It was bad enough to give up 36 points to Clarke, but we gave up 20 points to a scrub who had 17 points on the year. Combined. Not a 17 point average, 17 TOTAL POINTS.
I’m not posting this on Anchor of Gold, because I don’t want to kick off in a swirl of negativity, but there are some things that have to be said and I’m going to say them now:
1) It’s time to consider the possibility that Jeffery Taylor isn’t going to happen. The only starter not to win SEC Player of the Week yet is showing no reason he should; the scoring load in conference play is being shouldered by Jenkins and Ezili. Taylor isn’t playing like the best player in the league; he’s not even the best player on his own team and he may not be the best player at his position. He needs to step up and lead this team and it isn’t happening.
2) Our guards can’t defend. Twice now we’ve given up ridiculous career nights to guys who should never have filled up the basket like that. Jenkins, Tinsley, Fuller – they aren’t slowing guys down, let alone stopping them.
3) I shudder to think where this team would be without Festus Ezili.
4) We lack adaptability. Against St. Mary’s and Mississippi State, we broke out the press and made it work – but not this weekend. We were able to run and gun a little better last week, but it didn’t happen today. If the other defense isn’t giving in to our strengths, we don’t seem to be able to play to their weaknesses and exploit them. And a lot of that goes to…
5) INJURY. This team’s strength was supposed to be a nine-man rotation and the ability to run teams into the ground with our depth. Instead, Andre Walker has played one game since December 1, and Steve Tcheingeng hasn’t played double-digit minutes since his foot injury. And then, today, Lance Golbourne goes down and doesn’t return, finishing with no points at all. Suddenly, we’re looking at a road game with a team that’s effectively six deep – of which two freshmen. Our roster of healthy regular upperclassmen is Jenkins, Ezili, Tinsley, and Taylor – and we’ve already established that Taylor isn’t doing what was expected of him.
This is as bad a situation for Vanderbilt as can be imagined. We are underachieving in a big way – the talent this team possesses isn’t showing up in the results on the court. The way they fall behind, the way they go cold at the end of the first half, the way they fumble away seemingly insurmountable leads – something’s wrong with this team from the ground up. And the time to fix it is running out.