The Streak is over, and I’m not talking about the small-s streak that continued last night (the 24-game losing streak against the rest of the Southeastern Conference, which last night’s 66-45 loss to the school to the east added to.) For the first time since the NCAA added the three-point line in 1986-87, Vanderbilt had a game in which it did not make a single three-pointer.
Granted, the writing has been on the wall for a bit. Last year, Vanderbilt shot 31.1 percent from three-point range. That was actually Vanderbilt’s lowest mark ever, lower than the 31.9 percent posted by the Magnificent Seven team in 2013-14. The first five Vanderbilt teams of the three-point era all shot better than 40 percent from three, and after the 1991-92 team shot “only” 39.5 percent, the SEC championship team in 1992-93 shot 41.2 percent. Things tailed off a bit in the Jan van Breda Kolff era — after his first year, Vanderbilt posted five straight seasons shooting worse than 36 percent from three — but the Streak continued through that time, and the three-point bombing came back with a vengeance under Kevin Stallings.
The short answer to all of this is that The Streak wasn’t some weird fluke that held up over the course of 33-plus years because Vanderbilt always found a way to get one three-pointer to go in every time out. The Streak defined what Vanderbilt was as a program, and I don’t mean that in the sense that The Streak itself literally defined the program, but in the sense that making three-pointers was just what the basketball team did. It was the program’s identity. It should still be the program’s identity but for a coaching staff deciding that what the program really needed to do was get a bunch of “athletes” to “attack the basket.”
It’s a sad day that the Streak is over, but it’s an even sadder day that the program has gotten to a point where the Streak ending was even fathomable.
(And no, I’m not going to get on to Jerry Stackhouse for his postgame comments about the fans booing. If that offended you, get over yourself.)