Monday, March 16, 2009

Vanderbilt Men Done for the Year

While it came as no surprise as the weekend unfolded that Vanderbilt probably wasn't going to make the NIT field of 32, I was surprised the find that the Commodores declined to play inthe CBI and were not extended an invitation to the CIT. Are these bush-league tournaments? Yes (in fact I'd be willing to bet that at least a handful of y'all didn't know one or either of these tournaments even existed). But I am still of the belief that a young team like the Commodores is better served by playing as many games as possible as a unit. Mo Patton has the following quote from the Guru, David Williams, in today's Tennessean: "To host the CBI, they want you to put up a sum of money...I'm not sure that's something our folks were interested in," that makes it pretty clear Vanderbilt turned down the chance to extend their season a little longer.

In my view, this was a serious mistake, and uncharacteristically short-sided of the Vanderbilt powers-that-be when it comes to athletics and constantly looking to build the programs. Young teams get better the more they play together, and that includes bad post-season tournaments that most people have never heard of. A "deep run" (as deep as a run can be in a 16-team field) would have given this young team post-season experience and, hopefully, given them a taste of what it's like to play in March, all the while making them hungrier to play in the main event next year. It is certainly possible that after Thursday's disappointing loss, this team was "done." But I've got to think that if they were willing to play in the NIT, they should have been willing to play in the CBI (even if that meant forking over some coin to do so). Am I wrong? Will this team be better off by missing March completely?

What do you think?


Stanimal said...

Disappointing way to end the season. Really think we should have taken the CBI bid and gone with it. Although the fact that they want you to pay them a certain sum is kind of suspect to me. I'm not sure if that's common practice, perhaps one of y'all knows.

Regardless, sad to see the season end without even an NIT bid. But of all the SEC teams in the NIT field, we were the least experienced of the group. The fact that only three teams made it from our conference, and only two would have if Mississippi State hadn't made a run, tells us that the SEC needs to do some serious work to boost their RPI next season. It's not only embarassing to us, but it's embarassing to our conference as a whole. Time to get to work scheduling non-cupcake teams next season boys.

Anonymous said...

We had Georgia Tech and Miss. State on the ropes and let both games get away. Add in the no-shows vs. Ill-Chicago and @ Georgia and there you have it. The moral of the story is you can't take a day off in the schedule or relax and lost the intensity when you get a lead vs. anybody. The other moral of the story is that american idol still blows. Bigtime.

Anything but Gatorade said...

I think the team would be better served with more practice time than playing in a post-season tournament that no one has heard of, no one will watch, and no one will gain from even if you win it. I understand the logic behind the decision. Sure, you can say "but it's more basketball", but you can't say it's good basketball. Hit the practice floor and the books, Dores, and be ready to surprise a lot of people next year.

Old Prospector said...

I heard that UVA took a financial beating playing in the CBI last year and some estimates were it could cost us upward of 150K just to play. If that is the case, skipping it is justified.

As for the other tourney, I think its reserved for middies, so that's out. Let's just move on - we get Walker back and Jenkins next year. Let's start thinking about where we'll be seeded.

Anonymous said...

The CBI is a scam, smart institutions turn it down all the time, and do just fine the following year. For instance Wake forest did the same thing last year, this is common place for legitimate institutions.

Stanimal said...

Looking back on the year, you still have to be encouraged by the way we fought back. We really had one big growing pain moment at the beginning of SEC play that just killed us. But regardless, we played pretty good towards the end of the season. The Alabama loss was disappointing, but it wasn't that terrible given how they were performing. The SEC was certainly down this year, but considering we had to replace Foster and 2 other starters (Ross and Alex), we turned out just fine. It's just unfortunate that we dug ourselves a hole early on.

Let's definitely not forget the bright spots of this team. This is a hell of a freshmen nucleus we have. Adding Jenkins next year, we're going to be just as competitive as everyone else in the conference. We're still going to be younger than most, but there's no doubt we'll be as talented as most of the SEC.

The key is just keeping the nucleus of guys together. We need each player to stick around and contribute. Losing ANYONE to a transfer would be bad news.