Thursday, January 15, 2009

Getting defensive

Defense was once again the headline for the Commodores' 50-40 victory over Georgia Wednesday night at Memorial Gym.

Vanderbilt limited the Bulldogs to 33 percent shooting and only allowed two free-throw attempts the entire game (which didn't occur until the 3:56 mark of the second half). The Commodores also blocked seven shots and forced 20 turnovers. Overall, it was Georgia's seventh lowest-scoring output since 1960.

When you think about it, the Commodores' performance on Wednesday was nothing out of the ordinary. Check out these statistics for the 2008-09 season:

*The Commodores lead the SEC in scoring defense (58.0 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (.359) and are first in the nation in FG% defense in the NCAA rankings.

*Vanderbilt has now held its opponents to less than 35.5% FG shooting in eight games this year.

*Only three opponents (VCU, UIC, Kentucky) have shot higher than 40% in a game.

*Vanderbilt has only allowed two opponents, UIC and Kentucky, to score 70 points or more.

Impressive numbers indeed. So what makes Vanderbilt's defense so successful? Just ask Georgia head coach Dennis Felton.

"I think one of the main reasons is because they're huge. They're just so big. They've got not only big post players, but big guards. Their wings are 6'8 and long and athletic, their point guard (Beal) is 6'3 and big and strong. They just do a really good job of staying right in front of you, making it hard to penetrate the paint."

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