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Vanderbilt Commodores

by Curtis Claassen | March 12th, 2010

Good wins: Tennessee (twice), vs. Missouri, vs. Florida, at St. Mary’s, vs. Mississippi State, at Ole Miss

Bad losses: at Georgia, at Western Kentucky, vs. South Carolina

Strengths

A.J. Ogilvy: He is no doubt the leader and go-to man for the Commodores. At 6-11, Ogilvy is a load inside. He averages 13.9 points, leads the team with 6.2 rebounds, shoots 51.5 percent from the field and 73.5 percent from the free throw line, and averages 1.5 blocks. This guy is not only a stat machine, but also may determine how far Vanderbilt advances in the NCAA Tournament.

Offensive power: Vandy has a lot of weapons on offense. The ‘Dores have four players that score in double-figures. Jermaine Beal is the best perimeter threat; he leads the team with14.7 points and 3.1 assists. He also shoots 37.5 percent from three and 79.6 percent from the free-throw line. Jeffery Taylor is second in scoring (13.9 points per game) and averages 5.1 assists. Ogilvy is third with 13.9 points, and freshman John Jenkins averages 10.5 points while shooting 46.7 percent from three.

As a team, the Commodores average 78.1 points, which ranks third in the SEC. They also shoot 47.5 percent from the field and 72.7 percent from the free-throw line.

Weaknesses

Defense and rebounding: These are two areas that could doom Vandy in the NCAAs. The team ranks toward the bottom of the SEC, averaging only 39.2 rebounds, and rarely force any turnovers, forcing 5.9 steals. If Ogilvy gets in foul trouble, this team is going to struggle to win games.

Other factors

The Commodores don’t have a true point guard and it shows. They turn the ball over 13.8 times a game, which ranks third-most in the SEC. Vandy has notoriously struggled away from home. The team is 6-5 playing on the road or a neutral court this season. The Commodores’ RPI (15) is solid as is their strength of schedule (14). These numbers should help them get a high seed. If Vandy wins the SEC tournament, it could get a two or three seed and stay close to home for their first two NCAA games. Realistically, Vandy looks like it will be a four or five seed.

NCAA Tournament prediction: Sweet 16. Vandy can play with a lot of teams in the nation. If it wasn’t for an awful shooting display from the three point line, the Commdores would have beaten Kentucky at home. They are all but a lock to win at least one game in the tournament but their second-round game could come down to matchups. The ‘Dores do not want to see a big and physical team because of their weakness on the glass. They would prefer to play a team that plays up-tempo because Vandy can outscore most teams in the country.

They Commodores have enough offensive fire power to get to the Sweet 16 but without a true point guard and a weak defense, anything past that will be very difficult.

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  1. Brian Says:

    A 4 seed seems a little optimistic for this team (even though the projected bracket has them there). Their actual RPI ranking is 22 as of right now. And.. their best wins are against Tennessee who is 17 in the RPI. Their next best wins are against RPI 36, 43, 52, 56, and 58. So, that’s only 4 wins against the RPI top 50 and only 2 against the RPI top 25 against the same team.

    South Carolina (90 RPI) isn’t an awful team, but no way you can lose to them at home in your last regular season game. Having only 7 losses (so far) looks pretty good, but Sagarin currently rates them #25 and Pomeroy #32.

    To me, they look like a 6 seed — proving you can beat Tennessee twice doesn’t say you’re a great team. Tennessee has lacked consistency this year: while overachieving in beating Kansas and Kentucky, Tennessee has also underachieved in losing to USC and Georgia.

    Also, Kentucky, the best team in the SEC, hasn’t beaten anyone that great except for Tennessee and Vanderbilt. So, I don’t really see how the SEC can expect to have their teams seeded that high when the top teams weren’t really tested much all year. The Big East, Big 12, ACC, and Big 10 all have teams more tested than Vandy and the SEC, so I would expect those conferences to get the benefit of the doubt.

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