SEC Morning Five: 12.22.11 Edition

Posted by Brian Joyce on December 22nd, 2011

  1. Before Vanderbilt‘s much needed 31-point victory over Lafayette the Commodores were coming off a bad loss to Indiana State. Just how bad? Vanderbilt’s offense was putrid as you can see from these statistics. They scored just 0.83 points per possession, their worst offensive output of the year (tied with Cleveland State game). It was also the worst field goal percentage and three point percentage that Vanderbilt has had since the Cleveland State game at the beginning of the year. How much better did the Commodores play on Wednesday night against Lafayette? A lot better. Sharp shooter John Jenkins scored just 11 points (3-10 FG) against Indiana State, but rebounded against the Leopards for 27 points (9-12 FG). That is more along the lines of what Vanderbilt will need from Jenkins to continue its winning ways.
  2. Terrence Jones has not lived up to his preseason hype so far this year. The preseason All-American came back to Kentucky this year to improve his NBA draft status and maybe even win a championship for his Wildcats. Both remain to be seen, but at this point it seems he is more likely to get the latter. Jones is averaging 12.4 points and 6.2 rebounds on 48.4% shooting from the field. Those are not the All-American numbers that were expected from him this year. Jones missed Kentucky’s last game against Samford and is likely to miss today’s game with Loyola. It will be interesting to keep an eye on Jones’ body language even more than his play. Jones looked frustrated and disinterested in a loss to Indiana last week, but he has vowed to silence his critics with positive play once he returns.
  3. Tennessee broke out of an early season slump, and they did it the old fashioned way–with tough, hard-nosed defense. Cuonzo Martin‘s club forced North Carolina-Asheville into nine first half turnovers, but were down 35-32 going into the locker room. The Volunteers held the Bulldogs to 37.5% shooting in the second half to eventually secure the victory. Tennessee appears to have more of a scoring by committee approach as the top three scorers on the team are separated by 0.6 points per game. The top scorer in the UNC-Asheville game was  Renaldo Woolridge,  who had a  career-high 17 points. Tennessee needed this win after the Vols had lost their previous four games and six of their last seven.
  4. Free throw shooting has been a major factor in determining how Arkansas has done this season. In the Hogs 71-57 victory over Eastern Kentucky, they were 17-18 from the free throw stripe in the first half and finished  29-35 for 82.9% on the night. This was drastically different from the previous game where Arkansas struggled from the line, shooting 11-23 (47.8%). Arkansas narrowly won that game, escaping with a 62-55 win over Southeastern Louisiana. Coach Mike Anderson has required the Razorbacks to shoot 500 free throws a week, and it looks like the hard work may be paying off.
  5. Trever Releford willed the unranked Alabama Crimson Tide to victory over the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Wednesday night. Releford scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half while the Tide played without forward JaMychal Green. Three-point shooting had been the achilles heel for Alabama, and the Tide hit six of nine three pointers in the first half (7-15 3FG overall). The 46.7% three-point shooting accuracy was the Tide’s best all season. Several freshmen got additional playing time with Green out of the lineup, which is a good sign that Alabama was still able to secure the victory.
Brian Joyce (333 Posts)

Brian Joyce is an advanced metrics enthusiast, college hoops junkie, and writer for the SEC basketball microsite for Rush the Court.

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