26 field goals were assisted. Vanderbilt committed only 10 turnovers, a number that has to be (I won't actually do the research and verify) their lowest total of the season. Conversely, the Commodores had 10 blocks.
Watching CKS' body language, it appears as if Brad is in his dog house. It's equally clear that John Jenkins is ready to start. I wouldn't be surprised if Jenkins doesn't crack the starting line-up soon, I'll be surprised. Brad appears to be forcing the issue at times, and isn't as confident handling the ball as he should be. Still, I think it might be time to give Jenkins a crack and really show the league what an inside-out game with A.J. and The Future looks like.
What do you think?
For those who watched or were at the game, what do you think of this team headed into conference play? 11-3 record without a "bad" loss (Western Kentucky knocked off Mississppi State 55-52), the Commodores are getting better at the right time. Could it be that it's officially time to get excited about this team again?