It was the worst of times (1st half), it was the best of times (2nd) [my apologies]. I'll be very excited to see Vanderbilt put two second halves together for a complete game. I'm praying that comes on the road this week.
Students - WAY TO SHOW UP YESTERDAY! Early even! You were loud and helped make the difference in the game. One possible improvement, when a player fouls out, it is funny to do the "left, right, left, right...sit down" cheer, but please, be savvy basketball fans and recognize that you need to shut the hell up when the opposing player is sitting down in the middle of our own player's free throw attempts. By my count, you caused 3 misses yesterday in the closing minute or two. Even Duke fans know better.
It's a shame the video feed went out when it did. The rest of America didn't get to see Vanderbilt playing at a level where they would be capable of running with Kentucky. On second thought, maybe this worked out for the best as Lexington just might not see us coming (although I'm not sure it would matter if Kentucky plays the way they did against Arkansas from here on out).
|Points Per Possession||1.19||1.10|
While I predicted that Vanderbilt would lead all four categories, Vanderbilt ended up leading Auburn in effective field goal percentage, turnover rate, and free throw rate. The Tigers really did a nice job (or the Commodores did a really poor job) of rebounding in the first half, giving themselves extra opportunities on the offensive end. It will be imperative for Vanderbilt to do a much better job in both halves against Tennessee and Kentucky this coming week, or they might find that a difficult 16 point hole is really an insurmountable 30 point deficit.
Plus/Minus Adjusted Per 40 Minutes
You can see a clear divide between the starters and the reserves today. Congratulations to A.J. Ogilvy for shaking off the devastating loss of the Rally 'Stache to post a clear lead in both regular and adjusted plus/minus. Also, hat tip to Lance Goulbourne for being well out of the red in this statistic, unlike the other Commodores who came off the bench versus Auburn.
This once was standard operating procedure in the SEC. At times in the '60s and '70s, Kentucky and UT were coupled together on the conference schedule to accommodate travel. Everybody played the 'Cats and Vols in back-to-back games.
But with this throwback schedule, Vanderbilt is the only team getting thrown under the bus. Although three other teams play consecutive games against Tennessee and Kentucky this season, nobody else plays both on the road in the same week.
Since Stallings arrived at Vanderbilt in 2000, SEC East rivals Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida have been packaged together on the Commodores' schedule with uncanny regularity. Counting this week, Vanderbilt has played back-to-back games against two of those three teams 16 times on Stallings' watch.
"It almost seems intentional," Stallings said. "That's a lot, wouldn't you think? Especially with both of 'em on the road."
Some believe the crowd noise was so deafening after the shot that it caused the SEC Network to lose its television feed for 20 minutes.
"I was happy with the way our guys responded in the second half," Stallings said. "To shoot 64 percent (field) and almost 77 (percent) from the line and get to the foul line a bunch in the second half (13 of 17) … we were lucky to survive a very poorly played first half." Stallings knows he has to get more consistency from his defense Wednesday in Knoxville. "It's not dribble penetration that bothers me," he said. "It's just the defense that bothers me. I'm worried about defense in a lot of ways. We seem to play it when we really feel like our backs are against the wall and we need to."