Sunday, March 14, 2010

Vandy Lands the 4-Seed And A Very Favorable Draw

It is a tremendously pleasant surprise to land a 4-seed, and an even more pleasant surprise to see who our opponents for the first and second rounds may be.

The cons, clearly, are that we have to go out West to play, and we're in the same bracket as Syracuse. However, you can't be disappointed with an opening game against Murray State (who shouldn't be overlooked), and the winner of Butler-UTEP. Seth Davis likes our road, stating "I like Vandy to make the sweet 16."

Discuss away! It's Madness Time!


AD said...

I don't care for Seth Davis, but I hope he's right.

I voted for a six seed in the poll earlier today, so this is a nice surprise for sure. Other commenters can say what they want about my bracketology degree coming from an unaccredited institution.

Douglas James said...

Is it just me or does the tournament selection committee always seem to give us the benefit of the doubt while the pollsters look for any reason to knock us down. Whatever.

Great draw for the Commies. Shocked we got a 4 seed (when I saw UT got a 6 I got nervous)

RetepAdam said...

None of these teams are a gimme. I'd actually like our chances against Butler about as much as I do against UTEP and Murray State. Trepidious about all three games, but we should be all right.

Chuck Heston said...

Know nothing about Murray State, except that they won the Ohio Valley Conf. (isn't that the conf. where W. KY plays?) Vandy can't lose to a team from the OVC . . . twice. I do like how it sets up for Vandy.

Did you notice how 1 of the CBS commentators predicted that Siena would get to the Sweet 16? We dodged a bullet.

Illinois and Miss State didn't make it in . . . a shame.

Unknown said...

I am stoked they are in the west. If they win, I will be there!

AD said...

I agree with Chuck about Ill and Miss St. On Douglas' point, I wanted to note that it is nice that somebody finally realized they should rank VU ahead of UT.

Stanimal said...

I am shocked that Mississippi State did not get in. I thought that a run to the Conference Championship Game would be enough to punch their ticket.

We cannot look past Murray State, but we are still a better team. Murray State has no quality wins on their schedule and losses to Louisiana Tech, Western Kentucky, and Morehead State. Their toughest opponent was Cal in the first game of the year, a game they lost 75-70.

In terms of tempo and efficiency, they have fantastic Ken Pom numbers. They have some scoring balance with 5 guys averaging double figures and another guy sitting right there on the edge. They don't have a tremendous amount of size.

Still, I love this draw. To me, it's a much better draw than Purdue and Maryland. Purdue has to play Siena, who is dangerous, and Maryland has to go against Houston and Aubrey Coleman, who can flat out fill it up. I might take Wisconsin's draw over ours, but this one is hardly undoable.

Anonymous said...

Seth Davis predicted that Siena would beat Vandy last tournament. Maybe he's on to something.

Unknown said...

I am more concerned about Murray State then Utep/Butler. Murray State is a 30 win team and played Cal to a 5 point loss. They can shoot the three really well. If we do not guard the three point shot we could find ourselves down early. It is imperative to slow the pace down and run our offense. Their tallest guy is 6'9. You would think this would mean break out game for AJ, however, I would rather trust Festus and Steve down low to hit layups on the undersized players.

Unknown said...

I'm happy to see the four seed like everyone else is, but I'm dissapointed that we have collectively decided that we'll be in Salt Lake next weekend. We felt that way two years ago, we felt that way vs. Miss St., we felt that way vs. USC in the last regular season game. I don't see a ton of fire in our players' eyes and they don't seem to play their best when they are favored.

All that said, I'm heading to San Jose and I'm going to go absolutely apesh!t. Living on the West Coast, I haven't seen Vandy play a game live since 2000--I was outta town for that darn St. Mary's game this I'm pretty psyched.

Stanimal said...

I watched Coach Stallings' press conference last night, and I have to respectfully disagree with you Jim.

