Vanderbilt led from start to finish, jumping out to a 15-2 lead within the first six minutes of the game, building a 45-26 lead at halftime and then pushing the lead to 61-36 with 14:30 to go.
And yet... something just seemed unsatisfying about that game.
What was it? Well, Vanderbilt shot 23-of-36 inside the arc, but 8-of-29 from three. I'm at a loss as to why Vanderbilt shot 1-for-12 from three in the second half of a game they were winning easily, but also dominating in the paint (at least on the offensive end.) It's the third game in a row in which the Commodores have gotten three-ball happy, and while there might have been a good reason to against Texas A&M last week, there's really no particular reason for them to settle for jump shots. The 16-for-27 performance at the foul line wasn't good, either, although the fact that Josh Henderson somehow got to the line six times may have had something to do with that.
The defensive effort was good enough, but hardly outstanding. Missouri's Ryan Rosburg went for 24 points and 11 boards. Now, that honestly shouldn't be a complaint -- Rosburg is a guy who averages 5 points and 3.5 field goal attempts per game, so somehow him taking 18 shots probably isn't really a bad thing. But allowing Missouri to collect 17 offensive rebounds? Hmmm, I don't like it. At least against Ole Miss, there was the built-in excuse that Ole Miss is just good at offensive rebounding, but Missouri is not.
It all just feels unsatisfying because against probably 11 teams in the SEC, that kind of effort would have resulted in a loss. Against Missouri -- a team that fought hard but doesn't yet have the talent or experience to really be much of a threat -- the result was a 15-point win. It's certainly better than a loss, but it's not really something to feel great about.
|Wade Baldwin IV||30||5||12||1||3||6||9||1||5||6||2||17||7||2||0||0||17.3||0.58|
- For Vanderbilt, last night was a pretty balanced effort from the starting five. Nobody stood out for having a spectacular game, but no one laid an egg, either.
- One of the strange aspects of this season is how little attention Jeff Roberson gets. While the national sports media focuses on Wade Baldwin IV and Damian Jones, and to a lesser extent Luke Kornet, because ZOMG NBA TALENT, Roberson just quietly does his thing and gets little pub for it. I personally like guys who take six shots and score 12 points, but what the hell do I know?
- For the second straight game, Nolan Cressler was perfectly cromulent. After playing 32 minutes, total, over the previous seven games, in the last two Cressler has played 28. I can't figure it out, either, but at least somebody off the bench is doing something.
- Because Riley LaChance's shooting stroke is still on the back of milk cartons.
- I also get the sense that we haven't really seen what Camron Justice can do yet, as he's probably still dealing with the aftereffects of that groin injury.
- Nathan Watkins got his first action in SEC play.
Vanderbilt travels to Auburn on Saturday, the second in a series of four must-win games. The Tigers are on a six-game losing streak, scored 45 points against Tennessee in their last game, just suspended their leading scorer, and are currently playing a 6'7", 250-pound forward at the point. Yeah, Vanderbilt should win this game, and we should all set things on fire if they do not.