The streak has ended. Long live the streak. Vandy crashed to another disappointing defeat on Saturday night when the ‘Dores fell 66-45 at home to Tennessee.
By Steve Wright
The game was most notable for ending one famous streak – Vanderbilt snapped a streak of 1,080 games with a made three-pointer – while extending the winless streak in SEC play to 24 in a row.
With one streak ending on Saturday it would be nice to see the other disappear in a game against Alabama on Wednesday. Here are the three keys.
Believe in the system
It can be hard to keep believing when the losses pile up. While head coach Jerry Stackhouse was not in this current job when the streak began, he still has to deal with the ramifications of the conference losses continuing to pile up. You can’t say for certain that Vandy would have won one of these conference games so far with Aaron Nesmith and Clevon Brown in the lineup, but that is a bet I would personally take every day of the week.
Stackhouse is improving the players. He is improving the culture around the team and the school involvement. He is doing everything he needs to in order to turn this around, he is just doing it shorthanded without a couple of his most important players. The rest of the team needs to continue to believe a win is around the corner.
Let the streak go
The three-point nightmare – Vandy went 0-25 from behind the arc against Tennessee – might actually be a good thing long term. Carrying that weight of responsibility to continue to hit a three in every single game is something that has been a burden at times over the years. In the game on Saturday late shots were jacked up from every angle as the players knew what the streak meant to the fans.
Now that the three-point streak is over, maybe players make different and more logical basketball decisions at certain times in the game. Vandy can still be a team that hits threes – as every team has to be in the modern game – but the pressure is off now.
Cool off Herbert Jones
Jones picked up his second consecutive double-double on Saturday night as the Crimson Tide beat Missouri 88-74. The 6-foot-7 forward averages 10.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game on the season, but his play is trending up as Alabama has hit conference play. Jones is one of those players that can fill up the stats sheet on a good day, so if Vanderbilt can go at him and force him to commit some early fouls then the Alabama game plan would be drastically altered. He leads the Crimson Tide in their toughness plays metric as he makes all the effort plays required to make Alabama a better basketball team.