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UT-Vandy Postgame

20/61 - 33%
Field Goals
19/49 - 39%
7/26 - 27%
3-Point FGs
9/24 - 38%
22/32 - 69%
Free Throws
25/37 - 68%
38 (11/27)
Rebounds (Off-Def)
33 (4/29)
Total Fouls
7 / 5
11 / 7
Bench Points
Second Chance Points

In a way, there's not a whole lot to write about. The loss is easy to explain: poor shooting. You simply can't expect to win when shooting 33% from the floor - unless the other team's shooting just as poorly (they weren't quite that bad). Vanderbilt played very effective defense - running a 3-2 when Lofton was out and playing man-to-man when he was in. Toward the end, Vandy also did a good job of keeping the ball in the hands of their great free-throw shooters, making our late fouls killers.

Perhaps UT was somewhat fatigued from the Memphis game. With only Sunday and Monday to turn around and take a road trip to a really screwy court, there wasn't much time to refocus, especially when the team got in late to K'ville on Sunday to a crowd of jazzed-up students. Perhaps. That still doesn't change the loss, and that is certainly not the kind of excuse-making Pearl will be doing with the team when they meet again for practice.

Positives from the game. The team played their heart out in Nashville. Part of the reason for so many fouls was because of tight officiating (I will not judge the officiating here). Part of the reason was a few late fouls to preserve the clock (sorta). But a part of the large number of fouls was the effort the team was putting forth on defense. Taking chances on defense will draw fouls, and the team took their shots. The other major positive to take was Lofton. After being smothered in Memphis, he got some open looks and went 6/15 from 3-point land. Also, Lofton went over 2,000 points for his Tennessee career - a big deal because it's a lot of points and we love big round numbers. Lofton now stands at 408 3-pointers in his career and only needs 2 to own 4th place all-time. While Lofton obviously would trade all those threes for the win, it's still a remarkable achievement and props to him for it.

I hesitate adding this paragraph for fear of sounding like sour grapes, but I have no problem with Vandy and I hope they make a deep run in the tournament as well. But Vandy has reasons for concern. As noted by wvvol during the live game discussion, Vandy has played 18 home games of their 27 total games. Further inspection reveals that 13 of the first 16 were at home, with the three road games at Toledo, Butler, and DePaul. The last two were overtime wins. Then they went on a stretch of 4 road games in 5 total games - losing all 4 road games. To say that Vandy has a home court advantage is an exercise in obviousness. To say that they rely on that advantage also cannot be refuted. Unfortunately, the tournament will not be on their court. When the tournament begins, will they struggle and fall out early, or will they learn to handle the road? As I said, I have no problem with Vandy, and props to them for winning an ugly, wild game. But that's a legitimate concern going forward.

On to Kentucky. This game is likely for the Eastern division. Gee, that sounds familiar from somewhere...