Monday, November 17, 2008

Why Does Name Really Matter?

This is a question that is somewhat unrelated to Vanderbilt Basketball, although in a way it is.

I know that the early part of the college basketball season, while not unimportant, certainly isn't as important as playing well down the stretch. Teams make the tournament based on how they finish, not necessarily on how they start. But this weekend's games raise a couple of questions.

My main gripe is with the insistence that Alabama is tournament worthy despite losing Richard Hendrix from a team that already couldn't make the tournament last year. There's been a whole lot of hype surrounding JaMychal Green stepping in to fill that gap, but seriously, Alabama hasn't shown us much of significance for two years now. They lost in the NIT in 2007 and declined an invitation to the CBI last year with a 17-16 mark. Then they lose their best big man and replace him with a touted freshman, and still lose to Mercer in the first game of the season 82-79. Ronald Steele and Greene are excellent players and excellent athletes, but Mark Gottfried's program has fallen off over the past couple of years. At some point the sheen of the 2004 Elite Eight appearance has to wear off.

Kentucky is another program that seems to get recognition only because of their name. Tremendous talent there as well with Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson. Yet they manage to cough one up to VMI in their opener, allowing them to score 111 points and lose to someone they shouldn't for the second year in a row. For a team that's supposed to break out that's certainly a cause for concern on the defensive end.

I particularly don't get the love for the Crimson Tide and begrudgingly understand the love for the Wildcats. But I have been scouring the internet for even the slightest bit of recognition of the talent Vandy raked in last year and the only thing I see comes from the Tennesseean and Nashville City Paper, and from ESPN's #13 ranking in the nation. I understand the tournament snub preseason, but don't really see where the separation is between Alabama and Kentucky and ourselves.

I can admit that this is a bit of a homer post but the boys picking the winners are getting absolutely burned when these two teams cough up the first loss of the season. It's time to let go and start looking at what the teams are actually capable of, not what they've done in the past.


Anonymous said...

amen to that!

Anonymous said...

we did get 6 votes for the top 25 this week

Anonymous said...

Right... which makes us 41st... which is ridiculous. Give the Baby Dores some time. My prediction: they crack the top 25 by December. Clubber Lang's prediction: pain.

Douglas James said...

Sports Illustrated didn't even have us in their top 64 teams in their College Bball preview. Teams they did have ahead of us....Ole Miss, MTSU and Belmont??? Really?

Tony Arnold said...

To quote Al Pacino from Devil's Advocate: "never let them see you coming."

This could be great for us. The football team was able to use this approach for the first 5 games.

Anonymous said...

and then vandy goes and coughs one up to a very beatable Illinois team. i hope stallings rides them for those missed free throws. inexcusable, even for a freshman. we also need to find someone who wants the ball when we HAVE to score.