Thursday, March 17, 2011

Commodores Fall to Richmond Spiders 69 - 66; 3rd Straight 1st Round Exit for Vanderbilt in 4 Years

Official Box Score

VUCommodores.com's recap

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

May be time to start thinking about hiring an "assistant head coach" that is only there for the purpose of motivating the team to play hard when it counts... like in an NCAA Tournament game. Stallings is not getting it done.

Anonymous said...

I mean.. Really? I can't take anymore of these losses. Its just embarassing at this point. Had a layup to the Sweet 16 and they drop the ball??

CAR said...

We need to hire Charlie Sheen. Winning is the only thing this team does not do well.

New UT fan said...

Dear Vandy,

The rides been fun but it’s over for me. I am in my mid 20’s and I refuse to be someone in my 50’s supporting a team who is mediocre in EVERY MAJOR COLLEGE SPORT. When you have a lineup of Festus Ezeli, John Jenkins, Jeff Taylor, Brad Tinsley, and Lance Goulbourne and can’t win a 1st round game you are never going too again. Since I was 13 and cared about sports I have defended this team but cant anymore. I wish you luck and if you ever get passed the first round I will applaud and be happy for you.

For those of you who think the starting five mentioned above will all come back… you are ignorant. If I’m Jenkins or Taylor I’d enter the draft and if it doesn’t work out go overseas. Don’t let Stallings berate your play anymore and blame you for losses. Get as far away from him as possible and you might have a chance at a decent career. Since I live in TN maybe I’ll be a UT fan…

Can’t wait to hear Stallings blame his players and not accept any responsibility.

Sincerely,

New UT fan

KSDORE said...

This was painful, so gosh darn painful. Last year at this time we took solace in the fact that next year would be better. I am sure people will say that this year, but I refuse to buy in this time. Sure we will have lots of talent next year, but we had a lot of talent this year. I am firmly convinced our disappointing losses this year stemmed from the fact that this team was mentally soft, physically soft and didn't have a strong desire to win. I probably shouldn't comment on their motives, because I can't really know about those, but they certainly played like they were just happy to be there today.

We will have another year of experience under our belts next season, but I don't think soft players turn into driven players.

CKS never really seems to be that upset about loses to me. As a fan, I would like to see him go a little Frank Martin from time to time.

I hate to say it, but I starting to think that Vandy Bball doesn't have a culture of winning...

Steve said...

Dear New UT Fan,

Good riddance.

Sincerely,
Vanderbilt

AspenVU said...

Definitely had a layup to sweet 16 - needs to shake something up w/ coaches.

Anonymous said...

Then when ut loses to Mich. in the morning, he will have to find a new team again.

Anonymous said...

I just wrote a pullitzer-prize worthy post and this damn sign in feature screwed it all up and lost it.

I blame Kevin Stallings for this too.

Dore.ZA said...

I love Vandy. That's why I put myself through this every year. Can't wait till next year! Until then.... Go Belmont!!

wjb13 said...

Dear UT fan,

You have always been a UT fan. You just didn't realize until now that you need to be propped up by commuted jail sentences, ugly orange jumpsuits (and uniforms) and doing absolutely anything (cheating) to win.

Good luck in your new life with the moonshine nation...and get ready to get your ass beaten in baseball, finding a new basketball coach and maybe even taking it on the chin in football sometime soon.

good riddance,
real Dores fans everywhere

Anonymous said...

Kevin Stallings did great things for this program, but it's time to part ways. He brought us to national prominence and I will always like him for that, but at some point it becomes mental. Vanderbilt, and more specifically Stallings, have it in their head that they cannot get out of the first round. I do not believe in curses, but I truly believe that there is too much talent to waste next season (which could be great) by keeping the same coaching staff.

Kevin Stallings probably will never win another NCAA tournament game for Vanderbilt. He's a great coach, will have success forever in his career, but it's in the best interest for both parties that we part ways before next season.

CrocDownUnda said...

At least it was a moral victory.

Anonymous said...

I am going to try this again...

If something happens once, it's a fluke. If something happens twice, it's a trend. If something happens three times, it is a habit. Three first round losses = habit. Blows my mind.

