Category Archives: Kentucky Wildcats

Vanderblogging

I have run across several items today which mention Vanderbilt in a (mostly) favorable light.  First, on one of my favorite CFB blogs, EDSBS, Point number 4 in this post mentions how the two best QBs in the SEC this year may be at Vandy and UK.  They say that they have respect for the Commodores and call us “possessed dervishes.”

Second, a blog out of Atlanta brought up the point that Vandy has three players on the all-SEC first team, and Georgia has none.  That’s right, zero.  And the two teams from Alabama only have one apiece.  He questions what that really means for the season, but would not be surprised if Vandy wins 3 or 4 SEC games this year.

Will this be a year of parity, with such high hopes from Kentucky and Vanderbilt fans, or will it just turn into the same ol’ season?  19 days to go!

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Filed under college football, Georgia Bulldogs, Kentucky Wildcats, 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

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

Month in Review

In response to a recent comment, I wanted to reassure everyone that although I have been missing from my blog recently, I have not been taking a hiatus from Vanderbilt sports in general. In the past few weeks I have:

  • Attended the Houston College Baseball Classic, in which the Diamond ‘Dores went 3-0 including a win over then-#1 Rice, and a thrilling extra innings victory over Arizona State. While a walk-off home run is always fun, it’s not every day you get to see a walk-off stolen home plate. Due to this performance and their continued domination, the baseball team is now ranked #1.
  • Made a trip back to Nashville to see the men’s basketball team knock off #1 Florida. Remember my last post? I think I called this one. This game was quite exhilarating, and had the best crowd and atmosphere I have seen probably since 2004. The team definitely responded with a well-controlled game, including a definite victory in the mental game. Even though we were called for many fouls, I think they helped keep Florida from finding a rhythm more than they hurt our team.
  • During the same trip, I watched the women’s team completely destroy the South Carolina team the next day. Our women’s team is quite fun to watch, putting up as many 3’s as the men’s team, and with a great inside-outside game.
  • Asked many many bar owners to put Vanderbilt games on TV in Houston. Thus far, it has been quite a success! Compared to a year or two ago, many more bars pick up the out of area games, which helps me out a lot.

And now, the ‘Dores have won their fourth game in a row against Kentucky, which completely sealed up their NCAA tournament bid for this year.  Now we just need to get into the 4-5 seeding range.  If we can close out our season with two more wins, and end the SEC campaign at 11-5, I think that we will be quite happy with our seed, no matter the SEC tournament results.  It will be very nice to not have to be biting my nails on Selection Sunday!

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Filed under college baseball, College Basketball, Florida Gators, Kentucky Wildcats, Vanderbilt Commodores

Vandy Blows Several Opportunities, and the Game

This past week’s game was a true shootout between Vanderbilt and Kentucky.  It had offense to rival the WVU-Louisville game earlier this season.  However, when all was said and done, the Commodores blew too many chances to win this game. 

Another dismal special teams effort did not help the cause either, with several punts going approximately 10 yards apiece, and a kickoff return for a touchdown that thankfully was called back due to a holding penalty.  However, the factor that most led to the Vanderbilt defeat was red zone offense.  In a performance reminiscent of the Ole Miss game, fumbles and interceptions at the end of drives cost Vanderbilt at least 21 points in this game.  Final score:  38-26 UK.

Personally, I found myself sitting in one of the corners with my brother and dad, both UK fans.  Thankfully, another Vanderbilt fan happened to sit in the seat next to me, so I had an empathetic person to complain with.  Throughout the game there was a stiff breeze, with periods of light rain…. and the temperatures were hovering in the low 40s.  True Big Ten football weather, but not what you want in the south.  Because of the dismal weather, tailgating was scrapped in favor of lunch at Tolly Ho before the game. 

That, and my brother and I were tired from the UK/Vanderbilt hockey game the night before.  That game went about the same as the football game, with a stronger, deeper UK team defeating Vanderbilt 9-2 in front of several hundred UK fans, and about 8 Commodore fans.  Checking the website, Vandy’s hockey team also lost on Saturday night, finishing the UK sweep of the weekend sports.  (A scheduled club soccer game for Sunday was cancelled on Saturday)

Next up:  The Evil Orange….

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Commodores head to Commonwealth

Well, the weekend is upon us again.  That time each year when the “Battle of the Cellar Dwellers” occurs.  However, this year, Kentucky is not at the bottom of the SEC East, and Vanderbilt isn’t playing like it should be either.  This year looks like it will be another close game between the two teams, except both squads are still looking at bowl eligibility!  I’m not sure the last time this occurred.  I grew up a UK fan, so now as a VU alumnus this game is always the hardest to cheer for.

Over the past several years, though, my loyalty to Vanderbilt has become stronger and stronger, so I will undoubtedly be wearing my black and gold and cheering on the Commodores in Lexington this weekend, even while sitting next to my dad who will be cheering for the Wildcats. 

The weather calls for a cold day, with rain early.  Hopefully, it will be over by gametime, because few things are worse than sitting around in the rain when it is 45 degrees out.  This could really put a dent in the number of fans who show up, which tends to be a bad thing for Vanderbilt (they seem to enjoy hostile crowds and play better in those situations).

I hope to see a large contingent of Vanderbilt fans make the trip up.  But most of all I hope to see Vanderbilt make a statement and show that we will not let UK get to a bowl game at our expense!  Go ‘Dores!!

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Filed under college football, Kentucky Wildcats, Vanderbilt Commodores