Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Senior Night: A Ton on the Line

Even though this game is the ESPN Tuesday Night headliner, it is being relatively overlooked. This one might be even more important than either match-up against Kentucky, and that's because of what's on the line for both teams.

Vanderbilt has an opportunity to overtake Florida in the race for the SEC 2-seed. A win here puts us into a tie with the Gators, which given SEC tiebreaker rules would provide us the inside track to the 2-seed (in short, it would come down to the match-up against Tennessee, one which the Gators have lost twice). Win here, and either win Saturday or have Florida lose on Saturday, and we are the 2-seed.

Additionally, Vanderbilt is floating right around a 6-seed in the tournament at this point in the season. A win here gives us a good shot to keep climbing, as it would be our first "marquee" win in quite a while. Vanderbilt's best win is on the road against Marquette. This would be another big resume booster for the 'Dores going into the post-season.

Finally, Vanderbilt's seniors are playing their final game in Memorial tonight. This is, without question, the most anticipated and most polarizing group that has ever graced the halls of Memorial. Despite their lack of tournament success, they have turned Vanderbilt into a perennial tournament team and one of the 4 best programs in the SEC for the past three years. We are all yearning for them to break through in March, but there's no denying the consistent success they've achieved during the regular season. They've made Vanderbilt a topic of conversation for several years running, and they deserve respect for that.

On the flip side, Florida is sitting at a 4-seed right now. After a puzzling loss to Georgia, the Gators suddenly look vulnerable, particular with the loss of underrated reserve Will Yeguete, who was arguably the teams best defensive rebounder and was a tremendous defender. Florida is anxious to maintain momentum heading into the post-season and to avoid any kind of slide. For much of the year, they have been impressive offensively and average defensively. The pundits smell blood in the water when talking about Florida, and they have a great opportunity to try and prove that the loss to Georgia was just an aberration.

VSL will be live blogging the action starting a 9/8 CST. Bobby O'Shea will be in attendance, and I'll be watching the final homestand of this group with a glass of bourbon and anyone else who would like to chat about it. Go 'Dores, let's get it done.

No comments: