It's a shame VMI is never on television.
You might have caught this on the bottom line last night: VMI 156, Columbia Union 91. The game had 116 possessions; VMI took 107 shots along with 41 FTAs and forced 44 turnovers. Columbia's Tim Turner had 13 giveaways by himself.
VMI was by a wide margin the fastest-paced team in the country last season, which allowed them to put up plenty of gaudy per game statistics. It's not quite the Grinnell College system, but it's close.
Baucom believed the best way to keep games close would be to wear down teams with conditioning and increased possessions. That would make points less valuable, a sort of hard-court inflation. If VMI trailed 50-35 in the second half, it would be like being down 30. If VMI trailed 90-75, it would be like being down eight or so.
VMI would create this pace using constant full-court pressure, trapping the ball wherever it went. On offense, the Keydets would freewheel, launching every open shot they found. They would sub in a fresh five players every two minutes, like hockey shifts, to maintain the frenzy. They would need to create extra possessions to make up for all the missed shots, so all but one player would crash the offensive boards.
Baucom introduced the new system during an intrasquad scrimmage, outlining it for only one team. After the team using it won, 125-111, Baucom shepherded the team into its meeting room and showed them the eye-popping stat sheet
"That's how we're going to play," Baucom said. "These will be your stats."
Players exchanged high-fives before Baucom outlined the team goals for each game: Shoot 100 shots, 50 of them three-pointers. Rebound 35 percent of the misses. Force 30 turnovers.
I don't see coaches talking about rebounding percentages too often, so kudos to Baucom for that.
VMI's offense improved significantly when it implemented this system, but the cost is that it's virtually impossible to play good defense this way. Take a look at how opponents shot the ball against the Keydets in 2007.