Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bobby's Mississippi State Post-Game Thoughts

Vanderbilt's 75-72 win over Mississippi State was unnecessarily close, still a win is a win, and the Commodores are now 17-4 overall and tied for first in the SEC at 6-1. Certainly, the last 4:00 leaves a bad taste in the mouths of Commodore fans, but let's not lose sight of the fact that the Commodores are in very good shape. Now that I've gotten the "half full" part of the post, allow me to vent.

Vanderbilt led the Bulldogs 71-59 heading into the last media time-out. There was 3:53 left, and I was wondering when we'd hit 80 to ensure I'd be snacking on a free taco from Taco Bell. Oh how wrong was I? Mississippi State out-scored the Commodores 13-4 down the stretch. Vanderbilt didn't score a field goal in the final 4 minutes, missed 2 free throws, managed just 5 shots, and allowed Mississippi State to hit 3-5 three pointers. All in all, it was a total collapse by a Vanderbilt team that would have lost had the game lasted another minute.

Colin's comments on the open-thread take Jermaine to task for his play down the stretch. I would agree that Jermaine's three pointer with a lot of time on the shot clock after an Andre Walker offensive rebound was certainly ill-advised. Would it have been a "dagger"? Yes. But that doesn't mean it was a good shot. An anonymous commenter plays the "what-ifs" game and goes down the litany of things that went wrong. He's not wrong as all the things we highlights did jeopardize the game. Still, we won.

Jarvis Vernado missed a triple-double by 1 block. His line was 12 points, 14 boards, and 9 blocks. That is a monster game.

Besides the collapse down the stretch, I am officially joining Stanimal and the rest of those in VSLNation concerned about Jeffrey Taylor. He was just 1-7 from the field, and took several bad shots that are out of his range. He might become one, but presently, he is not a jump shooter, and he forced a lot of shots. Had it not been for his 5-6 night from the line, he would have been even less effective. Worse, JT didn't score or attempt a shots in the second half. He looks completely out of sync, and his body language heading to the bench was completely dejected. Vanderbilt's starting forwards were an abysmal 2-11 from the field. Neither Walker nor Taylor looked particularly good tonight, although Jeff did grab 7 boards.

A.J. was decidedly more aggressive in the second half, despite missing several put-backs in the final 4 minutes. He scored 10 points, took it to Vernardo who should have been called for his 5th foul at least twice.

I continue to be frustrated by the play of Lance Goulbourne, who has all the tools to be a good player, but seems to constantly make bone-headed mistakes, whether in the form of bad passes, blown defensive assignments, or forced shots.

Vanderbilt's got a big test this weekend in Athens against Georgia. The Bulldogs blew a 15 point halftime lead to Arkansas (who's now tied with Ole Miss and Mississippi State for 1st in the west at 4-3). Georgia has squandered leads throughout conference play, but given the way the Dawgs dismantled the Volunteers, this is certainly a team to fear. Still, this is a game Vanderbilt, as an elite team, should win. We'll have more on that game moving forward, in the meantime, we're 6-1 and tied for first in the conference. If this is the sky falling, then I'll take it.


Douglas James said...

Thank God I wasn't able to watch the game tonight. I clearly would have been thrown out of whatever bar I was in for smashing a pint glass against the wall.

We really shouldn't be having ending to games like that this late in the year. Thats what worries me.

Colin said...

That analysis seems far to level headed and rational Bobby, it makes me uncomfortable. Just to be clear, I don't think Beal should be benched at this point, though I did suggest it early on in the season to give him a reality check, so I don't see why everyone has turned this into a Predicament vs Tinsley issue. They are both better on the floor together, and many of our anonymous friends are way more unjustifiably irrational about Tinsley then I am about Beal, and at least I'm willing to put my name to it and form full coherent statements. Tinsley has stepped up in a big way and is maybe the only one who looks to grind the life out of opponents when we get going even if its at the line and not as fan pleasing as dagger threes. My point is that people need to get off the stat sheet, this team has proven that if someone doesn't score someone else will pick up the slack, and I would much rather my pg made me feel comfortable with a 14 pt lead late and didn't make me throw things against walls during games we should have easily won by 20. I don't think that's to much to ask, and Jermaine was not that guy tonight, he's shown flashes of late and he'll have more chances, and I sincerely hope it clicks. I just don't understand why no one else on this blog, after touting him so highly, is willing to admit that it's an issue. I fielded at least 3 this team has Siena NCAA disaster written all over it calls after the game, and I hate to say it but I feel like one of the keys that will decide between that and elite eight(It was a travel) status will be whether things click for Beal, and I don't mean in the scoring column.

AD said...

Any thoughts about what seemed to be a reemergence of Darshawn tonight? Anything more than a factor of an opponent perceived to be weaker, coming off a tough road game?

Chuck Heston said...

