Dawgs lose on the road 77-66 to Vandy. While it was an eleven point loss, it was more like a four or five point game that free throws made into a bigger win. Vandy definitely was rattled by the Dawgs ability to stop the inside game and by Caldwell-Pope's shooting. It was good to see Coach Fox's substitutions and him playing guys that are hot instead of worrying about guys fouling out. Free throws are still a concern, both in numbers missed and the numbers the other team are taking. Not counting the 8 attempts during the last minute or so, Vandy still had 15+ more attempts than Georgia. Georgia shot 80% on 20 attempts, so that part of the misery that was the Florida game was much, much better.
Not saying it was a moral victory, but I have to say this game was the best effort from the team from start to finish against a quality opponent we've seen all season. We play this way during every game, we'll sneak up on someone we have no business beating. We almost did it yesterday. I'll not get into the officiating (but boy, could I), but it was interesting to see Vandy's Taylor push his luck with the officials and get T-ed up at home.
This is partially the team I'd hope we'd see when we hired Mark Fox: Playing hard from whistle to horn, making good decisions with the ball, working the hot hand, and making the other team figure out what to take away. Right now, we have a lot of growing to do before we will be a legitimate night in and night out threat to the big boys. We need to develop more of an offensive identity, even if it is a three point shooting team. However, if we continue to make the big boys earn their wins, get better every game and figure out a way to overcome some talent differential, and we'd have reason to look forward. It won't hurt to get Marcus Thornton back soon.
Most importantly, we can't lay anymore steaming turds like we did in Gainesville Tuesday night. That just can't happen again.
Dawgs take on a very hot Tennessee squad at home Wednesday night at 8pm on the SEC network. We need a huge crowd, as this is a nearly must win if we have any hope of doing anything other than finishing the season just under .500.