Vanderbilt had a bad couple of days over Thanksgiving. The Commodores were shut down by the always immaculate Virginia defense, before losing by double-digits to No. 20 Seton Hall. Now Vandy needs to rebound against Radford.
Here are the three keys to this one:
It may sound like the most obvious key in the history of this series, but Vanderbilt simply has to find a way to make shots if the Commodores are to end their four game losing skid. Against Seton Hall it was the three-point shot that doomed the ‘Dores, especially in a second half where Vandy was a miserable 20.7 percent from the field. That output took the Commodores overall shooting percentage for the game down to under 34 percent.
In the second half of its most recent game, the Commodores shooters combined to miss all 12 three-point attempts they took in the second half. It didn’t matter if the shot was open – which was pretty rare – of contested, nothing would fall. Vandy has to shoot the three well to win, if nothing else because of the sheer volume of long balls that they put up on a nightly basis..
Help Jeff Roberson
The Commodores have to find a way to help Jeff Roberson. The forward had 20 points and 13 rebounds against Seton Hall, good for his fourth double-double of the season. Roberson is an all effort player, one that can make something happen whenever he gets the ball, but is he is the only player scoring at any kind of rate, then a defense will find a way to take him out of the game.
This is what happened against Seton Hall as the Commodores went almost 13 minutes without a basket. They did this at a crucial stage in the game too – inside the final five minutes of the first half and over eight minutes into the second – allowing the Pirates to pull ahead. College basketball is too difficult to survive long scoreless streaks and even a team like Radford will prove to be a problem if Vandy cannot score.
Stop Carlik Jones
It seems like every school that Vandy has faced this season has a legitimate go to scoring threat. Radford is no exception and for the Highlanders that player is freshman guard Carlik Jones.
Jones averages over 12 points per game and he has done some of his best work against the bigger name schools on the Radford schedule. He scored 19 in the Highlanders 10 point loss to Ohio State, taking on a major conference opponent with bigger and better players, keeping his squad in the game. Jones has had a couple of duds along the way, but he is averaging 17 points over his last two outings and is a player that needs to be watched.