Saturday, January 22, 2011

3 Things that Should Concern Coach Stallings and Vanderbilt Fans

Vanderbilt has won their last 2 at home, beating Ole Miss and St. Mary's by a combined total of 29 points. But each game, despite ending with the Commodores on top, has revealed a weakness that opposing teams and coaches will be able to exploit as the season unfolds. I'm sure I'm missing things (and have faith that our faithful readers will point out what I've neglected to mention), but here are the 3 areas where I think Vanderbilt is vulnerable:

1. Breaking the Press:

Ole Miss applied pressure periodically throughout their game against Vanderbilt. Frankly, I don't know why Coach Kennedy went away from the press because Vanderbilt was never able to effectively handle it. Perhaps no where is Andre Walker's presence missed more than handling pressure. Walker is Vanderbilt's in-bounder, as well as safety-valve, and his ability to bring the ball up inhibits teams ability to apply backcourt pressure. Tinsely still doesn't handle pressure all that well, and Kyle Fuller has a tendency to go too fast and act like a freshman when pressure is applied.

2. Defending the Pick 'n Roll

Vanderbilt had no answer for St. Mary's pick 'n roll all day. You have to give St. Mary's credit for executing the play proficiently, but the Commodores were terrible at switching on the perimeter. Vanderbilt always seemed to be losing the screener. If you're going to hedge, you've got to force the guard to go wider than he wants to, something the Commodores didn't do today. If Vanderbilt can't guard the pick 'n roll better going forward, teams will be able to score at will against them.

3. Scoring Against the 2-3 Zone

Vanderbilt was able to slash and penetrate against Ole Miss when they were playing man-to-man; against the 2-3, Ole Miss was able to prevent the Commodores from getting into the lane and stall Vanderbilt's offense. As with the press, I don't really understand why Coach Kennedy went away from it. Vanderbilt attempted 24 free throws in the second half, the majority of whch came when Ole Miss was playing man-to-man. Consider this, Vanderbilt erased a 3 point halftime Rebels lead, and won the game by 10. The Commodores scored 16 more points than Ole Miss from the line in the second. That's their margin of victory. This is all a long way of saying, Vanderbilt's offense is most effective when they are able to get to the rim and get to the foul line. The Commodore offense was stagnant against Ole Miss' 2-3 zone, and Ole Miss isn't that good.

There are certainly a lot of positives to take away from our last 2 wins, but these 3 things really stuck out to me in watching the team play. As the season progresses, Coach Stallings and staff will have to make adjustments to make the things I noticed less glaring to opposing coaching staffs.


Anonymous said...

Valid points, although not sure I noticed #2 that much. Love to have Andre back in time for FL, but thinking it will probably be mid-Feb.

Quite frankly, if you asked me before the season started that VU would have only 4 losses, I would have considered it the best possible result. It's just unfortunate that 3 of those losses were extremely winnable games. I would also not have guessed that the team would win 20 games in the regular season.

Anonymous said...

If the coach has "switch" called (meaning bite tbe bullet and risk the mismatch but everybody is still guarded) everybody has to be damn well ready to switch on the screen. Later in the game we started switching pretty good even though one time in meant Fuller guarding their tallest player from St. Mary in the low post and they were never able to get the ball to the guy. So it worked. But playing defense against that type of screen and roll offense is a matter of picking your poison with least amount of damage. I felt (with a good view of it at the game) that our defense with the exception of a few lapses got better as the game went on.

And yes, american idol does still suck. It blows total fanny.

Anonymous said...

When the small ball started, after Festus sat down with 4 fouls and Odom came in instead of Steve, the switching was exactly what was right. It won the game.

I think we just want this team to be better than they are. I said before the game that everyone else would have to hold their own (except at 5 spot where we were bound to be a little off) and then either Brad or Taylor would have to be better than usual. It was Brad who was better than usual. And of course Taylor's usual was very good. He insisted on going over and over to the rim, was fouled, hit the free throws. You are right--this is when our offense is most effective. Then when Kyle Fuller had his best game to date, we were darn good, even with serious injury problems.

I see Tinsley as pretty solid against the press. Of course we miss Walker very much. Maybe when he is back and we are generally healthy, this team will be as good as we want them to be, even if Lance and Jeff keep creating 10 turnovers between them.

Anonymous said...

this is like when geraldo showed the amry's map of attack in national news. all of the sec coaches are probably reading this now...we're domomed.

Anonymous said...

ehhh...meant "on" not "in", "doomed" not "domomed"

Owen said...

lance is really coming into his own. since the first of the year, his rebound totals are something like...5, 14, 10, 6, 16, 10. i'm also glad to see him scoring the basketball more too. as far as i'm concerned, when andre is healthy, he can be the 6th man and lance can start. i think lance has earned the spot.

i was also really pleased with fuller's performance yesterday.

during the post game interview with joe fisher, stallings admitted that they turn the ball over too much and that it's some of his best players doing it. he said that because of the way that they play, they will typically turn the ball over a little more often. that's fine and i can tolerate turnovers if they are winning games. that said, have you ever seen a college basketball team get called for walking/traveling/double dribbling more in your life? it's ridiculous! i think jeff's turnovers yesterday were mostly unforgivable. he had a stretch where he just looked awful on the floor and i was glad he got pulled.

Anonymous said...

the only reason we had trouble switching off pick and rolls is b/c neither fez or steve are 100%. they're both battling through injuries and it was hurting their play. we'll be fine. i can't really agree w/ most of those points.

macpfled said...

why would a coach ever be ok with 23 turnovers!! that is ridiculous. why does Tinsley throw one pick 2 per game? why does Jenkins step out of bounds when he catches the ball? how do lance/JT manage to have so many TO's?

Can we please imagine how good this team will be when they combine a good rebounding effort with a low TO performance. If we could just attempt the same amount of shots as the other team, we might very well be unstoppable.

look at these Opponents Field Goal attempts vs. Ours.
Ole Miss 67 v. 50
St Marys 62 v. 50
Tennessee 74 v. 51
Georgia 72 v. 50
South Carolina 75 v. 64
Missouri 81 v. 59

Yeah some of its skewed bc we hit our shots and go to the free throw line...BUT my god these stats are staggering.

Bobby O'Shea said...

Vandy needs a genuine point guard. Tinsley is a joke.