Commodores look to avoid winless spell in Brooklyn vs. Seton Hall


The Vanderbilt Commodores beat Austin Peay State University on Friday, November 10th, 2017. Photo by Brent Szklaruk

Cutler Klein, Sports Editor

After a Thanksgiving Day slaughtering at the hands of the Virginia Cavaliers, the Vanderbilt Commodores will be looking to salvage their trip to Brooklyn when they take on the No. 20 Seton Hall Pirates in the third-place game of the NIT Tip-Off at Barclays Center on Friday night.

Vanderbilt was absolutely manhandled by Virginia 68-42 on Thursday, shooting just 23.1% from the field in the process. Guard Kyle Guy led the Cavaliers with 18 points, while forward Isaiah Wilkins racked up four blocks.

Seton Hall is coming off of a tough 75-74 loss to Rhode Island in the nightcap of Thursday’s action.

Here’s all you need to know ahead of Friday’s late-night showdown.

The Basics

Time: 8:45 CT

Place: Barclays Center, New York


Matchups to Watch

Seton Hall in the paint vs. Vanderbilt on the perimeter

Vanderbilt couldn’t do anything right on Thursday against Virginia, but they were especially bad in the paint. Virginia outrebounded Vanderbilt 42 to 36 and scored 18 points in the paint, compared to 12 by Vanderbilt. The Cavaliers also picked up seven points on second-chance opportunities following offensive boards.

They’re not going to have a much better time the paint against Seton Hall. Their starting big man, Angel Delgado, led the country in rebounds and offensive rebounds last season. On Thursday night against Rhode Island, Delgado put up 18 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Centers Djery Baptiste and Ejike Obinna will have their hands full on the blocks.

While the battle on the boards will likely be a losing one, Vanderbilt can compensate with a strong day on the perimeter. The Commodores went 4 for 18 from long-range against Virginia, and they will need to improve significantly in that category to be able to stay in this game. If Vanderbilt can have a successful day from beyond the three-point line, they can counter Seton Hall’s advantage in the front court.

Vanderbilt vs. Their own intensity

Virginia was one of the top defensive teams in the country, so Vanderbilt needed to get them off-guard and beat them before they could get set on defense.

They did the exact opposite.

Most of Vanderbilt’s possessions started slowly with the point guard strolling over the half-court line with the ball. They never played very up-tempo in transition and never got Virginia on their heels defensively. The Commodores will be facing yet another tough defensive test, so they’ll need to play with plenty of intensity in order to throw the Pirates off-guard.

Plain and simple, they need to play like they want to be there.

Also, when you have a point guard that can do this, why not run the ball in transition?

Stat Nuggets/Fun Facts

-To find a worse Vanderbilt shooting performance than their 23.1% shooting against Virginia on Thursday, you have to go back to five years to the day to Vanderbilt’s 23.0% shooting in a 50-33 loss to Marist on November 23, 2012. Vanderbilt would go on to shoot below 30% from the field twice more in that season

-Vanderbilt will look to get back to an even .500 record at Barclays Center with this game against Seton Hall, as they are currently 1-3 dating back to the 2014 Barclays Center Classic

-Seton Hall is located in South Orange, New Jersey, hometown of famed actor Zach Braff and current hometown of ESPN analyst Chris Broussard

The Hustler will be back at Barclays Center for Vanderbilt’s final game in Brooklyn on Friday night.