Vanderbilt was routed 90-64 on Saturday on the road at South Carolina. The 2019-20 season is sadly beginning to feel a lot like the 2018-19 season, meaning that the ‘Dores are in desperate need of a win to get some positive momentum and belief back into the team.
By Steve Wright
Next up is a daunting trip to Lexington to face No. 13 Kentucky.
Here are the three keys:
Get Nick Richards in foul trouble
This Kentucky squad looks like all the pieces are falling into place as we round into the second half of the season. This is typical for a John Calipari team and at this point we shouldn’t expect anything less from Kentucky.
There are five-star recruits all over the court, but Nick Richards is the key to what the Wildcats want to do. In games where they have struggled it has often been because Richards was limited with foul trouble, so it would make sense for Vanderbilt to go after the future first-round NBA draft selection and see if they can get some cheap ones on him early.
Make three-point shots
The three point shooting situation has gone from bad to worse for Vanderbilt. The ‘Dores had lost their opening five six games by an average of 20 points, barely being in any of the contests past half time. A major factor in this is that they are showing 20-of-131 from deep during this run, a figure that rounds out to shooting 15-percent from deep. The Auburn game feels like forever ago at this point.
If the team continues to be this cold from behind the arc then the losing streak will creep into the high 30s. Losing Aaron Nesmith killed any positive momentum and thoughts that this squad had so someone needs to step up and lead from the front.
Be better from the free throw line
The charity stripe has not been in a giving mood to the Commodores this season. This is bad news because a team that is in a scoring funk such as the one that Vanderbilt is currently enduring needs all the help it can get. Free throws are a closed skill in this game and the ‘Dores simply need to make more of their shots for free points.
Saben Lee was 7-of-15 for Vandy against South Carolina from the line and he still led the team with 17 points. The team as a whole was 60-percent on the game from the foul line, a figure lower than the already troubling 68-percent they were shooting heading into the contest. This is an area that just needs to be cleaned up with more work in the gym.