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Vanderbilt 75, Norfolk State 52: We’re starting to see what a Bryce Drew team looks like

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Hint: It’s quite a bit different from a Kevin Stallings team.

NCAA Basketball: Norfolk State at Vanderbilt Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, Vanderbilt had an effective field goal percentage of 44.8%... and won by 23.

Granted, a lot of that had to do with the competition. Norfolk State might be the favorite to win the MEAC, but they’re currently 270th in KenPom; their status as MEAC favorites is a reflection of how bad that conference is. But Bryce Drew’s last two teams at Valpo ranked 55th and 29th nationally in offensive rebound percentage; they also ranked 36th and 11th in defensive rebound percentage. His last three Valpo teams ranked in the top 50 nationally in effective field goal percentage defense — and his last one ranked 8th.

That sort of gives you some slack if you’re not shooting well. Vanderbilt did shoot 10-of-28 from three last night; that’s acceptable. But they shot 11-of-28 inside the arc, which is pretty awful. But the Commodores’ defense and advantage on the glass meant this was a pretty comfortable win.

Individual Stats

Player MIN FG FGA 3FG 3FGA FT FTA ORB DRB REB PTS PF AST TO BLK STL AdjGS GS/Min
Matthew Fisher-Davis 27 5 12 4 9 4 4 0 3 3 18 3 2 0 1 1 17.2 0.64
Jeff Roberson 24 2 8 1 4 6 6 5 6 11 11 3 3 3 0 0 11.2 0.47
Luke Kornet 22 2 5 0 0 5 6 1 4 5 9 1 0 1 4 0 11.0 0.50
Riley LaChance 22 4 7 3 5 1 1 0 4 4 12 3 1 3 0 2 10.0 0.45
Djery Baptiste 18 2 4 0 0 3 6 4 3 7 7 3 0 2 3 1 8.8 0.49
Clevon Brown 16 2 4 1 3 1 1 0 3 3 6 1 0 0 1 0 6.2 0.39
Joe Toye 21 1 3 0 1 3 4 1 2 3 5 2 2 0 0 0 5.7 0.27
Payton Willis 20 1 4 0 1 0 0 2 2 4 2 1 5 3 0 0 2.0 0.10
Camron Justice 15 1 4 0 2 0 0 0 1 1 2 0 2 0 0 0 1.6 0.11
Nolan Cressler 15 1 5 1 3 0 0 1 2 3 3 2 1 0 0 0 1.3 0.09
  • Matthew Fisher-Davis had a good game last night, but I’m still not sure how I feel about this much of the offense running through him.
  • Ditto Jeff Roberson, who posted a double-double but did so on 2-of-8 shooting and also had three turnovers.
  • So obviously, once we get into conference play Drew will probably go to more of a standard rotation and Luke Kornet will be playing more than 22 minutes a night, but either way — Vanderbilt’s probably going to need Luke to do better than 9 points and 5 boards on a nightly basis. Of course, Luke did make an impact on the defensive end with four blocks.
  • Riley LaChance still isn’t really a point guard, but maybe Payton Willis is. Riley did have a pretty good game shooting the ball, but as the season wears on Drew might think about playing Willis at the point and moving Riley off the ball.
  • Why hello there, Djery Baptiste. Fouls are (probably) going to be an issue all year with him, but if he’s committing a foul every 6 minutes — as he did last night — we can live with that. If it’s one every 2.5 minutes, as he did in Vanderbilt’s first two games of the season... we’d better pray to God Luke is healthy and not in foul trouble himself.
  • Strangely, we thought the frontcourt depth was going to be the issue — but Baptiste and Clevon Brown seem to be fine. Instead, it’s the backcourt, where Camron Justice didn’t really do much in 15 minutes and just how long is “Nolan Cressler, Starter” going to be a thing if he’s playing like this?
  • If somebody could GIF Joe Toye’s alley-oop dunk, that would be great.

The Commodores will be back in action on Monday as Bucknell comes to town. Game time is 8:00 PM CT, and the game will be televised on the SEC Network. After that, Vanderbilt heads to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving, where they’ll play Butler on Thursday followed by either Arizona or Santa Clara on Friday.

Tennessean: Vanderbilt runs away from Norfolk State

Reuters: Vanderbilt easily handles Norfolk State

Virginian-Pilot: Cold-shooting Norfolk State can’t keep up with Vandy