A game like tonight has to examined in context. If you only look at tonight's game as a single entity, everything seems perfect. I'm not sure if all is well, but Vanderbilt's 99-59 win over Mercer answered a number of questions that Commodore fans have carried with them all season.
When Is Jermaine Beal Going to Get out of His Funk?
Beal answered with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including three baskets from behind the arc. He also dished out six assists while only committing two turnovers in 27 minutes. Beal also got after it on the defensive end, not letting Mercer get comfortable all night.
How Did John Jenkins Average 42-Points a Game in High School?
We had seen flashes of brilliance from the freshman, but he was really on display tonight. He scored a team-high 17 points in only 19 minutes on the floor. He was 4-of-6 on three-pointers, and seemed more active on the defensive end. Next time you're at a game, be sure to watch him shoot in pre-game. I don't see how he would ever lose a game of H-O-R-S-E.
Is Brad Tinsley Regressing in His Second Year Under Coach Stallings?
Didn't look like it tonight. He finally looked like the shooter we thought he was. He scored 14 and a very efficient 5-of-7 shooting. My over/under for times he will get ripped by Stallings per game is at 1.5. I have no evidence in the slightest to support this, but my gut tells me that Tinsley will transfer after this season.
Maybe they get along great, but it appears that a bit of Stallings dies every time Tinsley turns the ball over. If you're watching from Memorial, please look at coach every time Brad does something wrong. It's worth the price of admission.
I don't mean to sound like Debbie Downer, but Vanderbilt's last two games don't prove a lot since they have been against mediocre talent. However, I do think tonight's game goes a long way to help the team's confidence. So does the man in charge:
“We were, as a staff, desperately hoping for a performance like this—privately—because it’s good for those guys to go in [to the break] feeling what they felt tonight, seeing what they saw from themselves and their teammates tonight,” Stallings said (Nashville City Paper ).
Vanderbilt beat an over-matched squad by 40 points. Well, Florida State beat the same Mercer team by 39 . The win doesn't alleviate questions about how the team responds to physical play (Cincinnati), or their composure in a hostile environment (Illinois).
The game to watch will be against Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles are 8-1 on the season, and only lost by two at No. 21 Mississippi. That will be the 'Dores only test until Florida comes calling on Jan. 9.
Vanderbilt took care of business tonight. I only hope it keeps it it up when the talent level of its opponents climbs again.