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Mississippi State 80, Vanderbilt 70: Shooting percentages return to Earth

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Vanderbilt played about as well as it did against LSU, but the shots weren’t falling.

NCAA Basketball: Vanderbilt at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Four Factors

Four Factors Vanderbilt Mississippi State
Four Factors Vanderbilt Mississippi State
eFG% 44.80% 57.50%
OR% 16.20% 20.00%
TO% 14.80% 21.50%
FT Rate 39.70% 47.20%

The easiest read on Vanderbilt’s recent run of relatively good play (at least, compared to the five games of awfulness that came immediately after Aaron Nesmith got injured) is that the Commodores are a well-coached team that plays hard but doesn’t really have the talent to compete with the better teams in the SEC. And that happened again on Saturday night against Mississippi State.

Consider: Last season, Vanderbilt ranked 13th in the SEC in turnover percentage; this year, the Commodores rank 5th. And they’re actually better at shooting two-pointers. The team’s biggest deficiencies — three-point shooting, offensive rebounding, and defending two-pointers — are, well, exactly the places where you’d expect an undermanned team to struggle.

The LSU game was an outlier performance for a lot of reasons, but mostly because Vanderbilt probably isn’t going to have too many games where it shoots 40 percent on three-pointers. On the flipside, Vanderbilt probably won’t see too many more players the caliber of Reggie Perry. The Commodores have played four games in a row against NCAA Tournament-caliber competition, but after this week (a visit from Kentucky followed by a trip to Florida) the competition eases up a bit the rest of the way. Three of the last five are at home, and all three are against bottom-tier SEC teams (Georgia, Missouri, and South Carolina.) Vanderbilt obviously isn’t going to the NCAA Tournament or even the NIT, but this year’s team could get a couple more SEC wins.

Considering what we were thinking about just a week ago — the possibility of another winless conference record — that’s a positive, right?

Individual stats

Player MIN FG FGA 3FG 3FGA FT FTA ORB DRB REB PTS PF AST TO BLK STL AdjGS AdjGS/Min Plus/MInus
Player MIN FG FGA 3FG 3FGA FT FTA ORB DRB REB PTS PF AST TO BLK STL AdjGS AdjGS/Min Plus/MInus
Saben Lee 35 6 12 1 2 7 8 0 2 2 20 1 4 1 0 6 31.24 0.89 -11
Ejike Obinna 26 4 5 0 0 4 4 5 1 6 12 3 0 0 1 0 19.38 0.75 -5
Maxwell Evans 33 2 9 1 7 2 3 1 3 4 7 2 2 0 0 2 7.67 0.23 -14
Jordan Wright 19 5 9 1 3 0 0 0 7 7 11 4 0 2 0 0 7.52 0.40 1
Matthew Moyer 11 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 2 2 3 3 1 0 0 0 4.05 0.37 -4
Dylan Disu 31 3 13 2 10 1 1 0 3 3 9 3 1 1 0 1 2.17 0.07 -12
Scotty Pippen 36 2 8 1 2 3 6 0 3 3 8 4 1 4 0 2 0.00 0.00 -7
Braelee Albert 9 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 -2.02 -0.22 2
  • That’s two incredible games in a row for Saben Lee, and Ejike Obinna had probably his best game of the season. And Jordan Wright tied his career high — set on Wednesday, mind you. On the other hand, Maxwell Evans returned to Earth in a big way.
  • No Weird Oton Jankovic sighting on Saturday night. With nobody really in foul trouble, the starters played 161 of 200 possible minutes.
  • Dylan Disu and Scotty Pippen are going to have nights like last night; they’re freshmen, after all. When both are playing like this on the same night, though, Vanderbilt is going to have a rough go of it.

What’s Next

Kentucky comes to town on Tuesday night at 6:00 PM CT. That game will be broadcast on ESPN, because The Mothership always goes for the brand names when making its selections. Also, the 1965 SEC Championship team will be honored at the game. We can only hope Vanderbilt breaks out the Clyde Lee jerseys again.