Previewing Vanderbilt

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 11: Brad Tinsley #1 of the Vanderbilt Commodores reacts after injuring his thumb against the Oregon Ducks during first-half action at Memorial Gymansium on November 11, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

(Pomeroy moved his stats behind a paywall, so there will be no more links to the scouting reports and such. Sorry about that. Statsheet has all the same data, it just isn't as well organized.)
2011 Stats (pdf)
2012 Roster
2012 Schedule

Vanderbilt Offense 09-10
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 52.6 40
Turnover Rate 19.2 106
Off Reb Rate 32.2 195
FTA/FGA 48.3 11
Vanderbilt Offense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 52.9 30
Turnover Rate 19.0 105
Off Reb Rate 33.1 144
FTA/FGA 45.2 27

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe it was fortuitous that we played Princeton when we did, because while the Commodores are by no means a carbon copy in a stylistic sense, they are like a cousin with whom Princeton enjoys shooting the shit on occasion.

Vanderbilt is on a completely different level, of course. They returned everybody from a team that won 23 games overall and nine in conference play last season. And coach Kevin Stallings seems to have hit that sweet spot where you can pretty much assume his teams are going to be solid. That's always a nice place to be, especially in SEC basketball, where most people are only half-watching as they count down the minutes between their school's bowl game and signing day. Stallings essentially is Herb Sendek if he'd been allowed to go on without all the mounting pressure.

Vanderbilt's offense ranked in the top 25 in each of the last three seasons, and if you're looking for a coach to extract the most from the talent on hand, you could do worse than Stallings, who has had a top 50 offense in seven of the last eight years. While they do rely heavily on the three-point shot (every bit as much as we did under Sendek), they play at a faster tempo than you might think. Otherwise it's about what you'd expect from a well-executed perimeter-oriented style. They shoot the ball well everywhere on the floor, they don't turn the ball over a lot, and they don't really care to grab a bunch of offensive boards. When you do those first two things well, offensive boards are just gravy anyway.

Starters:

Brad Tinsley (6-3, 210) -- Tinsley was more facilitator than scorer as the point guard last season, but you forget about him at your peril. He was an efficient if opportunistic shooter, especially from beyond the arc. He's also never shot below 82.4% from the free throw line in a season. He is a little banged up, so we'll have to see how that affects his play.

John Jenkins (6-4, 220) -- Jenkins hit 172 of 394 (43.7%) three-point attempts in his first two seasons at Vandy. Last year he also made 54% of his twos and 89% of his free throws. He led the SEC in scoring and was a first-team all-conference selection. Pretty scary. But he rolled an ankle in the team's loss to Cleveland State and was held out of their win over Bucknell on Tuesday. It sounds like he'll play on Saturday, but will he be 100%?

Jeffery Taylor (6-7, 225) --Taylor was second to Jenkins in scoring last season with a similar workload, and if Jenkins is limited, Taylor most likely will be the one to carry the load. He's done most of his damage inside the arc, though he went from 11 three-point attempts in 2010 to 113 last year, with acceptable results. (He shot 34.5%.) Certainly if he continues to improve his range that'll be a huge bonus for Vanderbilt. But he's also made quite a living at the free throw line, which puts the defense in a tough spot. Hedge against the drive and make him prove he can be a consistent jump shooter and risk some costly threes, or play tight and expose yourself to fouls?

Lance Goulbourne (6-8, 230) -- For a team that lacked good defensive rebounding last year, Goulbourne was a critical component. He was good at both ends but especially so at the defensive end, where he grabbed 23% of opponents' missed shots while he was on the floor. Offensively, he was more of an occasional contributor, though he could be counted on two make half his twos and he was more than willing to shoot from outside.

Steve Tchiengang (6-9, 245) -- I keep calling him Steve Chaingang in my head, but I'm guessing that is not the correct pronunciation. Tchiengang was a reserve last year and is filling in for the injured Festus "For The Rest Of Us" Ezeli (6-11, 255), who sprained a couple of knee ligaments in late October and will miss at least a month and a half. Ezeli was a free-throw generating machine and made almost 59% of his twos in '11. This is a team that could get better in a hurry once it gets healthy after the new year. As for Tchiengang, he probably won't do a lot of shooting, but like Goulbourne, State's defense can't sleep on him. He isn't afraid to shoot the three.

On a more important note, an anagram for Steve Tchiengang is Vengeance Tights.

Bench:

Kedren Johnson (6-4, 215), Rod Odom (6-9, 215), Dai-Jon Parker (6-3, 190), Josh Henderson (6-11, 230), Kyle Fuller (6-1, 200). Fuller played sparingly last year and was not good at the basketballing. The other three guys are freshmen.

Vanderbilt Defense 09-10
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 47.0 86
Turnover Rate 19.3 240
Off Reb Rate 34.5 249
FTA/FGA 34.5 109
Vanderbilt Defense 10-11
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 46.0 39
Turnover Rate 17.5 308
Off Reb Rate 32.1 168
FTA/FGA 28.0 20

 

 

 

 

 

Some familiar problems here, and this is the area that's limited their ceiling in recent years. The defensive rebounding should be better considering the size of this team, and that along with the lack of turnovers is really squandering some good FG% defense.

I wonder sometimes about the defensive limitations imposed on a team that recruits for this sort of perimeter-oriented style. Mainly I wonder it after watching all those Sendek teams play middling-to-bad defense with the non-traditional (smaller) forwards needed to run the offense. I mean, if you have Roy Hibbert then you can have a good defense without the turnovers or the rebounds, but how often is that gonna happen? If I were coaching this sort of style, I'd give Oliver Purnell however much money he wanted to be my Head Defensive Turnover Guru.

Pomeroy Predictor likes Vandy by five. (O RLY)

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