We do need some perspective here... I am a 2000 grad. We went to the tourney in '97 and lost to Xavier when I was a freshman. We did not go again until 2004. Stallings had 2 sweet sixteen appearances. So, although I am really questioning his ability to get his team together...I have to look back on those wins and smile. When we beat Wash St. in 2007 in 2OT, I was the happiest man alive. I went to a Vandy event (I think it was that year) and we beat Kentucky by 40 points or something absurd like that... there were some recent Vandy grads that didn't even blink an eye. What am I saying? It seems like the younger Vandy fans are pretty spoiled, some of whom are writing on this site about becoming a Tennessee fan. Hey, if you wanna associate yourself Bruce Pearl and the rest of those rednecks, be my gues a-hole.

As I mentioned, three times is a habit and something is wrong. A reporter once asked Lou Holtz, "How do you motivate your players?". His answer: "I don't. I just recruit ones who already are." So, I agree that the players seem dispassionate. It's rare to see JT smile. AJ sure as hell never did. It seems like every time that they were up by 10 points this season, no one lit their hair on fire and went for th blowout. It's definitely disturbing. But again, thank God for those Sweet Sixteens...

JT's draft status went down this year. Johnny Cash's went way up, but he still doesn't seem to have the defensive skills to stop anyone. With Kevin Anderson stealing his post-season spotlight, his draft status can't be too high. Festus is unreal. Love the guy. He still has bricks for hands though. If all three of these guys come back, how will we do next year? I agree that losers don't become winners overnight... but I don't believe our guys are losers. The level of improvement among Brad, Johnny Cash, Fez, have been incredibly impressive. So maybe that's the silver lining here... National Champs 2012!!! Who's with me???!!!

AspenVU said...

Agree - good fun year - off season will be interesting.

I'd send Fes, JJ and Tin to leadership bootcamp.

Anonymous said...

Finally, VSL braintrust...hoping in your post-game report you could comment on why Vandy went away from the 2-3 zone. We seemed to be forcing bad shots in the first half and then they went apeshit and drained everything in the second half. I'm no basketball technician, but it seemed insane.

By the way, Stanimal and you other guys...many many thanks for the coverage this year. You guys have been a real pleasure to read. My only complaint is that there has been no effort to perpetuate the Johnny Cash nickname!!! Seriously... thanks.

KSDORE said...

I would like to echo the poster above, good work VSL. I am a big fan of the site.

I know the Committee claims it doesn't take past years into account, but let's say next year is another 9-7 SEC campaign, is there anyway Vandy is given anything above a 10 in the foreseeable future?

macpfled said...

Thanks for that double pump on the dunk Taylor. Two missed dunks in two possessions = loss. You belong in the NBA, you piece of shit. Good riddens. This team would be better without you. 1 for 10 with 2 turnovers, wow. You suck. You single-handedly lost 5 games for us this season. I am starting the Jeffrey Taylor for NBA draft fan club. Who else is with me?

Andrew said...

My apologies for how long this is, but you need space to defend a crazy conspiracy:

Why Vandy Never Stood a Chance:

The specifics of who played well and poorly are irrelevant. Regardless of who Vandy played, the game was going to go down to the last minute -- because the NCAA has rigged the tourney so that most games go down to the last minute -- and Vandy loses games that go down to the last minute.

Why I think all the close games are NCAA rigging rather than parity:

There’s only one factor I can think of that would increase parity in the last couple decades: the best players leave early for the NBA. That’s a big factor. Last year’s UK class might have won three national championships.

But I think there are even greater forces pushing against parity. 1. A combination of more money and Internet recruiting geek sites have wildly improved HS scouting, so no true talent goes without offers from the best programs and slips through the cracks to a small school. The only chances for small schools are kids who want to stay near home and kids who develop late. 2. Coaching money has gone up faster at big programs than small ones, so it’s way harder for a small program to keep top coaches than it once was. 3. Big schools keep widening the gap in terms of facilities and nutritionists and gyms and specialty coaches. Not only do they get a higher share of the better players coming in, they’re much better positioned to develop those players over four years.

The NBA issue means that you’d expect the top teams in the country now to be way worse than the top teams of 20 years ago. But all the other factors mean that the gap between a mid level big conference team and a top level small conference team should be greater now than 20 year ago. But it’s not.

