Southeastern Conference (24-8, 12-4)
Big Wins: 11/20 at St. Mary’s (72-70), 1/27 at Tennessee (85-76), 2/9 Tennessee (90-71)
Bad Losses: 11/23 vs Cincinnati (58-67), 12/8 at Illinois (68-79), 12/11 vs Western Kentucky (69-76)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2008, First Round loss to Siena
Coach: Kevin Stallings (6-5 in 5 NCAA appearances)
Why They Can Surprise:
Vanderbilt’s success should not be as surprising as it has been. They have a great big man in A.J. Ogilvy and a couple superb shooters. That is a lethal combination. Ogilvy’s numbers have been a little disappointing during his senior campaign, but he is still a great interior scorer and a fine rebounder. At 6-11 and 250 pounds the Australian is a menace on the defensive end as well. While Ogilvy garners plenty of attention on the other end of the floor, it frees up Jermaine Beal and John Jenkins on the perimeter.
Beal hits nearly 38 percent of his attempts from long range, but the senior is about a lot more than just his shooting. The steady floor leader is a great ballhandler and does a superb job of attacking the basket and creating opportunities for himself or his teammates. Jenkins is pretty much a pure shooter, but that is fine since he knocks down an impressive 47.9 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. The opposition has to make a choice to either stop Ogilvy or stop the shooters and usually there is no right decision.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Jenkins usually comes in off the bench and the guards next to Beal are quality players, but Brad Tinsley and Jeffery Taylor lead the team in turnovers and that has been a problem. Coach Kevin Stallings does not mind his team running up and down the floor and turnovers will come from that, but with a player like Ogilvy on the team it is never a bad thing to slow down and get your big man a touch in the half-court offense. Tinsley is a fine defender and usually a good passer and Taylor is an explosive athlete who can finish around the basket and score in bunches, but both of them are underclassmen who will make some mistakes. The other concern is rebounding. Vanderbilt should be much better on the glass with Ogilvy leading the way. Bench players like Festus Ezeli and Steve Tchiengang have to do a better job on the glass if the Commodores hope to make a nice tournament run.
Who To Watch:
It is yet another sophomore, Andre Walker, who starts beside Ogilvy. While Walker is still coming into his own as a scorer, he is the strongest rebounder on the team besides Ogilvy. Walker’s superb athleticism and versatility make him a dangerous threat to do just about anything. He is a solid defender who can block some shots and is a great passer for a 6-7 forward. Vanderbilt does not need him to score with so many other options, but he will do everything else his team needs him to do to win.
Jermaine Beal, Senior, Guard, 14.7 ppg, 3.2 apg
John Jenkins, Freshman, Guard, 10.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Jeffery Taylor, Sophomore, Guard, 13.4 ppg, 1.7 apg, 5.2 rpg
Andre Walker, Sophomore, Forward, 6.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg
A.J. Ogilvy, Junior, Center, 13.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.5 bpg
Festus Ezeli, Sophomore, Center, 3.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.4 bpg
Lance Goulbourne, Sophomore, Forward, 3.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg
Steve Tchiengang, Sophomore, Forward, 3.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg
Brad Tinsley, Sophomore, Guard, 7.0 ppg, 2.9 apg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 78.1 (25th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.3 (196, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.5 (25, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.2 (75, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.1 (171, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.1 (88, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.7 (49, 1)
Rebound Margin: 0.3 (181, 9)
Assists Per Game: 13.2 (157, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.8 (178, 10)
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