Things are about the change dramatically for the Commodores. After successfully preparing for Missouri's up-tempo style of play, DePaul will try to bring things to a screeching halt.
Do you remember Sesame Street's "One of These Things is Not Like the Other Things?" Let's take a look at the amount of points that the Tennessee Vols have scored this season: 83, 124, 105, 57, 72, 86, 78. In case you haven't figured it out yet, the DePaul Blue Demons held the Vols to a season-low 57 points. It was due to a combination of great defense and slowing the game down.
Joe "The Voice of the Commodores" Fisher said that Vanderbilt will not play consecutive games this season with opponents that vary as much as Missouri and DePaul.
A perfect example is the drastic playtime difference for Festus Ezeli. Anchor of Gold posted Coach Stallings quote about their decision not to play Festus in the Missouri game: "The most enthusiastic guy in that locker room right now is Fes," Stallings said. "He's such a great teammate. It just wasn't a great game for him. Steve's (Tchiengang) been playing good in practice and this was a better game for Steve than it was for Fes. Saturday (against DePaul) will probably be a better game for Fes. It's nice to have some bodies and some options. It's nice to have guys that buy into the team concept and accept it. So, it was just my decision. Fes is fine and you'll see him on Saturday."
The concept here is that you'll likely see a lot of A.J. Ogilvy and Festus on the court at the same time. DePaul is 5-1, but hasn't really beaten anyone to brag about. Their completed schedule is similar to the one that Vanderbilt will be playing during the Christmas break.
I think this is a huge game for Brad Tinsley. With the confidence of John Jenkins growing from game to game, I think Tinsley is in danger of losing some minutes. Even though Vandy will try to press and speed up the game, expect to see a lot of half-court sets. With an emphasis on feeding the ball into the paint, the ensuing double teams should free up our guards for a lot of open looks. Tinsley has really struggled as of late. He missed a lot of wide open looks against Missouri, and this is the kind of game that could really build his confidence. If he can hit a couple early 3's, we'll be in great shape.
Maybe I'm feeling a little too optimistic, but after the Missouri game I think we should be fine on Saturday. My only fear is that we play like we did against Cincinnati. If DePaul comes out and shows us some Big East hospitality, we may begin to force things like we did in Maui. In the end, we're a better team and should show it on our home court.
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