Tuesday, December 1, 2009

With the SEC East Seemingly "Back", Is Vandy Better than 8-8?

I'm ever the optimist, and I'm the one who wrote all these wonderful previews about our team and where we stand. I'll go on record here as saying we're better than an 8-8 finish in the SEC, and I still think we have the capability to finish higher than third in the east (and certainly higher than fifth Gary Parrish!). But as a discussion point, I think it's valid to ask whether our road trip, and namely our performance against Cincinnati, should have tempered our expectations.

I raise this issue because of a comment in our previous post. With everyone back on Florida's bandwagon after their win over Michigan State, numerous people drinking that Kentucky kool-aid, Tennessee taking a top ten team in Purdue to the wire, and South Carolina having the Vanderbilt kiss-of-death slashing point guard in Devan Downey, did our performance in Maui make y'all feel like we could take any of those teams?

My personal feeling is that the sample size is far too small to start discussing doom and gloom just like it's far too small to discuss sunshine for Florida (who didn't have to travel 12 hours to the west coast to play, and beat Florida State at home). I still believe our best basketball is yet to come, and I think we'll prove it this week against Mizzou and DePaul. I also firmly believe that the SEC is in for a rude awakening when the Gators come to Memorial for the first SEC game.

What say you Commodore Nation?


Pinhighs said...

After this weeks games, I expect to know where they stand. If they can pull off wins against Mizz & Depaul, then they will be ranked again come next Monday. I agree it's WAY to early to compare this team against Fl., Tenn. and S.C.

If the team stays healthy and start rebounding better, then I see them as a powerhouse in SEC. The game against Cincy, (which is a team a lot better than the talking heads thought) was a let down. However, the weakness' were exposed and now CKS can have them working to improve.

I say Vandy enters the Florida game with only 3 losses at the most. Hopefully they will be on a 11 game win streak.

See y'all at the game tomorrow night.

Go Dores.

It's good to be GOLD.

Bobby O'Shea said...

I think Kevin Stallings has set up a fantastic non-conference schedule to get his team prepared for SEC play. Maui, with games against Cincinnati and Arizona, was a great combination of tempering expectations, while at the same time showing the team (and the fans) how good they can be.

With games against Missouri, DePaul, at Illinois, and Western Kentucky, the Commodores will be able to work out the kinks against quality opponents. Then, heading into conference play, the team faces (what should be cupcakes) before opening SEC play against the Gators in Memorial.

I think this is a great schedule and will serve the Commodores well. If Vanderbilt flounders in conference play, it won't be because they weren't (or at least shouldn't have been) prepared.

Unknown said...

I agree that we can judge after this week. The Cincy game looked like a complete waste. If we can beat two really solid teams this week, then I think we are in good shape.

Very valid point about the SEC East. Even if Vandy loses a bunch of those, they will be against ranked teams. I think we're better than 8-8 too but that might look good this year.

Stanimal said...

Not a bad point. And with what seems to be a tough non-conference schedule, it may be enough. Though I would think that we'd need to go 9-7 at the least.

Stanimal said...

As to Bobby's point, I think he's right on the money. CKS has assembled one heck of a schedule and it's clear that his intention is to put his team through the grinder. They'll be well prepared for the SEC, and will hopefully come in to the conference schedule fine-tuned.

Anything but Gatorade said...

I still think it's too early to tell. Sure, we're learning about the teams in the division, but we don't really know much yet. What we do know is that Vanderbilt has potential but hasn't quite grasped it yet, Tennessee is the most experienced, Kentucky has some insanely talented freshmen who play like it on occasion, and Florida's not quite the pushover we thought they'd be sans Calathes.

Each contending team still has some tough non-conference games to contend with, but I'd guarantee that no one goes undefeated in the league this year. Vandy will likely split most of its games in the East, so the West should be where they really buckle down to avoid 8-8 or worse.

Douglas James said...

Agree with seeing how we do this week. But we typically struggle on the road in the SEC. I really don't see us winning at UF, UT, UK or SC. Thats four loses. The good news is that the rest of the sched is much easier. At Bama is tough but winable, Home against Auburn and Miss State should be a wins. I think we should sweep UGA, win 2 of three from UF/UT/UK at home, LSU at home should be a win. Away at Ark and Ole Miss will be tough. I see us splitting those 2 games.

That would put as at 10-6. But could easily be 8-8 or 7-9. Basically I have no idea.

Stanimal said...

Yeah, I did some schedule looking myself.

I've basically given up trying to win in the O-Dome. I've never watched a Vandy game there where I didn't feel sick to my stomach at the end. Same goes for @Tennessee.

I disagree about SC though. We can win here because it's not a rowdy place, no one knows how long Dominique Archie is going to be out, and we've done so before.

Regarding previous road trends, this team has a lot more talent than previous units, so if they can get comfortable playing on the road, I'm more inclined to think we'll steal one or two games we shouldn't. I don't feel at all comfortable with Florida, Tennessee, or Kentucky because those teams are stingy at home, but I'm not nearly as worried about road games with this unit as in year's past.

Stanimal said...

Also Mike Holmes is out for an extended period of time. They both may be healthy when we play the Gamecocks on the 30th, but both are starters and contribute double digits to the offense.

VandyGold28 said...

no matter how bad we are and no matter how good the team is memorial is a place where we can win. period. and michigan state is over rated. doesn't impress me as much as most. i think michigan state north carolina tonight is a very, very over rated game.

Stanimal said...

Well that's certainly true. Home games are not a concern. But you'd like to take a couple of big road games.

Anonymous said...

As the person who posted the earlier 8-8 comment, I in no way intended that to be a slight. A .500 record in a red hot SEC East would be good enough for an 8 or 9 NCAA Tournament seed. There are some harrowing stretches coming down the road, not the least of which starts tomorrow night. It's well w/n the realm of possbility that Vandy loses 3 of the next 4. Assuming it then runs the table for the rest of the non-conference schedule, that would leave the team w/ 10 wins at the start of the SEC schedule.

2 things that have been consistent in recent years. First, Vandy has had difficulty in breaking the 20 win barrier. Second, it usually loses the last regular season game and underperforms in the SEC Tournament. I don't see anything yet from this team suggesting a dramatic reversal in these trends.

I think Vandy will finish the regular season with 20 wins and win 1 additional game in the SEC Tournament. The team will make the NCAA Tournament as a 9 seed.

Anonymous said...

I think defense and rebounding will be key. That was exposed vs. Cincinnati. The guys have to take a nasty "chip on their shoulders/not in my house" attitude especially about not wanting to lose a singe game at home. If they do that, there is no way they will miss the big dance.

On the other hand, american idol still sucks, so you never know.