Sunday, November 21, 2010

VSL Gets You Ready: Previewing Vanderbilt vs. UNC

Today is one of those epic sports days as college basketball and pro football gloriously intersect. My beloved Falcons take on the Rams at 4:30, and the Commodores get a nice early season surprise playing UNC at 5:30. UNC is a 4 point favorite in the game.

The 'Dores are coming off a tough last second loss to West Virginia on Friday, and UNC is coming off a tough upset at the hands of Minnesota. UNC is a young and incredibly talented team led by freshman phenom Harrison Barnes and junior forward Tyler Zeller. They have a deep young bench as well with 10 players average at least 15 minutes a game.

Zeller, Barnes, and John Henson are tough players to work against in the post. All are athletic and create match-up problems against big guys who have difficulty moving their feet. They are set up by Larry Drew II at the point, who incurred much wrath from the UNC faithful last year. Freshman Kendall Marshall is also a significant contributor from the perimeter.

I do believe that the 'Dores match-up well with UNC. While the Tar Heels have height, they don't have any true bangers down low. The most interesting match-up of the game will likely be Jeffery Taylor going against Harrison Barnes. Barnes is projected to be the number one pick in next year's NBA draft, and Taylor is touted as one of the best defensive players in college basketball. Both have a lot of length and athleticism, and it should be interesting to see two first-round NBA picks battle it out.

I love this match-up early in the season. It's not a must-win by any stretch, and it provides a real nice measuring stick for this team, which has, in my opinion, played only one half of the kind of basketball it is capable of in this tournament. Will Stallings get the 'Dores playing to their potential against his old mentor Roy Williams? It should be fun to watch.


Stanimal said...

Dr. MZ will no doubt come by and gloat as wel, so the VSL braintrust has a little bit of a rivalry going along. Woody will also be conflicted in this match-up, but hopefully his heart will remain with his alma mater.

Andrew Smith said...

I love the insistance that Jeffrey Taylor is a first round NBA pick despite the fact that he has trouble playing in college.

Does he have the physical talent for the NBA? Certainly. But up to the point he has yet to demonstrate even a modicum of the one thing that's way, way more important for NBA success: that combination of confidence and aggressiveness that it takes not just to dominate other men but to see it as your entitlement to dominate.

If he doesn't develop that, he's headed for Italy.