Team preview: VMI

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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)

Rebuilding VMI's basketball fortunes isn't a job that scares Duggar Baucom.

It's going to take a lot more to rattle the 44-year-old first-year coach. The plain-spoken southern gentleman knows pressure and it has nothing to do with Keydet basketball. The former North Carolina state trooper suffered a heart attack in 1990, a result of his hypotropic cardiomyophy -- the disease that killed Hank Gathers -- and he wears a pacemaker, though he's the picture of health these days, something he hopes to soon say about his basketball program at VMI.

"Pressure isn't coaching basketball," he said. "Pressure is chasing someone driving 110 miles per hour and knowing you're going to have deal with him when you catch him -- and not knowing how big he is."

Baucom would like to think people will be chasing the Keydets this year, because they are definitely going to run.

"We'll play very up-tempo," said Baucom who came over from Division II Tusculum in Tennessee. "People say run and gun but we run and take good shots. I've shown the kids here tapes and they love [that style] but then again, they haven't gone through one of my conditioning sessions yet."

The Keydets were eighth in the Big South in scoring (64.7 ppg) last year, ninth in three-pointers made (4.49 per game), three-point percentage (.297) and assist to turnover ratio (0.67) and eighth in assists (11.5). Baucom's Tusculum team was 19th in the nation in scoring, averaging 83.9 points per game, shot 48 percent from the field and 38 percent from three-point range, and averaged nearly 19 assists per game.

"The key is discipline," he said. "We weren't the most athletic team in our league at Tusculum but we were conditioned and disciplined. The better athletes we have, obviously the better we'll be, but it's more of a mindset than anything else."