A recurring theme throughout the last 6 or 7 games is Vandy beating a tough opponent despite playing avg. or slightly below avg. ball. In those games certain players were non-factors (AJ and JT being some of the repeat offenders in this category), while others stepped-up big time (Beal and Walker being examples). I thought that this dichotomy was a sign of a good team in that when some were lagging, others picked up the slack and carried the team. The assumption, however, was that this would occur temporarily and that the people having bad games would come back the next game.

A growing concern that I have over the last 2 games is that the players who are struggling continue to do so to some extent and the other players aren't stepping up as much. The remainder of the SEC schedule is not easy and will require the players playing up to their potential for a full 40 min.

While I'm not terribly worried at this point, I'm starting to see a trend developing similar to the one at the end of Shan's Sr. season, where a player (or a couple players) are carrying the team and we're in trouble when he or they have a bad game.

Anonymous said...

I believe JT did take one "shot" in the 2nd half, which was a weak attempt at driving into the paint that was pile drived by Varnado. All in all, good summary. Like you said, a win's a win, and 2-3 against UT, UK, and MSU is a victory, albeit a hollow one.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that this idiot colin believes that vandy success depends only on Beal and a click. 5 people on floor and Beal is clicking for the last several games and the most consistent in a positive way.Get your head out of Brad's rear so you can see the truth that without him vandy is nowhere.

Anonymous said...

Just because you put your first name out there doesn't mean anything except you are a retard that wants to be well known as an idiot.. another anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Beal is the best player on the team at this moment. Without him we go 0-3 the last 3 games. The same can not be said about any of the others.

Too much crying for a team in first place. Hey my Lakers beat the crappy Bobcats by 2, should I be in the laker whining too?

Vandy just beat 2 of the top 4 teams in the conference in the last 8 days. This is the best VU team in almost 2 decades, perhaps longer. Too much sand in peoples vagis.


Andrew Smith said...

I tend to have a slightly more optimistic take on last night than Bobby. What I see is a team that got way ahead, decided to take the opportunity to try new things that would develop skills (like JT shooting from outside) and then got out of synch as Miss State closed the gap.

AJ: Looked as aggressive as I have seen him in the second half and marginally bested one of the best players in the SEC. That said, the end of the game also showed what he lacks that would make him a monster player. At one point with a couple minutes left, AJ had the ball within a couple feet of the basket and he (rightly) went up aggressively for the dunk without fearing the block. But he was blocked -- and that shows that while more physical and agressive than he has been, he's still not aggressive enough. No shot blocker, not even the best in the history of college, should be able to block a player of AJ's size within two feet of the basket. The ball should be going down so hard that sticking your hand or arm in the way would be a sure recipe for getting a broken hand or arm. (That's why you never see that shot blocked in the NBA. It would only injure the blocker without actually blocking the shot.) If AJ can realize he has the power to break any arm that gets in his way, he will be a dominant SEC player.

Tinsley: I was on him as hard as anyone at the beginning of the season, but he has really elevated his game and he deserves some respect.

Walker: Had a seriously off game, but it happens.

JT: I don't mind him taking outside shots -- if it's with a purpose. From what I read, he can nail those shots in practice, but he lacks the confidence to nail them in games. I don't think there's any way to get game shot confidence except to take a bunch of them in games. If you go back and look, he took most of his outside shots when Vandy was up big, which is the best time to practice that sort of thing. If last night was the sort of intentional practice I think it was, then it's worth some wasted possessions, because if he develops enough of an outside shot that defenses must guard him tight outside, his drive becomes that much more potent. Heck, if he develops an outside shot, he becomes one of the elite players in the conference. Granted, he didn't look good on the drives last night, but Miss St. does have the nation's best shot blocker in the middle.

Jenkins: Yes, he made a bone-headed play at the end, but I also liked what I saw from him. He created room for a shot on several occasions last night, which he hasn't done much this season. If he learns to make his own shots, (which he obviously will as time goes on) then he becomes truly deadly.

Anonymous said...

To add to Andrew's comments on Jenkins. After the bone-headed play, he immediately drained two from the stripe to all but put the game away. To me, I saw a freshman with great composure and one who will never make that mistake again. Here's to The Future!

Drubaru said...

This ^^^^. Especially the - Jenkins creating his own shots part. Cannot WAIT for him to fully develop.

Seamus O'Toole said...

Colin -- Here's my problem with your Beal-bashing: It is (1) incessant, (2) ironic given the fact that Beal's CLEARLY been the best player on the court for Vandy in the past 3 games, and (3) it's constantly followed by comments like "I'm making room for everyone on the Tinsley bandwagon," so as far as your defense of not trying to make this "Tinsley vs. Beal" and pit the two guards against each other, I think there's only one person who can be accused of doing that. But most importantly, what irritates me to no end is that you're being so completely and irrationally one-sided.

