After showing some good signs recently the ‘Dores had their doors blown off in Oxford as they went down 86-60 at the hands of Ole Miss.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys to turning things around against Alabama:
The runs have to stop
We have talked about the biggest key to Vandy winning being the ability to stop scoring runs and that narrative won’t change until the Commodores find a way to do just that. This issue was once again on play in the blowout loss at the hands of the Rebels as Vanderbilt started the game on the wrong end of a 13-1 run. Not content with this period of offensive ineptitude, Vanderbilt got back into the game to tie it at 13 before going even coder later on in the half. This saw the score stretch out to 43-27 as the Rebels went on a 19-5 run, basically ending the contest before halftime.
It is likely too late in the season for Jerry Stackhouse to coach his team into avoiding these scoreless streaks. That means that this ability to break out of a scoring slump with a key basket has to be priority No. 1 in the offseason.
Stop the secondary scorers
The Commodores did as good of a job as anyone has in the last month against the highly dangerous Breein Tyree in this game. The leading scorer in the SEC was held to just 11 points – a total that was his lowest scoring output in eight games – but it mattered little as the Commodores gave up an incredible 26 assists and the Rebels just found other ways to score. All five of their starters finished in double figures as they used other players to contribute as the Vandy game plan was to get the ball out of the hands of Tyree and Devontae Shuler (18 points).
It was a solid strategy and it is one that many teams have played this season to beat the Rebels. The issue was that the Vandy defenders simply weren’t quite engaged when it came to executing the game plan and as a result players for the Rebels stepped up in a big way.
Be ready to make shots
This is not a game Vanderbilt can win in the 60s or 70s. The Crimson Tide beat South Carolina 90-86 last time out, exceeding is 83.0 ppg averaged – good for No. 2 in the nation – despite playing without guard John Petty and his 15.0 and three made three-point shots per game. A slightly different game plan saw the Crimson Tide shoot 24 three-point shots, a high number but one that was near their season low in the category. They also basically played with a six-man rotation because of the injury – with Herbert Jones essentially playing with one hand – and they still won the game.
This is a team that wants to win by out-shooting you. Vanderbilt will have to be prepared for that style of game on Tuesday night.