Thursday, November 22, 2012

Davidson--Vanderbilt Preview

The Wildcats look to recover from consecutive losses when they play Vandy this afternoon in the Old Spice Classic at the Mouse near Orlando.  Davidson has lost to the 'Dores in each of the last two seasons and has lost the first two DI games of the year (@New Mexico and @ UW-Milwaukee).  The 'Cats were unable to hold a big lead at New Mexico and lost down the stretch after leading by as many as 7 at UWM.

Two years ago in Nashville, Vandy completely dominated in every possible way.  Davidson was too weak, too slow, too small, and too timid to compete.  The only positives from the game were that we got to see the potential of Chris Czerapowicz as a shooter and Jake Cohen got a strong dose of motivation to begin the summer weight-lifting program that made such a difference in his play as a junior.

Last year in Belk Arena, Vandy jumped out to a big lead as their guards were able to penetrate at will.  On one memorable play, Vandy's Jeff Taylor toyed with his DC defender by beating him to the right and then beating him to the left before scoring easily.  Taylor finished the night with 30 and his running mate at guard, John Jenkins, added 22.  Fortunately for the Cats, Vandy has a habit the last few seasons of collapsing at crunch time.  DeMon Brooks started a 2d half surge with some amazing moves inside for scores and Vandy decided to stop giving the ball to Taylor to penetrate. The big lead melted down to a one possession game in the final minute, but Vanderbilt managed to hang on for a 4 point win, 87-83. Brooks had 24 and served notice that he could be an offensive force inside and out against quality BCS defenders.

This year, Vandy is young and inexperienced due to the loss of all five starters.  They are reeling from a beatdown at Oregon.  Coach Kevin Stallings:
“We just have to get better at everything,” Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. “Our post play in the game the other night was really bad. I mean, just from top to bottom — offensively, defensively, we fouled too much, we didn’t get picked up in transition, we made careless turnovers, we took bad shots. We just did a lot of things you do when you play poorly.
“It’s a process. These guys are young and eager and they want to do well, but sometimes they don’t know what to do or they don’t do the right thing.

Davidson has all of its top 8 players returning. Vegas has Davidson as a four point favorite.   If the Cats finally play up to their veteran capabilities for the first time this year, they should win comfortably.  Game is at 2 pm on ESPN2.

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