The team's demeanor after the transfer of Charles Hinkle
Hinkle's decision to leave had to impact the psyche of the team. It was good for Coach Stallings to be able to get all 14 Commodores on the floor last night. Aaron Noll only played three minutes, but every other ‘Dore played at least eight minutes. When a player decides to transfer, other teammates have to consider their future with the team. A 38-point blowout and ample playing time has to help out al lot.
Continuing to build momentum heading into SEC play
Things were pretty bad after the loss to Western Kentucky. Stallings said that opponents no longer respected their defense. The eight-day period between then and the game against Tennessee State must have been rough. It also must have lit a fire under the team. The TSU game was sloppy, but along with the blowouts against Mercer and Manhattan seem to have created a great rhythm within the team. If Vandy can dominate Southern Miss and Middle Tennessee State as well, the team will have all the confidence in the world to take down Florida in the SEC opener.
The interchangeability of the trio of guards
It is apparent that Vanderbilt has three solid guards that can be rotated at will. Against Manhattan, the trio combined for 23 points, nine assists, and only one turnover in 71 minutes of play. Jermaine Beal is still a bit off on his shooting. He was 4-11 and is putting up a lot of shots per game. Hopefully Beal can become more efficient from the floor and regain his touch. Brad Tinsley had a line similar to a typical Andre Walker outing. Tinsley had nine points, six rebounds, and five assists. Tinsley has to perform like this for Vandy to have any shot against the SEC elite. John Jenkins led the team with 15 points. The most encouraging thing about his performance was that he was upset by shooting 3-7 from behind the arc. "I'm a little disappointed with my 3-point effort today," Jenkins said. "I can get better and I'll work on it." It's fun when a player knows he can be better than 42% from the 3-point line.
A.J. Ogilvy coming off the bench
Even though he only played 16 minutes, Ogilvy still almost got a double-double (12 points and eight rebounds). You never know how a player will respond coming off the bench. He's been playing with more fire and saying all the right things. In his post-game comments, he put the focus back on defense. "We had a couple practices where we were trying to turn our defensive effort around," Ogilvy said. "The past couple of games, our focus on defense has helped. It's more of an asset than a liability." That attitude showed up, as A.J. had three steals and three blocks. He will have to be a defensive presence against the best of the SEC.
Up next for Vanderbilt is Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles have struggled of late, falling to both Canisius and North Florida. Earlier in the season, they held a six-point lead against Ole Miss with less than a minute remaining. The Rebels staged an incredible comeback and won the game in regulation 81-79. Following that disaster, Southern Miss took revenge against South Alabama.
Who knows what Southern Miss team will show up on Saturday. Regardless, they better be ready to face a Vanderbilt squad that is back on track.
Check out Eric's blog at DorePosts.com