Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Instant "Analysis": Bobby's Thoughts on Vanderbilt's Loss

It seemed appropriate to use the same title to talk about this Tennessee loss as it did the last one. The comments in post-game thread make a lot of good points. There's lot of blame to go around for this one, and despite a sub-par coaching performance, I think Stallings identified some of the key problems in what had to be his shortest post-game press conference of the year.

Here are some things that stuck out to me in Vanderbilt's 60-51 loss to Tennessee
16: Coach Stallings characterized most of Vanderbilt's 16 turnovers are either "careless" or "selfish." That seems pretty accurate as well. Some of the turnovers can be credited to Tennessee, who are a very good defensive team (when they want to be), and some of it can be blamed on the officials who allowed an awful lot of contact to go (Goins hand-checking Brad leading to a kicked ball in the 1st half come to mind). Overall though, the blame has to go to Vanderbilt, who did not take care of the basketball. The number of turnovers in transition was particularly disappointing, causing me to look at another number.
- 13: Tennessee attempted 13 more field goals than Vanderbilt. In 2 games, they've attempted 36 more shots than we have. That is a truly astonishing number, There are a couple reasons why they got so many more attempts, turnovers and rebounding, both of which will be discussed below. Vanderbilt only attempted 44 shots, their lowest total in SEC play by 5 shots, In the other SEC games when they attempted less than 50 shots (Alabama and Arkansas), they at least shot the ball well (51% against Bama, 46.9% against Arkansas). Tonight, they didn't take that many shot, and they shot it poorly. Not a recipe for success.
- 6: That's the number of fast-break points we got. Compare that to Tennessee, who had 12, including several uncontested dunks in the 1st half. Stallings made reference to players trying to do too much during his press conference as well as his post-game interview with The Voice, Joe Fisher. Clearly, he was referring to John Jenkins, who made a couple bad decisions in transition, as well as in forcing the action off the dribble, only to get stymied by a Volunteer double team.
- 3: That's how many offensive rebounds the Commodores had. As if that's not bad enough, Vanderbilt only had 1 offensive rebound in the 2nd half, and that came with 18 seconds left off when John Jenkins grabbed his own shot. On the game, the Commodores had just 2 second chance points, compared to Tennessee's 8. Isolating UT's 2nd chance point and fast-break advantage (+12), and you can easily see how why the Commodores lost.
- 3: Unfortunately, this was a critical number for Vanderbilt tonight. Not only did they not hit one in the second half (0-8). but its also the number of points we scored in that last 9 minutes and 12 seconds of the game. The score was 48-41. Tennessee ended the game on a 19-3 run.
- 1: That's the number of shots Vanderbilt attempted between the 3:23 and the :38 mark of the game (a missed 3 by Brad). In that same stretch, we committed 2 turnovers, missed 2 free throws, and lost both Festus and Stevie Thunder. It goes without saying, that that is not how you finish a game. Jeffery Taylor drove the lane and hit a lay-up with 5:02 left in the game to give Vanderbilt a 2 point lead. It would be the last time they scored

I'm not trying to put a positive spin on this game (because frankly, I'm not sure if I wanted to I could), but Tennessee probably needed this game more than we did. The Volunteers, heading into last night's game were inching themselves closer to the bubble. As such, they needed to grit out a win, and they did. Give them credit, they had a good game plan and executed it. For their part, the Commodores made things easier by not putting the Volunteers away when they had the chance (sound familiar?).

The Commodores are now 8-5 in the SEC and find themselves (again) in a dog-fight for 2nd (and the SEC Tournament bye that comes with it). UGA and UK, just .5 games back, are both 7-5 in the SEC. UGA plays Florida on Thursday in Gainesville in a game where Commodore fans should actually be rooting for Florida; UK goes on the road tonight against Arkansas, in a game where you have to think Coach Cal's team finds a way to win on the road. Crunching the numbers, I don't think we win a tie-breaker with the Wildcats, setting up a critical showdown next Tuesday in Lexington for Vanderbilt (a position we did not want to find ourselves in) if we want that bye. If the Commodores don't win next Tuesday, one has to think they'll be playing a Thursday afternoon game in the SEC Tournament. If they'd won last night, they probably wouldn't have had to win that game in order to avoid another showdown with Auburn or LSU. They didn't. Kevin Stallings' teams never seem to do things the easy way, so why should this year be any different?


Always Wanted to Play Piano said...

I'm less concerned with the loss itself than I am with the lack of toughness. We got beat up on our home floor. Our big guys responded with cheap fouls (in particular on Hopson, although Coach Stallings' presser seems to suggest he doesn't see it that way). Everyone else shriveled.

Jimmy Dykes made the point several times last night that this is a team built to go deep into the NCAA. If I am an NCAA opponent, I see the blueprint for taking us out of what we want to do. Winning isn't necessarily pretty.

Props to UT for doing what they had to do. It'll be the best news they'll see in awhile, what with today's NCAA announcement.

Anonymous said...

IF we beat LSU this weekend, odds we'll still be ranked come Monday?

Anonymous said...

No chance we will be ranked even with a rank. We get no love from the voters as seen by no movement after going 2-0 last week.

Bottom line is we can't keep blowing leads like this. It seems like the opposing teams can make these adjustments but we can't. Stallings needs to do a better job adjusting or making sure our guys don't get lazy down the stretch.

