Adams: 'Dores had better be ready for Georgia

Fans and media alike have been flipping out over the final four minutes of Vanderbilt's 75-72 win over Mississippi State. I'm included in that group. But after I had a day to think it over, we should all probably focus on the first 36 minutes, in which Vandy played well against a very solid team.

Either way, let's take a quick look and see what Coach Stallings had to say about the Bulldogs' 15-4 run that nearly stole the game in Memorial.

"We got tentative with the ball, were careless with the ball, and turned it over," Stallings said. "We had no flow on offense at the end of the game. With about two or three minutes to go, I told them that we have to play to win. That's one of the things that's key about the end of the game, to be aggressive. We were not aggressive and were aggressive at times we shouldn't have been."

I completely missed the boat on that one. To be blunt, I thought they were playing too aggressive in the final stretch. The ‘Dores made a couple of silly fouls that gave the Bulldogs points with no time being taken off the clock. What really got me was the help defense at the end. Players would run toward the same guy, leaving another wide open. I though their aggressiveness messed up their defensive rotations. But that's why I'm not the coach.

There were two signature plays in the final seconds that have been frustrating to fans.

Vanderbilt is leading by one with 17 seconds left to play. The ball is passed around from Jermaine Beal to Brad Tinsley (who had already missed some key free throws), and finally to John Jenkins. There might have been another pass in there, but I'm not sure because my blood pressure was already too high.

The whole time, Mississippi State wasn't trying to foul as much as I thought they should have been.

Anyway, Jenkins has the ball with six seconds on the clock. Instead of dribbling/passing the ball out, he decides to take a shot from the low block. He was fouled on the shot attempt.

The decision to put the ball up in the air is dangerous. Best case scenarios: You hit the shot or you're fouled in the attempt. Unless you get a three-point play out of it, you've only accomplished scoring two points with six seconds still on the clock. Both outcomes result in your opponent getting a chance to tie up the game on the ensuing possession.

"I made a freshman mistake," Jenkins said. "It won't happen again. I was confident I was going to make the free throws though."

Well he did knock down the free throws. Maybe we're getting a little too caught up in it. In reality, he probably would have been fouled in the next second anyway. Still, it was a scary couple of seconds.

So after the free throws, Vandy is leading by three with about six seconds left to play.

Coach Stallings wants the team to foul and not give up a three-point attempt. On the inbounds, Jeffery Taylor mauls Dee Bost, but nothing is called. Anything worse and the referees probably could have called an intentional. I don't see how you can blame Taylor for this.

Luckily, Dee Bost completes his 1-7 performance with a badly missed three; victory is secured. Wait, what was that whistle? Oh nothing important, just Lance Goulbourne committing one of the dumbest fouls of all time on a meaningless put-back attempt!

If Romero Osby hit that shot, and completed a three-point play.....I mean...that was really bad. At that moment, they had one second left and NO chance of tying the game. Who cares that Lance fouled hard enough for him to miss the shot, it still put into play: Hit the first, miss second on purpose, quick tap-in for the tie.

Luckily, Osby missed both free throws and the game was over.

Just a wild ending to make sure everybody got their money's worth.

Even though the game draws some parallels to the Missouri fiasco, the good news is that the team still won both. You could mention that these chaotic endings aren't good for the upcoming tournaments, but I think it's still a little too early to go into panic mode.

The reason is simple. Vanderbilt beat a good team in Mississippi State. A week ago, this would have almost been a top 25 match-up. With a good run, the Bulldogs have an outside chance at making the field of 65. Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury had a lot of good things to say about the Commodores.

"It's never easy when you come into here," Stansbury said. "There's no question this is one of the better Vanderbilt basketball teams that I've seen here in a long time. They've demonstrated that already going on the road and getting three wins. Everyone understands in this building how tough it is. Kevin is doing a great job with his team. They'll be hard to beat, particularly in here. They'll be hard to beat for anybody."


Up next is a Georgia squad that has no idea how good they are. They are 1-6 in the SEC, but their one win over Tennessee was ridiculously impressive. Five of their losses in conference play have come by a combined 12 points. The Commodores better be ready to play, or they'll get run out of the gym in Athens.

Winning three early road games in the SEC has positioned Vanderbilt to make a serious run at the conference title. In their next five games, they will play host to both Tennessee and Kentucky. If the ‘Dores can pull off some Memorial Magic against both, they may be hoisting an SEC banner next year.

Check out Eric's blog at Top Stories