Thursday, January 15, 2009

Strong defense and weak offense — no we're not talking about Vanderbilt football

Last night's basketball game against Georgia reminded me of Vanderbilt's football season.

You know, lots of bad news but good news. As in, the bad news is we scored 14 points against Auburn, but the good news is our defense held Auburn to 13. Or the bad news is our offense was scoreless against Boston College but the good news is our defense held them to 14 and our special teams scored 16.

Last night in Nashville, our roundball offense scored 50 against Georgia.

Fifty! At least Jodie Meeks wasn't on the other team.

And the good news is that the defense allowed only 40.

"I didn't even know I could coach a team that could play this well defensively," Kevin Stallings said in the post-game press conference. "There will be some nights when we struggle to score. Nevertheless, if we play defense together, all we need to do is hit a few and hopefully that will be enough."

There's a motto for you: "Hopefully that will be enough." That was the motto of the football team. And this year, it was enough seven times, as opposed to the usual four or five.

I like listening to Stallings. He's a straight-shooter, has a good sense of humor most of the time, and I think would be a good guy to play for (if I were 20 years younger, a half-a-foot taller and, you know, had game.)

Anyway, here are some more observations from Stallings:

On A.J. Ogilvy being the only guy in double figures: "On most nights, we'll help him more. I didn't think that I would ever come in here and look down at the stat sheet to see that Brad Tinsley had one field goal made and it was a dunk. When you look at what we did defensively, it was huge for us."

On his ridiculously young but talented team: "They are doing great. They're fun to coach. If I'm enjoying coaching them, it means that we'll get better."

Now here are some comments from Georgia Coach Dennis Felton on the Commodores' defensive performance:

"That's not out of the ordinary for what Vanderbilt's been doing all year. They're holding their opponents to 35% the entire season, which I'd be surprised if that didn't make them No. 1 in the country. They're holding their opponents to only 58 points a game this season. They're really good at that. One of the main reasons is because they're huge. They're just so big. They not only have big post players, but big guards. Their wings are 6-8, long and athletic. Their point guard is 6-3 and big and strong. They do a really good job of staying in front of you, making it hard to penetrate the paint. A big part of it was that they had seven blocks."

When's the last time Vanderbilt had seven blocks?

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