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Vanderbilt 68, Florida 66: Winning in a sustainable manner

There’s nothing that stood out about Vanderbilt’s win over the Gators that the Commodores couldn’t do again.

NCAA Basketball: Vanderbilt at Florida Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The best part about Vanderbilt’s win over Florida on Saturday afternoon was that it wasn’t the result of an unbelievably hot shooting day (the Commodores shot 40 percent from three, which is... about par for the course for this team) or, say, Florida shooting 0-for-17 from beyond the arc like they did on Wednesday. Both teams’ shooting percentages were roughly in line with their season-long percentages.

Vanderbilt’s 21.3% turnover rate was above their season average... but it was actually below Florida’s defensive turnover rate for the season. Perhaps Florida getting to the foul line only eight times won’t happen again, but there just isn’t anything that stands out about this game as something that Vanderbilt couldn’t do again.

As Andrew D. Smith noted in the comments to yesterday’s postgame thread, this is about as positive of a sign as you can get for the direction of the program. Vanderbilt is capable of beating a top 25 team — on the road! — by just executing the game plan. In case you didn’t know, Bryce Drew knows what he’s doing. And maybe the NIT isn’t such a stretch after all; per rpiforecast.com, Vanderbilt jumped from 82 to 60 in the RPI after the game. The Commodores also moved up 12 spots in KenPom.

Individual Stats

Player MIN FG FGA 3FG 3FGA FT FTA ORB DRB REB PF PTS AST TO BLK STL AdjGS GS/Min
Matthew Fisher-Davis 32 6 14 3 9 4 4 0 3 3 3 19 0 1 0 1 15.9 0.50
Riley LaChance 34 4 8 3 4 0 0 0 3 3 2 11 5 2 0 0 12.1 0.36
Nolan Cressler 23 4 6 0 2 2 2 1 3 4 2 10 2 2 0 0 10.7 0.47
Luke Kornet 33 4 6 3 5 0 0 0 4 4 4 11 0 3 1 1 9.4 0.29
Jeff Roberson 38 1 8 0 3 5 6 4 4 8 1 7 1 2 0 2 8.0 0.21
Joe Toye 18 2 3 0 1 1 1 0 3 3 2 5 2 0 0 0 7.3 0.41
Payton Willis 13 2 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 0 1 0 1 4.6 0.36
Clevon Brown 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0.6 0.28
Djery Baptiste 7 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 -0.7 -0.10
  • It’s probably not a coincidence that Matthew Fisher-Davis had his best game since the Auburn game — and Vanderbilt won. Vanderbilt’s fortunes as a team this year have tracked closely to Fisher-Davis’s ups and downs.
  • Riley LaChance has been fine moving back to the point the last couple of games, which isn’t something anyone would have seen coming after last season.
  • Nolan Cressler basically won the game for Vanderbilt with a clutch bucket on a baseline drive in the final minute, so we can excuse anything else.
  • You’re forgiven, Luke:
  • Jeff Roberson’s not having a great year, but that’s almost entirely related to his shooting percentages, which seem unsustainably low. In pretty much every other statistical category he’s doing better this year than last. I still hold that Roberson will have a huge senior year.
  • It’s starting to look like Bryce Drew has figured out the best roles for Joe Toye and Payton Willis on this team, which is a good thing.
  • Hey, Djery Baptiste — can you stop reminding everyone of Darius Coulibaly? Kthx.

What’s Next

The brutal stretch of games... continues, as Arkansas comes to town on Tuesday night. The game will be at 7:30 PM Central time and televised on the SEC Network, but perhaps the Commodores can build on this win and get back to .500 on the season.