Friday, March 21, 2008

Live-blogging from Tampa: Vandy-Siena

Good evening everyone,

It's been a wild day here in Tampa, to say the least. The Commodores look to become the first favorite to win at the St. Pete Times Forum. The atmosphere tonight doesn't compare to the afternoon session as the seats are half-full (at best). Anyways, we're moments away from tip-off so let's get going. Make sure to hit that refresh button and feel free to leave comments/questions at the bottom.

18:55: Siena jumps out to an early 5-0 lead, but there's no need to panic.

18:18: We're right in front of the Siena cheering section, which is going to be rough.

17:50: Vandy lucked out early as A.J. Ogilvy very easily could have been called for his second foul. Instead, it was charged to Alex Gordon.

17:30: Ross Neltner came to play early. He threw down a nasty dunk off a nice feed from Ogilvy and then intercepted a pass on the other end.

15:16: It's 10-6 Siena early. Way too early to be worried, however, Siena appears to be the aggressor early on. On another note, the Vandy crowd has been dead thus far.

14:00: In response to Allison's comment, Vandy did not seem too excited before the game and still has not picked up its intensity. Siena is the hungrier, more passionate team, while the Commodores look somewhat timid and hesitant. Keep in mind that this is relatively common in first-round games. The hope (for Vandy fans, at least) is that the Commodores' superior talent ultimately proves to be too much for the scrappy Saints.

10:15: Don't look now but it's 26-13 Siena and Vandy coach Kevin Stallings just called a timeout. Jermaine Beal slammed the ball in frustration and the Commodores' body language is awful. It will be interesting to see how they respond coming out of this huddle.

8:40: Stallings is really harping on his team to defend, but nothing seems to be working. 30-15 Siena.

7:13: The fans are trying to get the Commodores back into the game, and it seems to be working. They got a stop on the defensive end and then Alex Gordon just buried a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 11.

6:09: JAMIE GRAHAM! On his first play of the game, the freshman strips the ball from Ronald Moore and takes it in for a lay-up. It is refreshing to watch Graham play defense and perhaps it's the play that gets Vandy going...

4:30: Graham just forced another turnover and is trying to get the rest of his teammates fired up.

3:47: Dear Jamie Graham,

I understand you came to Vanderbilt to play football and want to honor your commitment to coach Bobby Johnson and the rest of the guys. But, I think it would be in your best interest (as well as ours) to consider playing basketball year-round for the Commodores. You're already our best defender and with a little more practice, the sky's the limit. I'm aware you're a pretty good cornerback and kick returner, but I'm also aware basketball's your true love. Just think about it.


2:00: The Vandy crowd is on its feet as the Dores cut the lead to nine. Can the Dores finish the half strong?

0:40: Just saw your post. I'll be going as fast as I can. It's 43-34 Siena.

0:00: Tay Fisher (13 points) hit a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to give the Saints a 46-34 halftime lead. The Cinderella continues to have success here at the St. Pete Times Forum.

HALFTIME: Siena 46 Vandy 34

Looks like Seth Davis and the rest of those Vandy haters may have been on to something. The Commodores have not been able to defend for much of this season and the first half was no different. There is absolutely no reason any team, let alone Siena, should be able to score 46 points in 20 minutes.

Ultimately, it comes down to attitude and effort, and the Saints wanted it more. Graham gave the Commodores a lift, but he can't bring them back by himself. I've yet to see anyone (ideally a senior) take charge on the floor and be vocal. Siena came out punching and Vandy seems to be content taking it.

A few halftime stats worth noting:

Siena: 16-for-27 (59 percent) from the field, including 7-for-13 from 3-point range
Vandy: 14-for-27 from the field, including 2-for-7 from 3-point range
Senior guard Tay Fisher: 13 points (4-for-4 from downtown)
Vandy swingman Shan Foster: 11 points (5-for-9), 4 rebounds

We've already witnessed two upsets here today, and the only way we won't see a third is if the Commodores commit to the defensive end. The reason I'm concerned is that I just don't think Vandy has the personnel to be able to defend at a high level. They're able to mask that deficiency at home because of the crowd, but on road and neutral sites where they have to create their own energy, it's proven to be difficult.

With that said, I'm not ready to rule out these Commodores just yet. As always, the first four minutes are crucial. On another note, I appreciate the comments. Here's to a good second half everyone...

18:10: Siena 48 Vandy 36. Vandy is getting the ball inside to Ogilvy, which is smart, but it can't afford to trade baskets.

16:30: Siena 48 Vandy 38 after an Ogilvy dunk. (Thanks for the post, Justin. The car was great. I appreciate buddy! Are you around during the day tomorrow?)

15:50: Vandy trails by 10. I think it's time for Shan Foster to go off, Mississippi State style.

14:05: Keegan Bell just buried a 3-pointer from the corner to cut the lead to nine.

13:19: Bell followed that up with a pretty turnaround jumper and it's 50-43. Let's get it.

12:35: Hasbrouck just converted an "and-one" and the lead is back up to 10.

