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Tennessee 87, Vanderbilt 75: Sometimes, the box score tells you everything you need to know

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Tennessee scored 1.43 points per possession. That’s all I really need to know.

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee at Vanderbilt Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes, I really hate it when I have to write this post after I didn’t watch the game (either because fuck you CBS Sports Network or, like last night, I was out seeing The Book of Mormon instead, which... turned out to be a good decision, probably.) Granted, I could watch the game on replay, but in this case I don’t particularly want to watch a game like this when I already know what’s going to happen.

And for last night’s game, it’s not really necessary. The box score tells me everything I need to know: when the other team has an effective FG percentage of 65.5% and committed six (!) turnovers, I know what happened. We know from his results at Valpo that Bryce Drew is a good defensive coach, so the fact that the defense has gotten torched twice in the last five games (and I’m not even counting the Kentucky game, because somehow that was one of Kentucky’s worst offensive performances of the season) probably speaks to personnel. That’s something that Drew appears to be addressing on the recruiting trail with the additions of Saben Lee and Max Evans, to be sure, but it’s also led to him having to play a lot more zone than he’d probably like to.

And sometimes, like last night, you’re going to get burned with that approach. Bryce Drew will probably put better defenses on the floor than he is this season — again, you just don’t field a top 10 national defense at Valpo if you don’t know what you’re doing on that end of the floor -- but it turns out that Kevin Stallings’ preference for offense on the recruiting trail left a lot of issues behind.

Individual Stats

Player MIN FG FGA 3FG 3FGA FT FTA ORB DRB REB PF PTS AST TO BLK STL AdjGS GS/Min
Luke Kornet 38 7 12 2 4 2 2 5 2 7 2 18 1 2 3 0 21.6 0.57
Joe Toye 27 3 5 1 2 3 4 1 4 5 0 10 1 0 0 1 14.2 0.53
Jeff Roberson 30 5 9 0 1 2 2 1 5 6 3 12 3 1 0 0 12.8 0.43
Nolan Cressler 29 4 8 0 1 2 2 0 1 1 2 10 3 0 0 1 11.2 0.39
Riley LaChance 38 2 6 1 2 4 4 0 4 4 2 9 2 2 0 0 7.1 0.19
Matthew Fisher-Davis 25 4 6 2 3 2 5 0 1 1 5 12 0 3 0 0 4.6 0.18
Djery Baptiste 2 0 0 0 0 2 2 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 3.5 1.75
Payton Willis 11 1 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 1 0 0 0.0 0.00
Clevon Brown 0.4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0.00
  • Again, I didn’t watch the game so I don’t really have much to add other than what I see in the box score, but I’ll defer to some of the commenters in last night’s game thread about just how bad Matthew Fisher-Davis was on the defensive end... because the box score’s bad but not terrible.
  • Nolan Cressler had a good game last night. If anyone would like to ream some of our other players in the comments section, go for it.
  • That said, Riley LaChance isn’t particularly useful when his jump shot isn’t falling, so maybe that voodoo can only work on one Vanderbilt player at a time?
  • I’d kind of like to see last night’s game just to see if Joe Toye was doing anything different. I’ve started thinking that Toye would be much better off if he’d just work on being really good at one thing instead of trying to do everything (and winding up being so-so at everything.)
  • At least Jeff Roberson is starting to get his shot to fall, and his “glue guy” stuff isn’t going away. I foresee Roberson having a huge senior season next year. Call it a gut feeling.
  • A 1.75 GS/Minute is pretty impressive, Djery Baptiste, but... well, I assume Bryce Drew isn’t a dolt with the minutes distribution there. Unless Luke Kornet is in foul trouble, Drew’s effectively going to a seven-man rotation and using Baptiste only in emergencies. And Clevon Brown only played 25 seconds.

What’s Next

A rough week, that’s what is next. The Commodores head to Georgia on Tuesday night where they’ll play the Bulldogs, who are squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble. Tipoff will be at 8:00 PM CT on ESPNU. There is a very real chance that Vanderbilt’s current three-game losing streak could be extended to five games or more.