Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What Kentucky's Loss Tells Me About Vanderbilt's Chances at Rupp

UK’s game against South Carolina provides a road-map to beating the #1 Wildcats Saturday at Rupp: hustle from the bigs; specifically, on the offensive glass. With this in mind, Vanderbilt would be well-advised to play with the reckless abandon that the Gamecocks displayed in besting the previously unbeaten Wildcats. The Commodores depth, particularly inside, if harnessed correctly, could be the difference. I know Vanderbilt has never been known as an aggressive rebounding team (especially on the offensive glass), but that strikes me a key to the game.

Granted, Vanderbilt doesn’t have Devan Downey, who continues to impress the hell out of me (and everyone else in America); but as Stanimal convinced me during a textversation during the 2nd half of this game, South Carolina’s offense is incredibly 1 dimensional. He claims that this game was a complete anomaly for the Gamecocks because of how well they rebounded (and how badly UK played). Stanimal says: “This game demonstrates one thing: UK is young and can be rattled when things aren’t going smoothly.” I would agree to some extent, but would just note that the Wildcats have won several very intense games against some quality opponents (the UConn game at Madison Square Garden certainly comes to mind).

Parenthetically (as if this whole post hasn’t been a long ramble), I would say that as difficult as it is to go on the road and face Tennessee and Kentucky in consecutive games, facing these two teams coming off losses, makes the task ahead for the Commodores that much more difficult. My question is, independent of talent, what’s worse for Vanderbilt: facing a Tennessee team that was embarrassed at Georgia? Or a Kentucky team that basked in the glory of being #1 for such a short period of time? Factoring in talent, injuries/personnel availability, and the “rivalry” of each game, I still think Saturday’s game at Rupp poses a bigger challenge. But it’s close.



As Seamus said, check out VSL tomorrow for Stanimal’s Vanderbilt v. UT preview. I am presently in Knoxville, and looking for tickets (as luck would have it). All I know is this, right now, YOUR Vanderbilt Commodores at #1 in the SEC East. Do you like Apples?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey.. I know it's necessary to look forward, but can we take a second to enjoy being in first place in the SEC?

Anonymous said...

Fundamental flaw in that road map is that Beal is no Downey, and we have no one that can give teams fits in that way. Weather he was one dimensional or not, having someone that can score 30+ and absolutely take over is crucial to beating a team like Kentucky. We don't match up with them as a team. I think we have a shot at nipping them in memorial but I don;t think we have any idea what kind of speed and athleticism is going to be thrown at us in Rup. Couple that with a truly hostile environment and a pissed off UK squad and I think we are all going to watch this at venues where we won't be running into Kentucky fans cuz it's going to get ugly.

Vandy-Montana said...

I kind of agree with the post above. I love our chances against UK in Memorial but not in Rupp. I think we have a MUCH better chance at beating UT. Ogivly needs a great game against that Chism fellow. This week will define our season. We go 1-1, I love this team. 0-2 and we have an uphill battle.

Chuck Heston said...

The KY loss will be (mis)used by SEC critics as evidence that the conf. is not that good this year. To the contrary, I think you could argue that the SEC is behind only the Big East in terms of quality of teams in the conf. KS lost in Knoxville, if you recall, and that was against a depleted TN squad.

An interesting (but perhaps totally irrelevant) point. The last team to hold the #1 spot, Texas, lost to K-State and then went on to lose their next game at UConn.

Bobby O'Shea said...

Just as a point if clarification: I said South Carolina was 1 dimensional, not Deven Downey, who is anything just.

VandyGold28 said...

This UT game is HUGE now that we are atop the SEC alone. I know we can wint his game....

Bob Loblaw said...

The Cats obviously deserved to lose last night, but I wouldn't want to be the Dores on Saturday.

Memorial will be a different story. Emotions will be different, and the young kids Kentucky plays might have a better understanding of what it really takes to win on the road after last night's loss.

Aside from Kentucky, there's no other team I'd rather see a the top of the SEC standings. Keep it up tonight, Dores.