Vanderbilt must fight 'let-down' trend against LSU

Friday, February 12, 2010 at 12:52am

Shortly before the start of Thursday’s practice, coach Kevin Stallings made it clear he planned to look closely at the heads of his players for any possible signs of swelling in the wake of Tuesday’s 90-71 victory over Tennessee.

“I haven’t seen them since the game the other night,” Stallings said. “We were off (Wednesday). If there was ever an opportunity for a hangover, it would be right now. Everybody’s probably been telling them how great they are for the last day and a half.

“But, if we were that great we wouldn’t have gotten beat last Saturday (at Georgia). So we don’t have to remember that far back to when we last got beat.”

If they do look back a little farther, though, to some other landmark win in recent seasons, they’ll notice a disturbing trend.

Last season’s victory over Kentucky on Feb. 17 was followed by a pair of defeats — at Florida and at Georgia. In 2007-08, the last time before this week the Commodores beat the Volunteers they were upended by Arkansas the next time out.

“I feel like we get over a loss pretty quick, and we get over a win pretty quick too,” sophomore forward Jeffery Taylor said. “We’re not going to come out with a bad attitude, We’re going to practice hard for these next two days and then hopefully put forth a great effort against LSU (on Saturday).”

Statistically speaking, the Tigers, who visit Memorial Gymnasium (12:30 p.m., SEC Network) don’t look like much competition. At 0-10 (9-15 overall) they are the only SEC team without a victory in conference play. They are last in the conference in scoring offense, field goal percentage and 3-point percentage. They also have the fewest steals of any team in the conference.

Then again, Georgia had lost 13 of its previous 14 when it dumped Vanderbilt last season. The previous season, Arkansas had lost four of five when it crushed the Commodores’ momentum after a victory over UT.

Plus, in addition to the possibility to revel too long in the past, there also is the temptation for the Commodores to look ahead. Next Thursday they play at Ole Miss, which has the best overall record in the Western Division, and then a week from Saturday they play at home against Kentucky, the only conference team other than Georgia to defeat them this season.

“I just don’t think our guys are of that mindset,” Stallings said. “People can say, ‘Well, what happened at Georgia?’ Georgia outplayed us. They didn’t play any harder than we did, they played better.

“… We really haven’t let down in any loss this year. We got physically kicked a couple times, … but I don’t think this group has let down and failed to show for a game this season.”

This would not be a good time to start.

Briefly

• Freshman guard John Jenkins was out of the hospital Thursday after being treated for a sever stomach virus, which caused him to miss the victory against Tennessee.

He was not expected to practice Wednesday, and Stallings said it was “unlikely” he would play against LSU.

“I think the goal is maybe to see if he can do some shooting (Friday),” Stallings said.

2 Comments on this post:

By: joe41 on 2/12/10 at 11:50

I agree these are always danger games. But this one is at home so we should come out ready to play. Next week will be a tough week so we need to get "fired up" about beating LSU>
Joe

By: VanDSIRROM on 2/13/10 at 7:41

Today's game will be a strong indicator of just how far VU may go in the Big Dance.

If Vanderbilt comes out strong and takes control of the game from the outset--like the most recent win against ut--and maintains that control 'til the end, then they may be--MAY be--a final 4 team.

However, if they play without enthusiasm and win by less than 10, then at best they may be only a sweet 16 team.

My guess is Vanderbilt by 20+ after controlling the game from the beginning.

Who would have predicted they'd beat ut like a drum without John Jenkins?