Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bobby's LSU Post-Game Thoughts

I keep telling myself a win is a win, because it is. It doesn't matter if you win ugly, it only matters that you win. And despite not having two major contributors in Andre Walker and John Jenkins Vanderbilt came away with a 77-69 victory over the lowly LSU Tigers. Could we have played better? Absolutely, but this game is less troubling to me than the Mississippi State win where the Commodores squandered an 11 point lead in under 4 minutes.

First off, Vanderbilt found a way to win. The Commodores had a difficult time finishing, and didn't shoot the ball well at all in the first half. In the second half, however, Vanderbilt was 12-18 from the field, and 3-6 from downtown. Here's the key stat though, they attempted 30 free throws in the second half, and 43 for the game (the same number they attempted against Tennessee). The Commodores took better advantage of their free throw opportunities against the Volunteers (hitting 37) than they did today (only hitting 31). Still, they made just under twice as many free throws as the Tigers attempted. Better still, foul trouble kept Storm Warren off the court for much of the game, while Tasmin Mitchell only played 8 minutes in the first half after picking up his 2nd foul. Admittedly, Vanderbilt didn't take as much advantage as they could have in the first, and Mitchell still ended up scoring 20 points, grabbing 6 boards, and playing the entire second half. Were we lucky to win? The more I write, the more I think we were.

Lance stepped up in a big way today, scoring a career high 18 points and adding 9 rebounds in 26 minutes of play. Lance, Jeffery Taylor and Beal scored 50 of the team's 77 points. Jermaine was good for a big bucket when the team needed it, while Taylor made up for an off shooting day by getting to line 11 times, of which he hit 8.

A.J. added another 12 points, although he really wasn't much of a factor until late when he scored 8 points in the final 5:52. The student section is starting to turn of A.J. Today, given LSU's lack of size, was a great chance for Ogilvy to have a big game and earn back some love from the fans. Alas, that didn't happen. He looked lethargic for most of the game and only attempted 5 shots. The fact he's only attempting 5 shots indicates me to both that he isn't working hard enough to get the ball, and that his teammates aren't doing enough (or don't have much confidence) to get him the ball.

That Vanderbilt will have an extra day or two to get ready for their trip to Ole Miss is much needed, as it should give Andre Walker and John Jenkins more time to recover. I am not overly concerned that Vanderbilt will face Kentucky less than 48 hours later. The emotional charge of playing the #2 Wildcats at Memorial should be enough to withstand any hangover effect from playing two nights before. Honestly, I'm more worried that Vanderbilt comes out flat against the Rebels looking ahead to Kentucky, than I am about Vanderbilt being affected by playing 2 games in less than 2 days.

Again, a win's a win, and Vanderbilt is currently 8-2 in the SEC. Despite what the announcers at the network formerly known as Jefferson Pilot say, Vanderbilt is playing for seeding, and it ain't going to be for a 6 or a 7.


Anonymous said...

Good post. Sums it all up

Chuck Heston said...

LSU is a good example of how quickly a team's fortunes can change. LSU was 13-2 and #1 in the SEC when it faced Vandy last year. LSU was perhaps the only SEC team that could remotely be described as a juggernaught last year. Vandy beat LSU, who went on to lose its last regular season game. LSU had a 1st round bye in the SEC Tournament, beat KY on Fri. and then lost to Miss State on Sat. They earned an 8th seed in the NCAA Tournament, won their 1st round game and then lost to UNC, who was on its way to win the Tournament. LSU has failed to win a single game in the SEC this year.

I mention all of this only to stress the point that no matter how well a team is doing in conf. play late in the season, disaster can lay right around the corner if it doesn't play with intensity right through the end of conf. play. It is still well w/n the realm of possiblity that this team finishes 3rd or 4th in the SEC, loses early in the SEC Tournament and gets an 8 or 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Vandy was lucky against LSU and unlucky against GA. With teams like Ole Miss, KY, Arkansas and FL on the remaining schedule, it will need more than 1 player to step up.

Stanimal said...

Bobby, the question really is whether you are going to be able to handle it when Seamus, Doug and I come to Nashville next weekend.

Anonymous said... TN still going to be ranking higher than VU? If so, it doesn't make sense after we swept them this year. Can someone explain this to me like I'm a 3-year old?

Anonymous said...

I think the Ole Miss game is one of the most important games of the year. Ole Miss is a beatable team for VU and if Ky loses to Miss St it's an even more critical game. Either way they need to beat Ole Miss to make the Ky game important for VU as well as Ky.

Anonymous said...

I heard that, too – playing for a "6 or 7" seed.

It showed not just an ignorance about the two teams they were broadcasting, but a broader ignorance of college basketball.

Sports announcing is these guys' CAREER (or at least part of it). A few minutes of Internet surfing would have made them better informed. If any of us were that bad at (or lazy about) what we do, we'd be fired.

At least they didn't do my biggest "these guys are paid professionals" pet peeve this year – "Vandy wants to slow it down."