We obviously can't tell what's going on except through these well-manicured press conferences, but I didn't get the feeling that the team isn't ready for this. For one, the ghosts of two years ago that seem to haunt everyone on this blog also haunt our players. But rather than being reactive about it, they are very proactive. Stallings, Beal, and Ogilvy harped on the fact that we they learned the hard way what playing with a lack of energy in the first round can do. They also harped on the fact that they are preparing for the Murray State game as if its the only one they're playing the whole way. Stallings addressed the disappointments and he recognized we didn't play our best on Saturday, but he also talked about the intense focus these guys are going to have heading into the game. The point being, I don't see us looking past.

The second point that was addressed by Jermaine Beal, which I think is VERY intriguing, is the fact that he wants this team to get as far away from Nashville as possible. For whatever reason, it seems that we are more complacent when things are in our back yard than we are on the road, where we seem to have more of a sense of urgency. Beal talked about how he's excited to get away from all the distractions so his team can just flat out focus on the games. Stallings also harped on the fact that this will be a business trip through and through, there will be no goofing around.

A.J. looked giddy during the conference and he seemed to be very excited about the opportunity to dance again after a bitter taste from 2008. I don't think we're going to have any let downs this time. This team respects their opponent, and they're going to play like they respect them. I really think we'll see our best basketball yet this March.

Anonymous said...

Stanimal, I hope you're right. On another note, is it just me or do the experts pick Vandy to lose their first round game almost every year? I get that we lost to Siena, but I feel like every time we're in the tournament the talking heads pick us to lose early. It pisses me off. I guess they forget the two sweet sixteen runs. Not only are they picking us as a sexy upset, they're also saying that Syracuse has a cakewalk to the elite eight, even if the seeds hold. I agree that the East and the Midwest are very tough brackets, but I'm going to love watching Jay Bilas backtrack when we beat Syracuse by 20.

Stanimal said...

I'm with you anonymous. I'm fairly surprised that our body of work is being so easily dismissed by some.

ESPN had a fantastic panel last night with 10 college basketball experts. Not only were we getting some serious love from them, but Mark Gottfried went so far as to say we could make the Elite Eight. There weren't any statements that we are overseeded. Jimmy Dykes reiterated how we are a team built for neutral court success.

I think the reason for the "sexiness" of this pick is that Murray State was a lot of people's dark horse 13 seed and they want to stick with it. Murray was the first team this season to get to 30 wins, and if you look at the score disparities they did so relatively easy. They are a better team than they get credit for. That being said, they played only two teams in the top 100 RPI, and beat only one of them (Morehead State, RPI 97). They lost to Cal by 5 on the road in Cal's first game, but that is the only team in the top 50 RPI that they have played. They look dangerous on paper because they have 6 guys scoring in double figures and because they were so dominant in their conference.

The hilarity of it is that none of the focus is being placed on our resume except for by people who actually watched us play. We were 4-2 against Top 50 RPI teams, 6-2 in Conference Road games. We played BETTER on the road than we did in Nashville this year (including both neutral court losses at Sommet/Bridgestone Arena). We have 4 guys who average double figures (Ogilvy, Beal, Taylor, Jenkins). Murray State loves to get out an play man-to-man, which frankly, with our size and athleticism, is a terrible match-up for them.

Games aren't played on paper, but if Vanderbilt comes to this game to play, which I really don't have any doubts that we will, we should win.

Stanimal said...

Pardon me, Morehead now has an RPI of 84.

AD said...

I hope you're right too, Stanimal. We saw some flashes from AJ in the UGA game, and I thought Festus put together a nice run for a bit in the Miss St game.

I'd suggest the reason AJ appeared giddy at the presser had less to do with his alleged drive and fire and more to do with the fact that he a) just started reading a new Harry Potter book and b) is going to get a spray tan.

Drubaru said...

Nice AJ twitter link, AD. I noticed he also posted a tweet Tebow style - apologizing to Vandy players and fans for letting us down and promising to never let us down again.