Walker looked awful last night and he is someone we will need in order to make a decent tourney run.

Is Taylor ever going to step up against a good team? He had 7 pts against Florida, 4 pts against UK, 7 pts against UGA,and 9 pts last night. Terrible.

Anonymous said...

Stallings seemed pretty pissed off about "selfish" play last night, I'm guessing taking a shot at Jenkins.

Pretty unfortunate that he throws the guy who has saved his behind on multiple occassions under the bus instead of taking the blame on his shoulders. Perhaps if he adjusted and John gotten the ball in position where there weren't three UT defenders manhandling him, he wouldnt have had "5 turnovers" and couldve had better shot opportunities.

I put this loss squarely on the coaching staff as it is a culmination of all our bad habits this year. We are lucky to have 20 wins how sloppy we have been all year long.

Anonymous said...

Vandy fans, to make your life easier…stop thinking JT is a go-to-guy for this team and you will not be as frustrated. I gave up on Taylor after I was 3 rows behind the goal at the UT game in Knoxville and saw his refusal to go inside against weaker competition. The kids a head case and the sooner you recognize this, the easier it is to watch this team play.

As for Stallings, sometimes the man just confuses me. He’s a good coach, make no mistake about it and we are lucky to have him. However, he is not the coach I want in big game situations. I understand when he says “we didn’t have a good preparation for this game,” its going to happen, but what then? Does he address the bad practice to his team or does he let it ride out without addressing the problem? I’ve heard him say he’s not big on pre-game motivation but come on! It’s your biggest rival and I’d like to see us play with a little more emotion than last night. Tennessee is not good and yet they managed to sweep us this year… it’s mind blowing, but give them credit, they needed a win and they got it.

All in all it was just a bad game. It will be interesting to see how this team responds on Saturday against another inferior team. We still have a lot to play for and talent to go along with it. Hopefully with everyone back, we can finally find a good balance and scheme for opponents knowing we are getting healthy.

Anonymous said...

this doesn't help either...

Anonymous said...

Is there anyway we can erase the last 24 hours from our programs history? The loss, the mascot... dear god.

We have had some rough times sticking by Vandy (the 20+ year bowl drought) but this has by far been the most embarrased Ive ever felt

Bobby O'Shea said...

I'm not happy about the last 24 hours either, but I think to say this has been the most embarrassing period they can remember seems hyperbolic. I don't know about you all, but for me the most embarrassing moment was the Sienna loss circa 2007

DRW said...

I think once we ravage LSU this weekend and we're still ranked in the 22-25 range come Monday, we will be able to move onward. It's not like we didn't just have a five-game win streak. We're still in good shape for NCAA Tourney seeding. And I'll tell you what- a win at Rupp next week would allow me to fully forgive the mayhem that occured at Memorial during the last 24 hours...

Vandygal78 said...

Thought i was over that pathetic game when I saw the mascot debacle. We are next to stories about Al from Dadeville.. This game won't ever go away will it?

Anonymous said...

Can we ban white out games everytime we play ut? we are 2-2 in those games...obviously its not putting fear in them

Sienna was bad but last years first round loss was awful. I just walked around without purpose for the rest of the day

AD said...

I take issue with the "they needed this one more than we did" argument or explanation because it can sound like either a) when the other team really wants or needs to win, Vandy sloughs off, or b) Vandy thinks they didn't need this one (or thinks it can take games off).

a): I think we're all looking forward at the NCAA tournament with our comments, and appropriately so. Obviously, tournament games are do-or-die. In every game, including the first round, our opponent will be at least as desperate as UT was last night.

b): I think the implications of this angle are plain. Do we let other teams decide how important a game is to Vanderbilt? Do we show up, or not, to a game based on how important [we, our opponent, the media] decide(s) the game is? Do we take games off for any reason? I know not every team wins every game, and even the best teams have "off" nights, but I don't see Duke saying they lost to FSU because it wasn't an important game to Duke.

Adjusting expectations based on reality is one thing, but creating realities to explain our disappointed expectations is another. While aspirational thinking may have value, the latter creates false feedback that does not aid future improvement.

Anonymous said...

At the end VU reverted to Dec/ Jan close outs, or lack thereof.

Can't one at least run a play and get a reasonable shot - dont panic? They are double teaming on the perimeter. Someone is wide open.

UT played defense, VU did not last 10 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully this was lying Pearl's last game in Memorial

Anonymous said...

Kentucky just lost at Arkansas if it makes anybody feel better? As much as this lose does hurt and sting, we should not act like we have no future ahead of us. We have the SEC tourney, which now due to a UK loss we are looking at high hopes for a bye and maybe another shot at UT. Then we are gaurenteed a seed in the NCAA and whether its a 4 or a 12 we are still going to fight and make a valiant effort to prove ourselves. As of leadership, we are asking JUNIORS to step up. Currently, nobody who averages over 5 min a game is a senior. Lets be real here. Go Dores.

Anonymous said...

Lets spin this whole mascot thing... "Mr.C is bat (blank) crazy! Beats the (blank) out of Vandy fans... you dont even wanna know what he'd do to UGA..."

Plus this gives us street cred. UT shaves off serial numbers from guns, our mascot beats the heck out of his own fans... we are bad a now

The more time that passes with last nights loss, the funnier the video of Mr. C gets