The Commodores actually played well at times against a red-hot Auburn team on Saturday. The problem was that the ‘Dores just couldn’t match Auburn’s scoring pace in the Tigers 93-81 win. Next up for Vandy is a date with Georgia on Wednesday night.
Here are the three keys to this one:
Defend the three-point shot better
So it goes without saying here that Georgia is not going to come into Nashville and shoot the three-point shot at the same clip that Auburn did on Saturday. The Tigers have been a hot-shooting team from downtown all year, but even by their standards, the shooting clinic they put on against Vanderbilt was something special. How else to explain a barrage of shots that saw the No. 11 Tigers hit 17 threes, a new season-high.
The Tigers missed just none three-point attempts. This means that they shot an absurd 65.4 percent from behind the arc. No matter who you play, a shooting performance like that is going to make it hard to win the game. The Vandy perimeter defense needs to find a way to step out a half step quicker to shooters or it will be bad news against the Bulldogs.
Shoot the three-point shot about the same
The craziest aspect of the Auburn game is that the Commodores were also shooting the three-pointer at a more than steady rate. Vanderbilt went 10-of-19 from behind the arc, with Jeff Roberson personally accounting for half of those three-point makes as he went 5-of-9 personally. With Matthew Fisher-Davis out of the lineup – and thus the Commodores missing their best spot up shooter – this is an even more impressive mark.
Now it is up to Vanderbilt to keep that free-scoring ability from downtown going while closing the door more effectively on defense. If Vandy makes over 50 percent of its three-pointers against Georgia then you would have to expect the ‘Dores to have a big chance to take the win.
Stop the supply Yante Maten
Georgia power forward Yante Maten is about as good as they come in the SEC. The Bulldogs best player averaged 19.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game and – almost exclusively – he is the reason that Georgia wins games.
The way to stop Georgia is to stop the component parts that make Maten great. Specifically, the way to win is to take the Bulldogs other factors out of the game, pressuring their guards so that Maten is deprived of the ball in good positions to score around the rim. The Commodores have issues inside that are well publicized, so the way to beat Georgia is to simply not let Maten get the ball near the hoop because if he does it is hard to see the Vandy bigs putting up too much of a fight.