Shooting the basketball should be the backbone this year. Georgetown helped prove that theory by limiting the Commodores to 41% from the field and 24% from 3. These percentages were due to a sweltering half court defense employed by the Hoyas. The Hoyas consistently switched the double screens coming off transition and the Commodores shooters found very little room to shoot. Forced to attack inside and attack off the dribble was troublesome as the Roy Hibbert and Jeff Green's athleticism altered and blocked many shots.
Expected to be a weakness with the Commodore squad, the rebounding advantage for the Hoyas was not a huge factor. The Dores were out-rebounded 38-33, but were forced to go smaller due to foul trouble. All in all, the Dores held up well in this category, and similar rebounding efforts coupled with better shooting should give this team opportunities to win games.
The defense was lacking Wednesday night to say the least. One bright spot is that The Dores defended the 3 well, holding the Hoyas to 33%. Vandy was consistently beat off the dribble, allowing lay ups and as the lead grew bigger the Hoyas were able to take advantage of the gambling defense with their backdoor cuts. The Dores also proved to be no match for the Hoyas in the post, allowing Georgetown big men to score at will on the blocks. For the Dores to have any success this season the Defense will have to improve dramatically.
The Dores appeared to play hard, but just didn't have the horses to keep up. VU blocked 5 shots, which was a pleasant surprise, but the most glaring stat was assist to turnover ratio. The Commodores had 13 assists to 14 turnovers, and really struggled to get into any kind of groove in the half court. The full court defense only forced 13 turnovers, a stat that needs to improve to help offset the rebounding deficiencies.
The most noticeable issue in the backcourt was the disappearance of Shan Foster. No field goals for arguably one of the best wings in the SEC will get VU beat almost every night. He seemed frustrated with the Hoyas perimeter D and was not able to create his own shots. Jermaine Beal was also a non-factor. Without the solid play of Derrick Byars and Alex Gordon this game would have been much worse.
Alan Metcalfe's inability to stay out of foul trouble hurt the Dores defensive efforts. He was solid when he played but in a game like this he must be able to stay on the floor for more than 10 minutes. Ross Neltner played well and might be the scorer in the post the Dores have lacked the past few years. JeJuan Brown and Ted Skuchas were very solid and helped keep the Dores within striking distance.
Opening against a top 10 team is a tall task. The new up-tempo style failed to generate anything in transition as the Dores were held to 4 fast break points and didn't get much out of their secondary break. Defensively the move to the zone worked but when you are behind it is tough to stay with it. I imagine that guarding off the dribble will be an emphasis the next few days in practice. Keeping in mind that the Dores are trying a new style of play, the adjustments will take time and there is hope that things will get better.