12:28: Kevin Stallings just got called for a technical foul for mouthing off to the refs. From across the court it seemed as though he was asking for it by using the expression "that's bullshit." Siena made both free throws. At this stage in the game, that's inexcusable. Stallings should know better, even if the call was awful.

11:58: It's 58-45 Siena.

11:16: 58-47. Still plenty of time, but Vandy's got to get going soon. Back to the technical: Allison, I don't think Stallings got it on purpose, but from my angle, it seemed as though he was asking for it. Stallings is clearly frustrated, but has to exhibit more restraint than that. Those two two points could be huge.

10:10: 63-49 Siena. Vandy needs to get going in a hurry...Panic looks to be setting in as the Siena crowd gets louder.

8:50: A..J. Ogilvy has 16 points to keep the Commodores in it. They're down 12 after Ogilvy's basket.

7:40: 65-51. Not looking good, my friends.

7:15: Dear Seniors,

This is it. Possibly the last seven minutes of your careers. Don't leave with regrets. Leave everything you have on the floor and if it's not good enough, so be it. At least you know you gave it your best shot. Win or lose, it's been a great four years.


6:45: At least Ogilvy came to play. 67-53 Siena.

6:00: Jamie Graham put-back makes it 67-55 (It's all about effort!)

4:45: Vandy down 14...Somewhere Seth Davis is laughing.

3:58: 69-55. Barring some sort of miracle, it's all over. I'm speechless.

3:46: Gordon 3-pointer makes it 69-58.

3:00: 69-60. Down nine, three to go. N.C. State 2004 anyone?

2:47: 71-60 Siena.

2:30: 73-60.

2:10: The facial expressions say it all. The Commodores can't believe it...Siena 75-60.

1:39: Well, the third double-digit seed has won here at the St. Pete Times Forum. Sophomore guard Ronald Moore is soaking it all in. As tough as this loss is for Vandy fans to take, you have to appreciate the underdog.

1:00: Stallings pulled his three main seniors: Alex Gordon, Shan Foster and Ross Neltner. Foster has his head in his towel. Not how they wanted to end their careers obviously, but they shouldn't let this loss determine how they're defined.

FINAL: Siena 82 Vandy 63
Thanks for reading everyone. I'll be back with some closing thoughts following the press conference. The Day of the Cinderella continues...


Allison said...

Hey Jarred! Sienna looks so fast and energetic and they are really good about getting their hands in the passing lane. Did Vandy seem fired up before the game?

Allison said...

Wow- Graham has single-handedly changed the game! Hope it sticks!

Anonymous said...

Hey, this is Ted from Chicago. Unfortunately, the UNC game is on TV here. And the VU web site's link for the radio broadcast directs you to the NCAA March Madness site. Yikes! Can you provide more frequent updates, please? I'd appreciate it!

Allison said...

Ted, you can watch all the games live on for free!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jared for the kind post. Just do the best you can. That's all I ask for the basketball team.

I feel this game will come down to the final minute. Gonna be a nail biter.

Anonymous said...

Jarred, this is Ted again. Thanks for the nice post. Like I posted before, just do the best you can. I'm very appreciative of your fine efforts!

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the update regarding However, I do not have broadband web access. Only dial-up.

Chip Robie said...


I think i'd rather be in your shoes with the option to pull the plug on the internet.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jarred,

How did my car work for the trip?

P.S. Im an hour away from Tampa!


Anonymous said...

Ted from Chicago again. Nice spark provided by Keegan Bell. He's quite creative. This game is gonna go down to the wire (yes, like some of our other games).

Allison said...

TV commentators are making it seem like Stallings got the T on purpose? What do you think Jarred?

Chip Robie said...

I think we need to issue a press release saying how sorry we are for misleading so many people...

Anonymous said...

J-Rod, I'm all alone in the suite watching on the beautiful Insig. The games in Tampa have been wild today. Unfortunately, it looks like we'll be anothere victim. I think Vandy has had a tough time time dealing with the spped and quickness of the young Saints, as well as some of their ridiculously hot shooters. We never looked like we got up for the game. Anyways, enjoy Baigma, come back soon!

Allison said...

great job blogging jarred! it was really cool reading your perspective while watching the game. so sad for the dores, especially shan.

Anonymous said...

sorry america for an awful performance.

Chip Robie said...

So does this mean Ogilvy bolts to the pros or stays for another year?

Aram Hanessian said...

Ogilvy isn't going anywhere and I don't think this game had much to do with that. Australians don't really leave real early (not just Bogut, Bruce coulda gone to play in Europe) and he's really not ready, I think he'll be here at least one if not two more years.

Will Gibbons said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Will Gibbons said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Will Gibbons said...

Did anyone else notice Shan wasn't moving without the ball as well as he has in some games, or as well as the guys he was guarding for that matter? He had Jimmy Dykes loving his off the ball movement against Kentucky and Tennessee, but he was probably disappointed if he watched tonight.
And for a guy whose dribble drive is not at the level of Derrick Byars, for example, Foster needed to be running around like Reggie Miller or Rip Hamilton.