I watched that last 3 minutes and Beal may have made one or two mistakes, but those were nothing in my mind compared to, e.g., Lance's blown defensive assignment allowing easy dunk, AJ's turnover underneath our own basket followed by easy layup, Tinsley's two missed free throws which led to a 5-point swing because they were able to outlet and get an open three, or Jenkins taking that shot underneath with 7 seconds left instead of pulling it back out and running down the clock. Where is your commentary on any of this? Nowhere. Why? Because you're biased. Plain and simple. Get over yourself.

Now, Beal taking a wide-open 3 with a lot of time left on the shot clock is questionable, and probably a mistake (given the fact that it didn't go in -- hindsight is always 20/20, never more so than for sports fans). But it was a WIDE OPEN SHOT. Give me a break, the guy had hit 3 of 4 threes to that point in the game and he gets an open look that could ice the game and we've got someone who claims to be a "fan" trying to make him out to be a mule because of it?

From henceforth, until he proves to me otherwise, Colin shall be known on this blog as "The Predicament."

Go Dores.

Unknown said...

Wow, really peeps?! Just finished watching the replay via ESPN360, and in my just-as-legitimate-as-yours opinion, I think Darshawn is VU's true X-factor. Can I get some McClellan love?! How about a Chris Meriwether shout-out???

Get ready Athens, you're about to get punished.

Anonymous said...

lol william d

Anonymous said...

I think that there are people on here that make statements just to get a rise out of someone. He must have a boring life.Get a job, girl or boyfriend or something.

Colin said...

First off it's not questionable, it's a mistake. It's just as big a mistake as Jenkins not running clock, and it's one the senior pg shouldn't make, but that me and my roomates knew he was making as soon as he got the ball.
Secondly of course I talk about Beal mroe then others becasue he is the player who I have a divergent opinion then other readers about. What is the point in discussing things we all agree about. Yes AJ is soft, yes Fez is raw but talented, yes JT has officially intered witness protection, and yes Jenkins has tons of talent and just needs to gain experience. Jee that was fun and stimulating. The two most polarizng figures on this team are Beal and Tinsley, so why wouldn't I want to talk about them?
Lastly, as anyone who actually follows this blgo knows I have weighed in and given Beal credit where credit is due the last few weeks, and taken much diserved flack so again why wouldn't I chime in when he goes back to being the player I claim he is at times? I've never said he shouldn't play, I just prefer when he sticks to one style of play and makes good basketball decisions, and am infinitely pissed off when he doesn't because I know he can. He killed us in games early on in the year, and has adjusted and been much better for us, but why does that give him a free pass when he is a bonehead? The question is why don't all fo you who blindly love him expect better from a guy who will be the winningest Dore in school history by the end of the season and still doesn't consistently get it.
As for the Tinsley thing, I have been ponting this out because it's hypocritical that you guys absolutely killed Tinsley early on in the year in defense of Beal, and now that he is playing markedly better, not better then Beal but his improvement has been greater through the course of the season, and yet no one is defending him and pointing fingers the way they did when Beal stepped up his play. No one seems to want to adress in any of there rebutles. I can be a Vandy fan and not blindly praise everything everyone on the team does. that just makes me not a homer.

Stanimal said...

In my mind, what gives Beal a free pass is that he does something no one else is willing to do: put the team on his back when we seem to be collapsing.

Sure, he makes mistakes. The whole team makes mistakes. I don't expect him to be a perfect point guard. He's not even a consideration for a pick by most NBA scouts standards. There's no hype that surrounds Jermaine Beal, and there never has been. Beal is a solid player who has done a whole hell of a lot for our program.

I think it's pretty well documented that there was a bash-session on both Beal AND Tinsley around here early on in the year. Bobby stated incessantly that he hated Dolla doing exactly what Colin doesn't like about him, jacking up threes in transition and running out of control. The difference between then and now, in my opinion, is that Dolla does whatever we need to win games. There are times where he distributes, and there are times where he needs to shoulder the scoring weight. This team is still very young and many guys have a long way to go to reach their ceilings. Beal has done everything he can to make this transition easier for the rest of the team. Of all the guys, he is by far the most consistent player. Therefore, when he makes a bonehead play or two, I give him the benefit of the doubt, because the little things he does well outside of that, the leadership he displays, and his willingness to step up when we get smacked in our collective face, is what distinguishes him from some of the other guys right now. Without Dolla Beal, this team is still good. But with him, this team is something much more.

You find me a perfect playing point guard and I'll find you an NBA team that will snatch him up immediately.

Stanimal said...

As for Tinsley, he's light years improved from his play earlier in the season, which was clearly just an early season funk. The more I watch him play, the better I think he is. Between him, Beal, and Jenkins, I would put our backcourt up against a lot of teams nation-wide.

Unknown said...

I think that the team is best when both play well... of course I would take the combo of Dan Cage and Ross Nelter over both those scrubs ANY DAY.

p.s. I dominate Cory Smith at Madden '03 on original XBox.

Anonymous said...