How I counter the glaring weakness in my theory:

Yes, if the NCAA explicitly told refs to favor weaker teams enough to keep the games tight, it would get out and it would wreck the NCAA.

Which is why no explicit words have ever been said to anyone.

But you could achieve very similar results with virtually zero risk simply by rewarding officiating crews that produce tight games and letting people figure out what you want -- often subliminally. Hell, I’d bet that most of this operates at a completely subliminal level, that most of the refs have no idea what they’re doing.

And for those of you who think it would be obvious if the refs did this, consciously or not, you’re just wrong. Reffing is totally subjective. There are hundreds of calls or potential calls every game and changing half a dozen of them at pivotal times is enough to control any game that doesn’t involve truly monumental differences in ability levels, like the 1s and 2s playing the 16s and 15s.

I’m sure most of you think I’m absolutely nuts, but I’d love to see someone go through thousand of games and look at all the numbers.

The Upshot

The NCAA tourney has become a series of incredibly high stakes games that last one minute, and no team coached by CKS has ever been good at that, certainly not this team.

AspenVU said...

Bravo to the site, Bobby and STAnimal

Thomas said...

It seems this team is just too soft.

Is Coach Stallings like Coach Bobby Johnson in that they both greatly improved the programs in their respective sports, but it takes another coach to reach the next level?

even more anonymous said...

They gave it all they had and came up short. If they had come out on top, some of these negative posters would no doubt be acting like they had personally won the game.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but when the entire country, media, and even myself a huge vanderbilt fan thinks we are gonna lose in the first round, maybe we shouldnt get so upset.

After all, we all watched this team this year. They never never never never never played a full 40 minutes. They let at least 4-5 games slip away with double digit leads and we can add this one to the list.

No leader on this team. Our supposed NBA lottery pick disappears when it matters. In the past we knew Freije, Byars, Foster, etc were going to take the shots when it matterred, this year Jeffrey Taylor ran away from the ball.

If he's back next year, hopefully our coaching staff realizes that our offense should not be predicated on him. And thankfully, we are getting a guard who can defend at the point guard spot. B/c if you look at our history recently, we can not stop dribble penetration at the point guard spot and athletic point guards kill us.

Coach Stallings needs to get this team to commit on the defensive end. It never happened this year. They never showed urgency when it matterred most.

We shouldnt have expected anymore from this team after what they put us through all year.

Andrew said...

And just to bolster my crazy conspiracy theory (see above):

BYU on a 9-0 run and really starting to get in rhythm with 2:30 remaining in their game. Then the refs call four fouls on BYU in the next minute, including an invisible technical, while ignoring Ferdette being mugged twice while shooting.

Anonymous said...

Vandy is really hurting it's fan base with these losses. What's the point of having a solid season just to drop everything at the door in the biggest post season game. Worse, we could have easily won this game but the energy level and passion to win is just not there. It was pathetic. Starting lineup are not tough minded. And where is the bench contribution? dismal to say the least. Wasn't that Andre Walker on the sideline, what the hell was he doing in the building? Rod Odom: zero contribution, Tchengang (don't really care about the spelling) was just a body in there, and the rest of the bench, well why waste these scholarships anymore.
I hold CKS accountable, he's the reason for this program turing soft. Have you seen him in press conferences lately? where is the passion and energy dude? just tucking your tail in and praying to win the next game won't do it.
In fact the entire coaching staff needs to part..Assistant coaches are wortheless.
Serious damage was done today to this program...sadly I no longer wanna be part of it..good luck to the rest of you.

Sam

AspenVU said...

Get Bobby Knight in there as advisor to add some zing to the guys.

Bobby O'Shea said...

I get everyone is frustrated with the loss. Certainly I am. I think a lot of what everyone is saying makes sense.

We would would simply ask people to try and keep the language "family friendly." Some of the comments criticizing specific players are really over the line and I think we should all take a deep breathe before posting comments about college students.

AspenVU said...

Dont get onto CKS - North Carolina State did w Herb S - and look where they are - Great VU Program and Fun to be a part of it for a fan. Never Give UP.

This is hard stuff -

Karen said...

