Later in the week, I will post my official preview of Friday’s game between the Commodores and the Hoyas. However, I just wanted to jot down a few of my early feelings tonight.
Although I have heard some hope from fellow Vandy posters and analysts, I have to say that I am very concerned about this matchup. We are facing a bigger team that has won 17 of its last 18 games now. I can’t help but have flashbacks to the Vandy-UConn game in the 2004 Sweet Sixteen, or even just back to Sunday when Kansas played Kentucky. I am afraid that the ‘Dores are going to be simply outmanned by a taller, stronger team.
The possible good news: Kevin Stallins said that getting to the Sweet Sixteen seemed more businesslike than in 2004. These players are in this tournament to play their best and win, no matter the competition. This is a great attitude to have, but when a loss does come along, it will be crushing. These guys won’t be happy if they go home on Friday, and I’m proud to follow a team that seems so determined and eager for more.
I think winning this game will take the stingy defense of the last several games, combined with an improved shooting performance. Simply put, however good Vanderbilt has been so far in this tournament, I think that Friday will have to be their best game in order to advance to the Elite 8.