Thursday night’s game wound up being Vanderbilt’s biggest comeback of the season, both in terms of the deficit erased (15 points) and KenPom’s in-game win probabilities (Vanderbilt had a 4 percent chance of winning when Alabama led 51-36 with 14:09 left. The Commodores went on a 15-2 run after that, though they didn’t actually catch Alabama until Rodney Chatman made three free throws with 4:26 left, and went ahead for good on a Chatman three with 3:19 to play.
Alabama fans online are salty about this one because Vanderbilt attempted 45 free throws, including 21 by “flopper” Scotty Pippen Jr. alone. This has been a constant complaint by opposing fans all season and it’s actually hilarious to any Anchor of Gold reader that fans of other SEC schools are accusing referees of giving favorable calls to Vanderbilt. Yes, this is a thing that’s happening online.
But, it’s not as though Alabama was playing well. Vanderbilt held the Tide to 8-of-34 from three-point range and forced 18 turnovers. And Alabama attempted 34 free throws themselves.
Anyway, as of this morning, Vanderbilt is now 17-15, up to 67 in NET, with a 3-10 record against Quad 1, 3-3 against Quad 2, 6-2 against Quad 3, and 5-0 against Quad 4. The Commodores’ resume has been slightly hurt by BYU falling out of Quad 1, though that’s mitigated by VCU’s recent run pushing that loss out of Quad 3 territory (the Commodores’ remaining Quad 3 losses are home losses to Temple and South Carolina.) That’s probably nowhere close to good enough for a NCAA Tournament bid, even if Vanderbilt manages to beat Kentucky and Tennessee to get to the finals. But right now Vanderbilt should feel pretty good about making the NIT, barring some insane number of small-conference top seeds losing between now and Sunday. In fact, this site has Vanderbilt as a 5-seed in the NIT as of last night. It’s not where we want to be, obviously, but given where this program has been recently, an NIT bid seems like a big deal.
|Scotty Pippen Jr.||37||5||19||1||4||15||21||2||0||2||26||3||7||1||0||1||17.4||23.82||0.64|
- This season, Vanderbilt’s mostly been fine when Scotty Pippen Jr. has gotten help. Last night, the main sources of help were Jordan Wright (who had 11 rebounds in spite of a poor shooting night) and Myles Stute (who knocked down six threes.)
- As for Scotty, well, 5-for-19 is pretty rough, but he was getting to the foul line at will and also dished out seven assists. That will work.
- Rodney Chatman played well, too, with the main drag on his Game Score being the five fouls.
- Liam Robbins had a rough night, obviously, but you’ll take Quentin Millora-Brown getting 5 points and 7 rebounds in 30 minutes.
- Nobody else really played well last night, but nobody was hurting the team, and aside from Millora-Brown (who was basically playing a starting role due to Robbins’ foul trouble) the bench only saw 40 minutes of action with DNPs for Terren Frank and Gabe Dorsey.
- I think an NIT run could be interesting because Stackhouse might essentially handle it like a football team would handle a minor bowl game, with some degree of working toward next year.
Survive and advance. Vanderbilt plays Kentucky tonight at (give or take) 7:30 PM CT on the SEC Network. This will be Vanderbilt’s third meeting with the Wildcats this season and Kentucky won the first two.