There are things you can get away with when you’re playing the worst team in Division I (and Mississippi Valley State still holds that distinction after last night) that you may not get away with against better opponents, like turning the ball over on 21.4 percent of your possessions or mailing it in for a half. Vanderbilt did not play well at all in the first half and still led 26-17 because Mississippi Valley State just couldn’t make anything. And then, when things started working to start the second half, Vanderbilt went on a 25-4 run out of the locker room and that was that. To put it in perspective, KenPom’s in-game win probability put Vanderbilt’s lowest win probability at 99.7% when the Commodores had a six-point lead with a minute left in the first half; basically, that meant that Mississippi Valley State had an 0.3% chance of outscoring Vanderbilt by seven points over 21 minutes.
Anyway, I’ve been slacking on this so it’s weird to pick this game as the first one to do a Statistical for this season, because there’s just not much to take away here. It was an ugly win over a bad team that was playing badly. Vanderbilt was a bit sloppier than you’d like, but they managed to cover a 37-point spread on a late three by Drew Weikert.
|Scotty Pippen Jr.||25||4||10||1||3||3||4||0||4||4||12||1||5||2||0||1||9.5||11.27||0.45|
- 20 points was a career high for Myles Stute — his previous high was 16, which he hit twice last year against Alcorn State and Kentucky. He’s also the fourth different leading scorer for Vanderbilt through six games, and that’s certainly not something I thought I would write this season, and also the fourth different player to score 20 points in a game. And he did it in 19 minutes. Notably, four of the five starters last night played 20 minutes or less — an indication that Stackhouse was playing the bench more than usual due to the opposition.
- This obviously wasn’t Scotty Pippen Jr.’s best game, but he wasn’t actively hurting Vanderbilt, which is what I ask from him if he’s going to have an off night.
- The third-best player for Vanderbilt was Tyrin Lawrence (who’s also one of the four to have a 20-point game this season), and then you get into varying degrees of “eh, fine.”
- Beyond the top three, nobody really stood out in either a good or bad way — I think Jamaine Mann was a good find by Jerry Stackhouse (finding mid-major players who can do glue-guy stuff is an underrated thing), and I can see both why Terren Frank was a highly-rated recruit and why he fell out of favor at TCU, if that makes sense.
- Neither of the two freshmen who remain in the program are bad, per se, but neither seem to be making a push for more playing time than they’re getting. My guess is that one or both will fall out of the rotation once Liam Robbins and Rodney Chatman are healthy.
Vanderbilt’s now 5-1 on the season, but their next game is the first one this season in which KenPom has them as an underdog, giving them a 44% chance of winning at SMU on Saturday. Then again, SMU has played three teams in the top 200 of KenPom and lost all three (Oregon, Missouri, and Loyola Marymount), though none of those were at home. Game time on Saturday is 5 PM CT, and the game will be streamed on ESPN+.