How tough is it to play VMI?
Story by Chris Graham
VMI basketball coach Duggar Baucom does need to scout opponents, but not the same way other coaches do.
“We scout personnel more than anything else,” said Baucom, whose Keydets press in the backcourt before dropping back into a variety of zone traps in the frontcourt that basically render opponents’ sets meaningless.
Which isn’t to say that VMI necessarily stops its foes from putting points on the board. To the contrary, opponents are scoring 85 points per game thus far in the 2007-2008 season on 50 percent shooting from the field.
But they are also committing an otherworldly 28 turnovers a game against the pressure – which is what allows VMI to put up 97 poiints per game on 44 percent shooting from the field and put up wins against a pair of CAA rivals in William and Mary and James Madison, whose coach, Dean Keener, is a Keydet believer.
“What the style does is it shortens your bench a little bit – because your true post players can’t play as much because at the defensive end they’re playing four or five guards, and they spread you out, and it’s hard to guard that way,” Keener said after his Dukes were upset 90-83 in Lexington in November.
Baucom promises to have his team in the mix in the Big South after the first of the year.
“You can see that we’re a bunch of midgets. So we have to do something different,” he said of his team, which features one player taller than 6-7, seven-foot freshman Stephen Sargent, who has played only 22 minutes in four games off the bench this season.
So maybe Baucom has things going the way he wants them to go.
After all, teams have to play his game – win or lose.
“We never in now two years had a team run a set play on us – so we don’t have to scout set plays. Some people have a shootaround and go through 20 sets. We don’t go through one. We’re more concerned with what we do,” Baucom said.
Chris Graham is the executive editor of The SportsDominion.