As you might have heard, the Vanderbilt Commodores are on an eleven-game losing streak, tying a school record set back in 1985. We would surely like to end that tonight, but in case we really want to break the record, I’m sure the Florida Gators will be happy to oblige. The Commodores and Gators will meet tonight in Gainesville at 8:00 PM CT; tonight’s game will be televised on ESPNU.
A lot of things have had to go wrong for Vanderbilt’s season to reach this point, but the simplest answer is that the offense has gone bye-bye since the calendar flipped to January. In eleven games, Vanderbilt has failed to crack a point per possession in eight of them. Unsurprisingly, the three in which it did were the close calls against South Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas. The team hasn’t shot well, but they’ve also been fairly turnover-prone and haven’t been hitting the offensive glass like they did early in the season. And really, it’s been a team-wide effort: in conference play, just two players (Saben Lee and Aaron Nesmith) have an offensive rating over 100.
You really hate to say it, but at this point, the team only has two keepers and it’s about figuring out how the pieces will fit together for next season. And this really isn’t an exaggeration; barring a miracle run in the SEC Tournament, this team has already played its way out of the NIT, never mind the NCAA Tournament.
The bad news tonight: Florida ranks 10th nationally in defensive efficiency. The good news? Florida ranks 110th in offensive efficiency, so if Vanderbilt can get a few shots to fall, this one might end up being winnable. Florida has a weird profile; they rank 38th in KenPom and yet are sporting a 12-11 record (and a 4-6 SEC record.) They’ve lost three in a row and four of their last five.
Expect tonight’s game to have a 55-50 final score is what I’m saying.
If you have baseball questions, there’s a mailbag for that.
And speaking of baseball, if you missed Adam Sparks’ latest podcast, he interviewed Tim Corbin. It’s worth a listen.
Have we mentioned that baseball season starts Friday?
There are rumblings, though no official word, of a couple of changes on the football coaching staff. Football Scoop reported the other day that quarterbacks coach Gerry Gdowski will be promoted to offensive coordinator. Meanwhile, Chris Lee’s latest podcast suggested that former Auburn RB coach Tim Horton will be hired for the same position at Vanderbilt.
(For the record, Andy Ludwig held the RB coach role last season while also serving as offensive coordinator.)
Off the West End
SEC OFFICIATING RANDOM EVENT GENERATOR STRIKES AGAIN... IN LEXINGTON... wait, it must have malfunctioned:
That’s a very questionable call by the refs ... SHOCKED that it went against Kentucky in Rupp. Personally, I thought ball was still on the cylinder.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) February 13, 2019
What’s he referring to? This:
LSU DOWNS KENTUCKY AT THE BUZZER IN RUPP pic.twitter.com/oLgbwk031G— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) February 13, 2019
Meanwhile, if you watch the “Alliance of American Football” instead of college basketball this time of year, please stop. Unless you’re just watching because Steve Spurrier is involved.
If you’re into the Netflix series “Last Chance U,” you’re probably familiar with a rule change in the Kansas JUCO circuit removing a cap on out-of-state players. That in turn has led to an explosion in the number of Kansas players going to in-state Division II and NAIA schools. There’s your NAIA reference for the day, motherfuckers!
Oh yeah, and Barry Odom’s got a beef with Tennessee now. Missouri is at least starting to figure out how to pretend to be an SEC school.