Vanderbilt vs. Georgtown: Peiser's analysis

This is the third meeting between the two schools. The series is tied at one win apiece. Georgetown won the first game 70-60 in the opening round of the NCAA West Regional in Tucson, AZ, in 1991. The twin towers of Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo was too much to overcome.

Vanderbilt Vs. #8 Georgetown

Game 1

Wednesday, 15-November-2006—8:00 P.M. CST

 

Radio: WGFX 104.5 FM & Eight Affiliates + Sirius Radio

 

TV: Fox Sports Net (Mid-Atlantic Sports Network in D.C. Area)

 

History

 

This is the third meeting between the two schools.  The series is tied at one win apiece.  Georgetown won the first game 70-60 in the opening round of the NCAA West Regional in Tucson, AZ, in 1991.  The twin towers of Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo was too much to overcome.

 

Last year, Vanderbilt won 68-61 in a game played in Washington, D.C.  Shan Foster's 20 points led the way as the Commodores roared back from a 13-point first half deficit, outscoring the Hoyas 44-21 in a 21-minute stretch.

 

Statistics

 

Vanderbilt 0-0 in the SEC, 0-0 overall

Georgetown 0-0 in the Big East, 1-0 overall

 

Georgetown defeated Hartford 69-59 in their season opener on Saturday.  The Hoyas led the Hawks by just 56-54 with five minutes to go in the game.  Jeff Green led GU with 17 points.  Roy Hibbert added 16, and Jonathan Wallace scored 13.  Tyler Crawford led the Hoyas with nine rebounds.

 

Georgetown shot just 41.5% from the field, while Hartford hit 44.9% of their shots.  The Hoyas dominated on the glass by a 39-23 advantage.

 

Vanderbilt defeated Northern State (S.D.) 98-94 in their only exhibition game.  Since the game did not count in the regular season, there isn't much that can be taken from it and apply to a real game.

 

The Match-ups

 

Point Guard

 

V: #0 Jermaine Beal 6-3, 207 Fr.

G: #2 Jonathan Wallace 6-1, 188 Jr.

 

Wallace is an experienced veteran who makes few mistakes as the quarterback of the Georgetown offense and defense.  Last year, he committed just 47 turnovers and dished out 106 assists.  He will stay in the game for close to 40 minutes if he doesn't get in foul trouble or become fatigued.  He is the team's best three-point threat, and he has enough quickness to beat a defender to the basket.

 

This is the first official collegiate game for Beal.  He has a daunting task having to face a talented, seasoned veteran in Wallace.  He will make some nice plays, but he is going to make mistakes.  It is important that he plays relaxed and doesn't come out tight.  He has a physical superiority to Wallace, but he is not as quick.

 

If Beal can gain some early confidence by playing excellent off the ball defense and prevent the ball being returned to Wallace once it has been passed to someone else, and if Beal can hit a couple shots early, this match-up can be a push.  If Beal has jitters for too long, Wallace can school him.

 

Backup Commodore point guard Alex Gordon should see at least 18 to 20 minutes of action at a minimum and could wind up playing 20-25 minutes if Beal has problems.  Gordon will have a hard time guarding Wallace, but Wallace will have a hard time guarding him as well.  If Gordon were to have a hot shooting touch and pick up a couple of steals leading to fast break scores, he could spark the Commodores to an upset victory.

 

 

Shooting Guard

 

V: #32 Shan Foster 6-6, 200 Jr.

G: #22 Tyler Crawford 6-3, 205 Jr.

 

Crawford is not going to scare anybody with his offensive repertoire.  He is a below average outside shooter, but he's a good defender who rebounds like a 6-7 forward.  Imagine a combination of Demarre Carroll and Russ Lakey, and you will get an idea of his abilities.

 

Foster should have an opportunity to be a star on opening night.  He should be able to collapse inside defensively to help out against the Hoya post game, and he will have a chance to pick up a steal or two on feeds to the paint.  It goes without saying that if Foster has a cold shooting night, the Commodores have little chance of defeating a top 10 team.  He will need to contribute on the boards and score on the break.  He needs to score well into the teens in this game.

 

 

Small Forward

 

V: #4 Derrick Byars 6-7, 230 Sr.

G: #34 Mark Egerson 6-6, 237 So.

 

Egerson had one of his better games last year against Vandy.  He came off the bench to score six points and grab three rebounds.  Now, as a starter, he needs to provide more than a few garbage baskets.  Egerson is not much of an outside shooter and when he is aligned wide, his defender will be able to sink into the lane and provide support down low.  Defensively, he's above average and will force Byars to work for every point.

 

Byars is clearly a much better player than Egerson.  The Commodores will need to exploit this mismatch to counter the mismatch inside.  Byars will be the lone senior on the floor when the game tips off.

 

Power Forward

 

V: #41 Ross Neltner 6-9, 247 Jr.

G: #32 Jeff Green 6-9, 235 Jr.

