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Quick Thoughts on Vanderbilt/LSU

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Before the actual recap and some in-depth analysis (A.J. Ogilvy's +/- numbers could be anywhere from -15 to +10 and I wouldn't be surprised), let's take a look at some of the notable outcomes from today's 77-69 win.

  • Why do the close games only come against teams we're supposed to beat big?: Vanderbilt's got a history of playing down to their opponents this year. The Georgia, Auburn, and Alabama games have shown this, and now we can add LSU to that list. A team that was 12-0 at home was tied with 3:00 to play against a team that was winless on the road. A win's a win, but shaky performances like these don't inspire confidence for late season tournament play, especially if the 'Dores end up with high seeds in the SEC and NCAA brackets.
  • A.J. Ogilvy found a way to make an impact at the free throw line: Ogilvy had a bad game. Through the first 30 minutes of the game, he was basically non-existent. He didn't rebound, didn't block shots, and didn't score. But, with the game on the line, he was instrumental in drawing fouls, fouling out LSU's frontcourt players, and hitting his free throws. Not a great game, but the Commodores might not win this one without him. Still, he'll have to perform better than that for this team to beat the NCAA's elite teams.
  • According to ESPN, Lance Goulbourne was our top performer: I'll agree with this one. The team was depleted without Andre Walker or John Jenkins, and Goulbourne stepped up to fill the gaps these two left. Walker/Jenkins season averages combined? 16.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1 block, 2.6 turnovers. Goulbourne vs. LSU? 18 points, 9 rebounds, 1 block, 1 turnover. Best game of his Vanderbilt career for the big wing from Brooklyn. 
  • Beal/Taylor weren't at their best, but it was enough: Taylor's midrange jumper failed him, but he made up for it by driving more. The change was a positive sign that the sophomore is getting more comfortable with his game. Beal was solid all-around and hit the big shots that continually broke up LSU scoring runs. Neither one was spectacular, but they led the offense and created opportunities for their teammates.
  • Steve Tchiengang was solid when pressed into duty: Tchiengang played tough and didn't take anything away from the team while he was on the court. His continued development is an important storyline for the 'Dores. He's not going to be usurping Andre Walker's starting spot anytime soon, but a solid backup power forward is a piece the team currently lacks. 

Today's game was a bit close for comfort, but still counts as a win. That makes eight in the SEC, and four more should be good enough for a first round bye in the SEC Tournament. Hopefully the team will come back healthy after going without Walker and Jenkins today. The team has five days to prepare for a good Mississippi team that's spent several weeks in the Top 25 this year. Hopefully, the scare today will just motivate this team on their way to another tough week of SEC play.