Adams: VU broke down physically and mentally

In Eddie Einhorn's "How March Became Madness", you are able to read into the mindset of legendary coaches you may or may not have heard of before. Everybody has heard of guys like John Wooden and Bobby Knight, so the two that jumped out at me were DePaul's Ray Meyer and Houston's Guy Lewis.

Lewis coached at Houston for 30 years and compiled a record of 592-279, including National Coach of the year awards in 1968 and 1983. Meyer coached for an eye-popping 42 years at DePaul with a record of 724-354, including 21 post-season appearances.

I'm sure your thinking: How in the world do these two have anything to do with Vanderbilt's 14-point loss to Georgia?


Both coaches made it clear in the book and in other articles that losses were sometimes the best things to happen to a team. It kept a team's ego in check and helped the team lose a little of that cockiness that comes along with winning. Instead of squeaking by with a win in Athens and getting a pat on the back, this Commodores team knows that it has a certain set of flaws that were exposed on Saturday. The loss gives Kevin Stallings the team's undivided attention to fix things. A bad win can sometimes complicate the coaching process. A bad loss on the other hand wakes people up.

Two Commodores had really good outings on Saturday night: Jermaine Beal and Brad Tinsley. Both combined for 39 of the Dores' 58 points. Tinsley scored a season-high 18 on 7-12 shooting. Let's see what he things went wrong:

"We had a good lead in the second but then fell apart defensively," Tinsley said. "It helped Georgia that they got to the line a lot. We broke down mentally and physically and they just capitalized. Georgia figured out the press and figured out how to break it. In the first half, they were rushing, but they calmed down and started to run through it in the second."

That's all true, but here's what he should have said:

"Well guys, Jermaine and I were the only ones who remembered how to shoot the basketball. We tried to remind them at halftime, but it didn't help."

Here's a breakdown of Vandy's poor shooting:

John Jenkins - 0-9 FG (a staggering 0-7 from three-point range)

A.J. Ogilvy - 2-8 (0-2 in the first half)

Jeffery Taylor - 2-6 Andre Walker - 0-3

Festus Ezeli, Lance Goulbourne, and Steve Tchiengang - combined 1-6

So a group of guys that average about 54 points a game, only contributed 17 points and shot 16% from the floor (5-32).

The missed shots contributed to the team's poor assist numbers. On the season, Vanderbilt is averaging 14 assists per contest. They only had five at Saturday. Compare that with Georgia's 20 and you can see were things went wrong.

After defeating Tennessee earlier this year, you knew that Georgia would be dangerous at home. You just expected things to be a lot closer.

Listen to how happy Georgia coach Mark Fox was about the game:

"We really played well all-around tonight," Fox said. "Some people stepped up off of the bench. There was a lot of unselfish play from the team. This was the type of game that really makes you feel good about yourself. I think all season we've needed a win to keep us going. No one expected anything out of this team at the beginning of the year…So it was great to see the team play so well tonight because we really did need a win."

He knows how to rub salt in a wound. We get it. Nobody believed in you. Just stop trying to sound like this win will change the whole direction of your program.

Earlier I wrote that this would be an opportunity for Coach Stallings to have his team's attention and get some things fixed. Here are two things that jump to mind that need to be addressed.

Jeffery Taylor and A.J. Ogilvy have only combined to average 20 points over their last four games. That's not going to cut it. Both players need to score in the high teens for Vandy to be playing at its highest level. Stallings has to find some way to get both players going in the first half. It seems that both are non-factors early on, which forces the team to settle for outside jumpers too often. At times this looks like a Sweet 16 team, but not when Taylor and Ogilvy don't show up.

The press caused the Bulldogs some trouble, but it also led to a bunch of easy baskets. Pressing early can give the other team confidence if they can break in and get some cheap points. Let's try to work on that a bit. I like when Stallings rotates forwards and guards on the front line of the press. It makes teams alter the way they attack it.

The real danger of the loss to Georgia is if it snowballs into something greater. Vandy's next four games are Tennessee, LSU, @Mississippi, and Kentucky. I only see one guaranteed win in that group. This isn't the time of year to start losing a bunch of games. If Vandy beats the Vols on Tuesday, we can forget this game and move on. If they lose, we may be in for a rocky end to the season. Top Stories