 

Green is a future National Basketball Association player.  He is a multi-tooled player who can shoot, rebound, play defense, handle the ball, pass, and move much more competently than the average starter.  He will play 35-40 minutes if he doesn't get into foul trouble or isn't forced to the sideline with fatigue.

 

Neltner will have to earn his keep in his first game in two years.  He doesn't have the ability to control Green one-on-one, but he should get some help from a wing defender.  On the attack side, Neltner won't dominate in the paint, but he should get a couple of baskets down low and a couple from outside. 

 

Center

 

V: #11 Alan Metcalfe 6-9, 265 Jr.

G: #55 Roy Hibbert 7-2, 278 Jr.

 

Hibbert performed poorly in last year's loss to the Commodores.  He had great difficulty scoring or rebounding against Ted Skuchas and finished the game with six points and no rebounds.  Don't expect a repeat performance this year.  Although not in the class with Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, or Dikembe Mutombo, Hibbert occupies a huge amount of space inside on the defensive end.  On the offensive end, he's a little clumsy but he makes up for it by throwing his muscle around.  For his size, he is deceivingly a good foul shooter.

 

The Bench

 

V: # 3 Alex Gordon 5-11, 164 Jr. G

     #20 Dan Cage 6-5, 215 Jr. G/F

     #34 George Drake 6-4, 213 G/F

     #31 JeJuan Brown 6-7, 226 Fr. F

     #54 Ted Skuchas 6-11, 242 Sr. C

     #14 Aubrey Hammond 6-4, 184 Jr. G

 

Note: only these four Hoya reserves played in the first game

 

G: #21 Jesse Sapp 6-3, 205 So. G

     #  5  Jeremiah Rivers 6-4, 205 Fr. G (son of Doc Rivers)

     #  3  DaJuan Summers 6-8, 241 Fr. F

     #33 Patrick Ewing 6-8, 238 Jr. F (son of Patrick Ewing)

 

Vanderbilt clearly has a numbers advantage on the bench.  Georgetown would prefer to go with six players (the starters plus Sapp) for 170 plus of the 200 player-minutes tonight. 

 

Gordon, Cage, and Drake could see valuable time in this game, and their transition game abilities will be important.  Brown and Skuchas will be needed for their defense and rebounding abilities.  If Skuchas can contribute 15-18 minutes and push Hibbert away from the basket, he can be a factor in the game.

 

Predictions

 

Before I get to the game prediction, let me preface it with this caveat:  I do not have PiRate ratings for basketball.  Maybe one day, I will have the time to calculate ratings for 325 teams playing twice a week, but there's not enough time to even experiment with basketball ratings at the present time.

 

As I did last year, I will rely on the services of a couple dozen computerized ratings and weight them according to prior accuracy.  This early in the season, most of these computer services have yet to release their initial ratings.  For this game, I was able to use just five ratings.

 

That said, the five ratings return a split decision.  Two pick Georgetown to win; two pick Vanderbilt to pull off the upset, and the fifth shows the game to be a virtual tossup.  Applying equal weight to these five, Vanderbilt is a three-point pick.  Giving extra weight for the one rating that has been very accurate in the handful of games played so far, Vanderbilt moves to a four-point pick.  Georgetown's 10-point win over the team picked to finish last in the America East Conference lowered their rating from the teens to the 50's.  This time of year, with such a small statistical sampling, you get those wild swings.  Therefore, I recommend you ignore the computer prediction.

 

Personally, I think this game could be played 100 times and Vandy could win 40-45 of the games.  There are a few obvious key points in picking a winner in this game.

 

First, Georgetown has played a game already, and they should have an excellent opportunity to improve after working out the kinks.  For Vanderbilt, this is their first game, and they have a true freshman running the point.

 

Georgetown has a huge advantage inside, and if the Hoyas can control the tempo and make it a half-court game, they should emerge victorious.

 

Vanderbilt has a distinct, but not huge, advantage in the backcourt.  Georgetown doesn't shoot many three-pointers, and they aren't the most accurate 12-15-foot shooters either.  If the Commodores can force Georgetown into shooting from 12 feet out and more, the Hoyas will have a tough time hitting more than 45% of their shots, and the rebounds should bounce out far enough with enough frequency to give the Gold Men a fighting chance.

 

Georgetown does not have adequate depth to get involved in a running game.  Their players are not accustomed to playing a full-court, up-tempo game.  Vanderbilt absolutely must force this game to be a high possession affair.  Georgetown will tire in the second half, and their shooting accuracy will swoon like the Chicago Cubs in June.  A running game will also neutralize the inside advantage.  The best way to eliminate Hibbert from the game is to make him a mid-court spectator as the Commodores score in transition.

 

Count the number of field goal attempts and free throw attempts Vanderbilt takes in this game.  Count every field goal attempt (it doesn't matter if it is a two or three-pointer) as one point and every free throw attempt as .7 points.  If Vandy's total equals 75-80, this will be a very close game.  If the total surpasses 80, Vandy fans will be quite happy at 10:30 PM tonight.  If the total falls short of 75, Vandy will more than likely be 0-1 when the final buzzer sounds.


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