It was the story of the season for Vanderbilt on Saturday as the ‘Dores played hard before falling 78-80 at the hands of the Georgia Bulldogs.
By Steve Wright
Up next for Vanderbilt is a date with the Missouri Tigers in Nashville. Here are the three keys:
Just keep on keeping on
It is hard sometimes to see how a team can keep going and keep working as hard as Vanderbilt is in this situation. The ‘Dores had seven players on scholarship and played four walk-ons against Georgia on Saturday night – a Georgia team that features a potential No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft in Anthony Edwards. This is what is known in sports as a mismatch.
Yet Vandy fought through this and had about eight chances to put the game away late. That isn’t in the DNA of this Commodores’ team though. That is the only way to explain how Georgia found a loose ball and drained a 30-footer at the buzzer to win by two. Winning is a habit and it is one that Vanderbilt has to find a way to discover ASAP.
Play basically the same game
This might sound weird after a loss, but you have to remember that this was a game that the ‘Dores had no business losing. Vanderbilt led this game for an insane 35:38 out of the 40:00 minutes.
Georgia, on the other hand, led for less than a minute. Vanderbilt beat Georgia in the free throw battle by getting to the line 25 times as opposed to 15 and hit 17 of those as opposed to 11.
The ‘Dores turned Georgia over 13 times and score 20 points off of those mistakes.
It is hard to be that dominant in those phases – especially the time leading – and come away with a loss. If Vandy matches these numbers – or even gets close to them – against Mizzou then it will lead to a win.
A three-point barrage
Heading into the game over the weekend it was Missouri that was trending up and Arkansas that was trending down. That was quickly flipped in the game that Arkansas won 78-68 as they hot 12-of-25 from downtown, including a streak of three straight three pointers late to put the game away. Clearly the Mizzou three-point defense is not what it could be and we know that at this point one of the best ways for Vandy to win games is to shoot the lights out of the building. Expect to see threes raining down all night long in Nashville on Wednesday.