Category Archives: College Basketball

Vanderbilt vs. Georgetown – Tonight

After much thought and confusion, I am now posting my preview of tonight’s matchup between the Hoyas and the Commodores.  As I wrote in my earlier posting, this is going to be a true challenge for the ‘Dores, facing a superior sized opponent.  They are also known to go to the running game, so I am unsure if we will be able to wear them out with an up tempo gameplan.

I started out this week very apprehensive.  I still find myself with those feelings, but they are much closer to the way I feel before any important game, and no longer on par with where I was during the game against UConn in 2004.  I no longer feel Georgetown is a “super team” on par with the Okafor led Huskies.  Georgetown does have several very large players, but Vanderbilt has actually played great ball against similar teams throughout the season.  For instance, against Florida and LSU.

Vandy also has the desire to avenge the loss earlier this season.  This team is completely different than it was back when the Hoyas handed them a 16 point loss in Nashville.  This is their chance to show everyone just how far they have come.   And now, with most analysts going back to giving the ‘Dores no chance to win the game, the issue of having something to prove becomes even stronger.

From what I have heard, everyone on the team has been enjoying themselves in New Jersey, but also have been practicing very well.  I feel that they will be quite prepared for the matchup tonight and will come out ready to prove the skill of the SEC and the “academic” teams.  There is a good chance that the magic of this season will end tonight, but the players are prepared and I think that they will give a fabulous effort.  At the end of the game, I think the Commodores will have themselves in a position to win.  And after the heroics of the double overtime game against Washington State, I won’t be one to pick against us in the clutch.

Let’s Go Dores!

P.S. I will miss almost the whole game, so I am relying on Vanderbilt to win so that I have another chance to watch the team this season.

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Filed under College Basketball, Georgetown Hoyas, Vanderbilt Commodores

The Newest Golden Gopher: Tubby Smith

Tubby Smith is no longer the coach of the University of Kentucky. He will now be the coach of downtrodden University of Minnesota. The Gophers have long struggled to keep their own kids in-state and compete in the Big 10.

Minnesota’s last coach, Dan Monson, resigned at the end of November, and the assistant coach had been the interim coach for this season. It took less than a day for Tubby to make the move, as Minnesota just began talking to him earlier this morning. For the much-embattled Smith, this is a way to leave on his terms, rather than face the UK “firing squad.”

So, what’s next for UK? The coaching search will begin tomorrow I assume. If I was hiring, first on my list would be Billy Donovan, but I really don’t think they can get him. Who will we see next year on the sidelines at Rupp Arena?

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Filed under College Basketball, Kentucky Wildcats

Preliminary Thoughts on Vandy – Georgetown

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.

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Filed under College Basketball, Georgetown Hoyas, Vanderbilt Commodores

News From Around the Web

Here are some interesting links from around the web, most I found while on the vandysports.com forums:

How Vandy got the team it has today.

Byars comes up big.

Vandy-WSU is game of the tourney.

Who is the SEC Player of the Year?

The SEC is a top quality b-ball conference.

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Filed under College Basketball, Vanderbilt Commodores, Washington State Cougars

To the Meadowlands!

Well, my predictions are true. Another college classic, and the ‘Dores take it in 2 overtimes! It’s party time! On to New Jersey!

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Filed under College Basketball, Vanderbilt Commodores, Washington State Cougars

Vanderbilt – Washington State Preview

Here it is, my preview of today’s game between the Commodores and the Cougars.  I must admit that it is poorly thought out, and even more poorly researched.  I’ve been thinking more about all the Guinness that I am about to consume today.  So I have to quickly get this done before I go to the Houston St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

So often as Vandy fans, we rely on being “disrespected” by the media and other fans to give us a boost for big games.  However, in today’s game we have two programs that looked very poor in the beginning of the season and have worked their way into the tournament over the last 2 months.  Since WSU has the higher seed, they are the ones getting more disrespect in this game, especially after they struggled against Oral Roberts while Vandy manhandled George Washington.

The reassuring part of this game is that Vandy destroyed GW while having a rather subpar offensive day.  They will need to get back on track in order to defeat this stingy WSU defense.  I think they have the tools to get it done, though.  The Cougars  have been geared up to go after Derrick Byars, SEC Player of the Year.  This is how they have competed well against top teams all year.  They keyed on Afflalo of UCLA in their previous meetings.  However, VU has multiple perimeter threats, and the inside presence has been strong of late.  I think that they will have trouble guarding all of our threats.

All in all, I think that this is going to be a great game between two solid programs that live under the spotlight of other teams in their conferences.  WSU is looking for their first back-to-back tournament wins since 1941.  Vandy is looking to get back to the Sweet 16 just three years after their last run.  This game could turn into the “basketball clinic” of the tournament with solid play and good fundamentals on both ends.  I just hope that Vandy can pull it out in the end, and my heart says they will.  My brain has no idea….

Vandy 71-66.

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Filed under College Basketball, Vanderbilt Commodores, Washington State Cougars

Friday Tournament Preview: SEC Teams

Today, the other four SEC teams in the NCAA tournament will play their first round games. Here’s a quick preview on each of their games.

1:45PM Tennessee(5) vs. Long Beach State(12)

This game is one of today’s upset picks by the CBS analysts. And, as everyone knows, that means the upset will not happen! Just look at yesterday, when Vandy was the upset special, and summarily dismissed George Washington by the largest margin of victory for the day. Long Beach State just doesn’t have any experience playing top teams, except for a 30 point defeat to UCLA at the begining of the season. UT should be too much for the 49ers, and Chris Lofton loves the big stage. 66-55 UT.

Update:  Tennessee has scored 57 points in the first half, so my score may be off slightly… 

8:40PM Kentucky(8) vs. Villanova(9)

Although Kentucky is my second-favorite team, they just haven’t been taking care of business this year. They have shown the ability to consistently lose close games, so unless Tubby has turned around the mental toughness of this team in the past week, they don’t have what is needed down the stretch. UK has lost 6 of its last 10 games. Conversely, ‘Nova has won 7 of 10, and two of their losses have come at the hands of 2 seed Georgetown (by a total of 8 points). Sadly, I think I will be saying goodbye to the Wildcats today, which could mean a goodbye to Tubby as their coach, also. 78-74 Villanova.

8:50PM Florida(1) vs. Jackson State(16)

What to say here, Florida is one of the nation’s elite; Jackson St. is not. In Jackson St.’s only game against an SEC opponent this season, they lost by 31 points to Alabama. For an upset here, it would really take a triple dose of March Magic. Florida has rebounded from their February slump, just like last year, and is storming into the tournament. Even the second and third string Gators should handle this Tiger team. 81-58 Florida.

8:55PM Arkansas(12) vs. USC(5)

This game should be an exciting matchup. Before losing to Florida in the SEC championship, Arkansas had won 5 in a row. USC has played the top members of their conference very close all season, but has also had some surprising losses, their last one being a blowout in the Pac-10 finals to Oregon. They seem similar to a Vanderbilt, who plays to the level of their competition so often. This game is being played in Spokane, so the Pac-10 crowd should give USC a loud group of supporters. One big question in this game is whether Charles Thomas will be available for the Razorbacks. He helped lead Arkansas into the SEC title game, but wasn’t available against Florida when they fell by 21. If he isn’t playing, I see about a 10 point victory for USC, but if he is healthy enough to contribute, this could become a tournament classic game. 74-71 USC.

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Filed under Arkansas Razorbacks, College Basketball, Florida Gators, Kentucky Wildcats, Tennessee Volunteers