It goes without saying that you shouldn’t be losing games when your effective field goal percentage is north of 70 percent, but then you also shouldn’t be losing games that you lead by 8 at the final media timeout — or by 5 with under a minute to play.
At the latter mark, Vanderbilt had a 95.5% chance of winning per KenPom. In other words, when Scotty Pippen Jr. made a jumper with 44 seconds left to give Vanderbilt a 78-73 lead, that should have been ballgame. Even when Colin Castleton made a pair of free throws with 31 seconds left to cut it to three... well, that still shouldn’t have been a problem because with a one-second difference between the game clock and the shot clock, Vanderbilt could have nearly run out the clock. Instead Pippen saw a breakaway layup, had it blocked (possibly goaltending, but were you really expecting to get that call?), and Florida cut it to one... and then, after Pippen got trapped in the corner of the backcourt and called timeout, Jordan Wright threw the inbounds pass away.
And then Phlandrous Fleming made a three, and Pippen missed the front end of a one-and-one, and that was that. Sure, Florida (and specifically Phlandrous Fleming) made some plays, but it never should have come to that. There’s no way around the fact that Vanderbilt blew this one with some godawful mistakes.
So, this one had Twitter afire because we can’t simply lose a game any more without discussing whether we need to fire the coach, and this confuses me because coaching is not really why this team is losing. You can blame Stackhouse for the roster construction, which is the biggest issue with this team: Vanderbilt has Scotty Pippen Jr., it’s gotten a combined 18 games out of Rodney Chatman and Liam Robbins, and then it has a bunch of guys who are useful but have obvious limitations — players like Jordan Wright, who at times has had to function as the team’s second scoring option, or Trey Thomas, a guy who’s generously listed as 5’11” and 165 pounds and has a role as a three-point shooter off the bench. It’s a roster that lacks ballhandlers, particularly when Chatman has been out of action, and that’s been forced for much of the season to play 6’6” Jamaine Mann as its backup center and has given real minutes to Drew Weikert out of necessity.
In other words, if you’re trying to argue that Stackhouse can’t coach, the facts don’t really support that assertion. You can actually argue that this roster should be doing worse than 14-15, and 6-11 in the SEC. If you’re wondering why the hell the roster looks like this in his third year, well, that’s a valid question. Whether this gets improved in the offseason will tell us whether he’s employed at Vanderbilt beyond next season.
|Scotty Pippen Jr.||36||11||18||5||7||2||5||0||3||3||29||3||5||3||0||3||22.8||31.37||0.87|
- No, I have no idea what’s going on with Scotty at the free throw line. Other than that, it’s hard to complain.
- Trey Thomas’s 17 tied a career high, and he only needed nine shots to do it. As I hinted at above, when he’s doing this, he’s a useful player to have around. When he’s having a 6-for-20 shooting performance from three, as he did in February? He’s a liability.
- Liam Robbins played only 12 minutes thanks mostly to picking up two very quick fouls in the first half, but he had the third-highest Game Score on the team, which is... something.
- Three of the next four guys — Jordan Wright, Myles Stute, and Tyrin Lawrence — were just sort of there last night. They weren’t hurting the team for the most part, but they weren’t doing much to help, either. Quentin Millora-Brown was, of course, but not the kind of things that show up in the box score.
- As far as the last three players off the bench — Terren Frank, Shane Dezonie, and Drew Weikert — they just are. I think Dezonie has enough potential that I want to keep him around. Frank just is what he is at this point, a guy who’s 6’8” and athletic who doesn’t seem to be much of a contributor. As for Weikert, well, walk-ons are walk-ons for a reason. (Yes, he’s on scholarship now. Stackhouse had one available after Peyton Daniels left the team and why not give it to him.)
- DNPs: Rodney Chatman, Jamaine Mann, and Gabe Dorsey. Chatman is injured, I’m pretty sure Mann is, and Dorsey has played a grand total of 22 minutes in Vanderbilt’s last 11 games.
Vanderbilt closes out its regular season at Ole Miss on Saturday. Game time is 5 PM CT on the SEC Network. That will be followed by the SEC Tournament, in which Vanderbilt will likely open against Georgia on Wednesday night unless they can win at Ole Miss and Texas A&M loses twice this week.