I think Jeff has some real confidence issues. I hope he can figure out what is going on over the summer. When he is "on", he is amazing. It just doesn't happen often enough and it seems like he needs someone else to really be "on" to spark him.
I love the team and I'm still a huge fan, even though I am crushed by today's game (and the losses to TN and some of the others).
I don't know if it's CKS. We need a leader on the floor.

Vandygal78 said...

Haven't really recovered yet from today's game. Thanks for all the great work this site does. I guess my biggest concern is that we always run out of emotion and plays with about 3-5 minutes left in the game. This has been going on for years now. Perhaps having all the asst. Coaches draw up potential plays for various scenarios would help too. Have options ready on the clipboard. If I had been coaching, a time out with a few motivating comments including overcoming our terrible reputation now would have been given. I do feel terrible for the team and coaches, what a pathetic ride home that will be. Can't imagine anyone will be going pro so we should be better next year, but Stallings needs to address this problem to his players and to the Vandy fans. But he needs to consult with his mentors for a refresher. Football practice starts tomorrow and I'm ready for it. And don't forget baseball is no.1. I've been a Vandy fan for over 35 years and I always will be no matter what.

Anonymous said...

I'm crazy upset by this turnout, as an alum and having been a Vandy fan for 20 years. I always have high hopes for our teams, yet rarely have high expectations. So I get really excited when we have great talent and all the pieces to make a deep tourney run, yet can't seem to put those pieces together correctly. Obviously something is wrong-broken-missing, and I'm not sure if it's Stallings or not, though it seems that he's a part of it. There also seems to be a lack of true leadership from the coaches or players - yet this is from an outside/fan perspective.

So, does anyone think that Vandy would truly get rid of Stallings now?

AspenVU said...

No way get off that train of thought - need to fix motivation but CKS is very good.

Peter said...

I was sitting directly behind the bench during the game. Stallings did all he could to motivate them at the start. I couldn't hear a ton of what he said in the second-to-last timeout, but he didn't draw up a specific play. He told John he didn't have to shoot, but beyond that, it was just take what they give you, and they ran their usual pick-and-roll play.

It's an Xs-and-Os thing right now, not a motivational thing.

How do you let Richmond pull 20+ 3-pointers?

Anonymous said...

At least, under the new tournament format, we technically played in a second round game today. I wonder if we'll play a real second round game anytime soon. Technicalities rule.

Bobby O'Shea said...

Peter,

Can you say more?

Vandy-Montana said...

5th Corona (yes I know it's St. Patty's day).

Free Throws.


That is all...

Andrew said...

I think most of the folks here are seriously misdiagnosing the problem with both CKS and the players.

It's not that they don't care. I really don't think it would be possible for college kids to be in that venue and not care. The problem is that they care so much they get anxiety that hurts their performance. They choke.

But why, you ask, do they look so emotionally dead? Because when you feel the anxiety welling up inside you try to fight it by suppressing your emotions -- because it is your emotions that are betraying you. It does strip the joy from you and you end up looking like a zombie, which is ironic given that your problem is excessive emotion or at least inappropriate emotions.

As for those folks who believe that the solution is for CKS to throw some chairs and otherwise be more emotional, I'm going to have to disagree again. Smart coaches certainly do use strategic shows of emotions at some points but the best ones are not constantly yelling and screaming. To the contrary, I'd say the best coaches tend toward the less emotional side, with Wooden being both the least emotional and most successful coach of all time.

That's not to say I don't think CKS is the architect of this team's mental weakness and underperformance. It has been a hallmark of his teams and thus stems, in some sense, from him. But I don't want him replaced by a fire breather. I'd like a way mellower coach, one who realized that the emotions he needs to elicit are those of relaxed concentration.

Wooden said you should never be able to tell from the expression on a player's face whether he was playing well or poorly or whether his team was winning or losing. Wooden's teams didn't choke much. That's much closer to my ideal than Bobby Knight.

barretchap said...

While I am frustrated/crushed by this loss, I actually thought the officiating was decent. There were some bad or missed calls both ways, but better than most of our SEC games.

