Vanderbilt continues to do just enough wrong to lose every game in a new and unique way. The ‘Dores next chance to move away from their new losing streak is on Saturday at Memorial Gym against Ole Miss.
Here are the three keys:
Let’s make some free throws
The free throw should be the easiest shot to make in a basketball game. It is a closed skill – one that is not impacted by an opponent or weather conditions – and it is an action that every single player on the Vandy team will have made literally thousands (if not tens of thousands) of times during their basketball career to date.
That is why it is baffling when a DI college team can go 16-of-29 from the foul line. That is a free throw conversion of just 55%. That is not good enough in high school – let alone in college – and those 13 missed points went a long way towards telling the story of the Commodores 61-52 loss to Missouri. This must improve.
Find a shot during cold streaks
A recurring theme of the season reared up again on Wednesday night as the Commodores had multiple streaks of more than three or four minutes while not making baskets. The three that hurt the most were to start the game when Vandy had just six points at the under-12 minute media timeout, the final four minutes of the first half where a 27-20 lead became a 28-27 advantage, and then later in the second half when Mizzou stretched out to a 42-33 lead as Vandy didn’t score for five minutes. Streaks like these need to be cut off before they become so damaging to the team’s chances of winning.
Stop Breein Tyree
The Rebels have a pair of guards who can do some damage and Tyree is the pick of the two. He is the SEC’s leading scorer and averages over 20 points per game as he leads this Ole Miss team. He is also a player that will shoot in bunches – he went 3-of-19 from the field last time out against Auburn – and still converted that into 16 points thanks to his free throw shooting. Tyree is a player that the Commodores will need to play physical defense on and keep out of the paint if they want to win here.