After much thought and confusion, I am now posting my preview of tonight’s matchup between the Hoyas and the Commodores. As I wrote in my earlier posting, this is going to be a true challenge for the ‘Dores, facing a superior sized opponent. They are also known to go to the running game, so I am unsure if we will be able to wear them out with an up tempo gameplan.
I started out this week very apprehensive. I still find myself with those feelings, but they are much closer to the way I feel before any important game, and no longer on par with where I was during the game against UConn in 2004. I no longer feel Georgetown is a “super team” on par with the Okafor led Huskies. Georgetown does have several very large players, but Vanderbilt has actually played great ball against similar teams throughout the season. For instance, against Florida and LSU.
Vandy also has the desire to avenge the loss earlier this season. This team is completely different than it was back when the Hoyas handed them a 16 point loss in Nashville. This is their chance to show everyone just how far they have come. And now, with most analysts going back to giving the ‘Dores no chance to win the game, the issue of having something to prove becomes even stronger.
From what I have heard, everyone on the team has been enjoying themselves in New Jersey, but also have been practicing very well. I feel that they will be quite prepared for the matchup tonight and will come out ready to prove the skill of the SEC and the “academic” teams. There is a good chance that the magic of this season will end tonight, but the players are prepared and I think that they will give a fabulous effort. At the end of the game, I think the Commodores will have themselves in a position to win. And after the heroics of the double overtime game against Washington State, I won’t be one to pick against us in the clutch.
Let’s Go Dores!
P.S. I will miss almost the whole game, so I am relying on Vanderbilt to win so that I have another chance to watch the team this season.
Later in the week, I will post my official preview of Friday’s game between the Commodores and the Hoyas. However, I just wanted to jot down a few of my early feelings tonight.
Although I have heard some hope from fellow Vandy posters and analysts, I have to say that I am very concerned about this matchup. We are facing a bigger team that has won 17 of its last 18 games now. I can’t help but have flashbacks to the Vandy-UConn game in the 2004 Sweet Sixteen, or even just back to Sunday when Kansas played Kentucky. I am afraid that the ‘Dores are going to be simply outmanned by a taller, stronger team.
The possible good news: Kevin Stallins said that getting to the Sweet Sixteen seemed more businesslike than in 2004. These players are in this tournament to play their best and win, no matter the competition. This is a great attitude to have, but when a loss does come along, it will be crushing. These guys won’t be happy if they go home on Friday, and I’m proud to follow a team that seems so determined and eager for more.
I think winning this game will take the stingy defense of the last several games, combined with an improved shooting performance. Simply put, however good Vanderbilt has been so far in this tournament, I think that Friday will have to be their best game in order to advance to the Elite 8.
Wednesday night, the Commodores basketball team opened their season in Memorial Gymnasium against the 8th ranked Georgetown Hoyas. The Hoyas won going away, 86-70.
The Commodores fell behind double digits before closing the first half to a four point 39-35 deficit. They got back within four about halfway through the second half, but the Hoyas broke the game open to win by the final 16 point margin. Alex Gordon looked good, putting up 15 points and attempting to carry the ‘Dores on his back. Shan Foster was definitely not on his game last night, and only got two points, off of free throws. The big men for Vandy just couldn’t hold out against Georgetown’s taller, more experienced lineup. Vanderbilt also made only 5 three point attempts out of 21 tries, which is a death sentence for a team that has relied for many years on successful three-point shots.
“Live by the three, die by the three.”