I didn't think Richmond was a bad team going in or that we took them lightly. We came to play. What really was frustrating was that we lost in what was typical for this season (and yet it also explains why I'm not as mad). We seem to be in control, take a double digit lead, and lose the energy that built that lead. It happened in most of our losses so it seemed appropriate to end the season the same way.

I know you don't want us to call out individual players, but I have one comment about the team in general and some specific players. In the 2nd half, we gave up numerous off. boards while 3-4 guys stood around watching. It's like they are waiting for Fes or Lance to grab the ball. We haven't rebounded well enough for guys like Jenkins and Tinsley to start running up the court. We NEED to get every loose ball and that involves all 5 players on the court. That has been lacking all year. For the best example of this, watch the 2nd half from about the 11 minute mark to about the 9 minute mark. I do think this is a coaching issue. It's happened too often. Any coach that sees this trend should have address this issue.

I've been watching Vandy sports for 30 years now. CKS has been very good for the program and I like his recruits. I hope they all stay and hope that someone or all them decide they need to bring some attitude back from the offseason. For those that want to go orange, why? If you're going to pick a team just to be a bandwagon fan, shouldn't you start rooting for Kentucky. Vandy and Tennessee are essentially the same in the college basketball landscape. I think Tennessee got a far better draw in a very mediocre Michigan team.

Sorry for the extremely long post.

Vandy-Montana said...

Richmond played better today...period. We knew they were a good 3 pt. shooting team and we didn't defend the 3 pt. line. We could not get a stop in the 2nd half.

We really bit it in the first half when both Fez and Jenkins were on the bench and we didn't get a whistle for 3 minutes or so for them to come in. I thought CKS should have got a quick TO to get them in there.

Did I mention FT's?

Greg M said...

going to start a firekevinstallingd.com website tomorrow. who is with me?

Greg M said...

Kevin sux. I know he doesn't play the games. But WTF, all the national rec we get is now blown away. It will now start to hurt recruiting.

Who Does Less With More Talent? said...

Confession time: this result helped my bracket. It's true. I saw enough from this team this season, and from CKS teams over the last 3 seasons, to know that this result was not only possible, but probable.

I'm not sure you can blame players for losing 11 of 12 regular season final games. Or that we have faded down the stretch for 3 consecutive years.

The last play of the game...I mean...there are not words to describe. AFter a time out, how could it go so poorly? And why was Lance taking so many shots? Why was Festus not given twice as many touches? And how, HOW, do you give so many open looks from 3 for a team that was shooting out of their minds?

Even though I expcted this, as my bracket attests, i am still upset - I think because I really thought there was no way we do this 3 years in a row. No way.

Vandy-Montana said...

I was hoping to throw away $18 in me getting Richmond in calcutta. Winning $28 from them winning is not making my day. More than $28 has been spent on beer...

Anonymous said...

Just to add a thought that probably hasn't been discussed yet. Not to make excuses, but that intentional foul call had an eerily similar feeling to that technical on Stallings earlier in conference play against UF that totally changed momentum.

The refs were about to call a foul on Richmond and just b/c the guy bleeds, a video review is performed and Richmond ends up on the line and gets the ball. Talk about a momentum changer- we are up 6-8 pts at that point with the ball and then all of the sudden they are on the foul line and getting the ball back and it took 10 mins to clean the court. And of course we were flat thereafter.

Not to say we lost b/c of this but our momentum, which we clearly had, jenkins had hit 3 3's in a minute just before that, was totally killed. Festus accidentally elbowed the guy, there was no intent, im not sure he noticed him there and somehow it ends up an intentional foul.

Anonymous said...

Everyone seems upset so let me say this becuase its helped me out today...stop caring about this team in March. We will do well in the regular season but will do nothing in March. Stallings has been here for 12 years and we have 0 East Division titles, 0 SEC titles, 0 SEC touri titles, and have are 0-3 in our first round games the past 3 tries. Its not worth it. Anyone who disagrees, keep waiting like those fans in their 60's and 70's who are still waiting for something great...aint happening.

Anonymous said...

Florida lost in the first round last year and now looks like a Final Four team. Remember that

Wasted A Trip To Denver said...

Great post...0 East titles...0 SEC season Titles...0 SEC tourney titles. Every other SEC east team has at least 1 of those in recent years.