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Who Drives the 'Dores?

The Auburn game presented a stark contrast of the team Vanderbilt basketball can produce from half to half. After a period of frustration, A.J. Ogilvy and Jeffery Taylor sprang to life to deliver a win, combining for 33 points. The difference between the team that started the game and the one that finished it was striking - and it's a Jekyll and Hyde situation that Vanderbilt fans are familiar with. What's the driving force between games where the 'Dores play up to their potential and games where they look sloppy and unorganized?

Statistically, it appears that only one player's performance has the strongest relationship to Commodore wins and losses - the man in the middle, A.J. Ogilvy. His output in wins versus his output in losses showcases a big change in production on the court:

A.J. Ogilvy - points per game

A.J. Ogilvy

Points per game

In 15 wins:


In 3 losses:




EDIT: After questions about playing time (HT to VandyDave), it's important to note A.J.'s MPG between wins/losses. In wins, he's averaged 22.6 minutes per game. In losses, this figure is 21 minutes. In a 7% decrease of playing time, Ogilvy's offensive output decreases nearly 35% - and as we'll see later, his rebounding suffers even more.

Simply put, when A.J. plays poorly, the team struggles as well (in general, with the St. Mary's game providing an obvious outlier). His scoring average is the only one amongst the team's regular starters to have a significant fluctuation between wins and losses. To compare:


Andre Walker:

Jeffery Taylor:

Brad Tinsley:

Jermaine Beal:
















While overall point scoring is down slightly as a whole, not even the total fluctuation of scoring between starters can match Ogilvy's -5.1 point per game decrease. Brad Tinsley leads the way among the four with a -13% drop in scoring, but this pales in comparison to A.J.'s 34.5% decline. Jermaine Beal, on the other hand, earns his title as Mr. Consistency as a scorer. These trends are also noticed in the other statistical categories where Vanderbilt's starters have the greatest impact, although here Ogilvy's steep drop in production is accompanied by some teammates. (Note: for this analysis, different statistics are used based on the player's primary contributions, so comparisons across categories are purely observational and up for debate)


A.J .Ogilvy:

Andre Walker:

Jeffery Taylor:

Brad Tinsley:

Jermaine Beal:


6.7 rpg

14.2 p/a/rpg

5.4 rpg

6.1 apg+rpg

3.5 apg/1.5 TO


3.3 rpg

13.3 p/a/rpg

5.3 rpg

3.0 apg+rpg

2.0 apg/.67 TO


-3.4 rpg

-.9 p/a/rpg

-.1 rpg

-3.1 apg+rpg

-1.5 apg/-.83 TO

While Walker and Taylor show slight declines in their "secondary" statistical categories, Ogilvy, Tinsley, and Beal have significant impacts on their stats in losses compared to wins. Beal's may be misleading, since his assist-to-turnover ratio actually gets better, though he is distributing the ball less. However, Tinsley and Ogilvy, sporting drops of over 50% in their production, are clearly factors in the teams losses.

So what can be gleaned from this data? Well, the statistics are purely observational, but it seems that A.J. Ogilvy's performance is clearly the biggest factor in his team's losses, while Jeffery Taylor can be counted on to deliver, at least stat-wise, in victory or defeat - though it may not have a statistically significant impact on the final outcome. Brad Tinsley's play may also be a bigger factor than previously thought, which makes John Jenkins's performance off the bench even more crucial if Tins struggles, especially headed into the deep end of SEC schedule.

To be fair, this is just what the statistics say, and since there have only (thankfully) been three losses, there isn't much data to work with on the defeat side. We can't lay the blame of a loss directly at A.J.'s feet if the team comes out flat, or plays sloppy, or just can't hit their shots. What we can gather from this is that if A.J. is playing well (above his season averages), then the team has a pretty good chance at winning. If Jeff Taylor or Andre Walker aren't getting it done on the court, the team can win without major contributions from them, since their primary statistics (not counting FG%, FT%, TOs, etc) have no major consistent fluctuations based on past wins and losses. 

Well, we probably didn't need statistics to figure those things out, but they do provide an interesting jumping off point. In later articles I'll take a look at year-to-year and bench stats to dig up any more observational data that could help explain the team's play and trends to look for into the future. Just a hunch, but I think our big Australian center is going to be a key factor no matter what we examine.