Not a good day for the Rebels in Nashville, but a few thought here.
When it was a 19-point deficit in each half, they kept playing. Good sign.
Terrico White is a player and brings his game every time out. Another good sign.
If I’m missing other good signs from a 71-61 loss post them below.
I think Ole Miss has improved and is ahead of where I thought they’d be following Chris Warren’s injury. Terrico White is a rising star, but had Warren remained healthy, White probably wouldn’t be as developed as he is now, and therefore wouldn’t be making the “wow” plays as often as he does.
White’s 3-point shooting is vastly improved from December, which, he says, comes from a minor technique adjustment that has him keeping his hips straight.
Yesterday the Rebels were unable to figure out Vanderbilt’s post defense and couldn’t get anything done inside. There was no Malcolm White, no Zach Graham penetration. You can’t live that way. Can’t be a totally 1-dimensional perimeter team.
Someone posted yesterday that David Huertas is a second-half guy. I think that’s true most of the time. Huertas, is at least a “one-half” guy. He’s usually going to get it done in either half.
Had he been on in the first half like he was in the first, the deficit wouldn’t have been a problem in the final 20 minutes. Yes, the Rebels got close in the second half, but when you’re battling back from 19 down, every possession becomes critical. They got to the seven-point mark twice and hit a wall.
Then it became an issue of having to press late in the game, and they weren’t very good on the press in the back half. The rotations were late, thus the long passes and layups by Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt’s also got some nice young athletes. The point guard Tinsley hurt the Rebels in the first half, and the backup shooting guard Goulbourne hurt them in the second half. Both are freshman.
Not a bad rebounding effort, but the zone defense, that was good to Ole Miss in the three-game win streak, was much less so this time. Vanderbilt crisply passed the ball around the perimeter until finding an open shooter.
It was a frustrating day for a team that now expects to compete and win. Malcolm White left the floor shouting at assistant coach Owen Miller. Don’t know what that was all about, because White snubbed us with a no comment when he was leaving for the bus. I don’t think he actually said no comment, but he gave us some form of negative non-verbal communication. Didn’t see Miller. I don’t think the argument was major.