Earlier this week, the Vanderbilt Commodores (9-7, 1-3)
ended a three-game losing streak defeating another team from Alabama, the
Auburn Tigers, 75-57.
On Saturday, coach Avery Johnson will look to build off a
dominant win over then-No. 19 South Carolina, and avoid the same fate Auburn
met in Nashville, Tennessee.
“[In the last game] we got back to playing the type of Bama
defense that we have been playing for the most part all year,” Johnson said. “We
did a nice job of defending their top scorers and we’re gonna need much of the
same against Vanderbilt.”
When the two teams clash, they will also be fighting to take
control of the overall series which is currently tied at 67 wins apiece. One of
the primary scorers Alabama (10-5, 1-2) will look to shut down is Vanderbilt’s lead
scorer, Wade Baldwin IV who is currently averaging 14.8 points per game.
“If I were still in the NBA obviously he would be a guy, if
I had a high draft pick, I definitely would be scouting pretty seriously,”
Johnson said. “[He] does a nice job of quarterbacking the team, getting
everybody else involved, but he can take over the game just with his scoring
Johnson didn’t know it a week ago, but he might have someone
who can take over the game as well. Riley Norris finished the first game he started
this season with a career-high 27 points after he shot 8-11 from behind the
“I wish I could say I saw that coming, but I do know that
we’ve been encouraging him to be more confident behind the 3-point line,”
Johnson said. “He has always had a good looking shot.”
Vanderbilt’s Luke Kornet is also coming off of a career-game
where he recorded the school’s second-ever triple-double with 11 points, 11
rebounds and 10 blocks.
If Norris and the rest of the team can build a lead up
earlier in the game, it might be able to rely on its defense to hold onto it.
Johnson said his defense is usually quick on the transition and is strongest at
Those two strengths could come in handy if Vanderbilt is
pressured to play catch-up with Norris or the rest of the Crimson Tide.
“Retin [Obasohan] and Arthur [Edwards] and Riley all are
very good defenders,” Johnson said. “They do a great job of tag-teaming, and
trying to make it hard for our opponents’ perimeter players who are outstanding
Source:: The Crimson White Sports