Commodores disappointed with season’s end

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 1:00am

Vanderbilt’s basketball team was involved in a workout Sunday afternoon when it learned that its plans for postseason play did not work out.

“We came in (Sunday) night to work out because we didn’t want to find out we had a game on Tuesday and hadn’t practiced Friday, Saturday or Sunday.” VU coach Kevin Stallings said. “We timed it up in a way we felt we would be together when we found out, and sure enough we were still going when we figured out we weren’t going to be playing another game.

“We’re disappointed the season’s over with. We hoped we would get an opportunity to keep playing.”

Clearly not qualified for an at-large spot in the 65-team NCAA Tournament, the Commodores were ignored by the 32-team NIT. They also chose not to get involved with either of two fledgling 16-team tournaments, the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) and the CollegeInsider.com tournament (CIT).

Thus, they ended with a 19-11 overall record.

“The postseason is designed as a reward for what you accomplished during the season,” Stallings said. “There were some financial implications or requests or demands associated with (the CBI and the CIT), which our administration was not interested in, and I supported that. Essentially, what you’re doing is buying an opportunity to keep your season going, and we did not want to do that.”

Seven Southeastern Conference teams earned postseason bids – three in the NCAA and four in the NIT. LSU was the highest-seeded SEC team at No. 8 in the South Region. Tennessee was set as the No. 9 seed in the East and Mississippi State was tabbed as No. 13 in the West.

“I thought the seeds for all three of our NCAA Tournament teams would be higher, and I think all three will outperform their seeds,” Stallings said. “… We created a lot of our own problems as a league because nobody had a great November or December, and I think that proved costly.”

The last time Vanderbilt did not participate in the postseason was 2003. Since then, Stallings’ team has been to the NCAA Tournament three times and the NIT twice. A year ago the Commodores made their 10th NCAA appearance.

Not since 1984-86 has VU missed the postseason in consecutive years.

Stallings said this year’s team, which did not have a senior, will have approximately two weeks to focus on academics before it begins the offseason conditioning program.

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By: Dore4Life on 12/31/69 at 7:00

VU is going to have the biggest turnaround of any men's basketball team in NCAA Division 1 from this season to next.....Going from being left out of the NIT to making at least the NCAA Sweet 16 will make people take notice.I am uber excited about John Jenkins and this team's continued development! VU men's basketball has an extremely bright future ahead in the next few years!

By: joetitan on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Dore4 you said a mouthfull, not only is this bunch gonna be one of the best Vandy has ever seen but will dominate in the sec and ncaa next year and who knows for how long.....if he pulls it off Stallins should be the next gov or at least major of Nashville.... I'm excited

By: wiseguy1 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Not to be the wet blanket, but what is going to happen in the off season that will change the way VU played agains Alabama in the SEC tournament? New recruits? Learn how to spell defense?

By: VanDSIRROM on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Sure the future looks bright. But keep in mind, as VU gets better so do other SEC teams.John Jenkins is 'SEC ready'; however, I'd be satisfied with 10 SEC wins & 21 overall next season.Will Vanderbilt make the Sweet Sixteen next year? Maybe, if they are playing their best basketball at the end of the season. How about the final 4 in '11/'12? Only if A J stays for his senior year and not many expect him to do so.VanDSIRROM VanderbiltSportsNews.com

By: commodore87 on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Learn how to spell defense really wiseguy? The 'dores were the 7th youngest team in the nation this year, and by far the youngest team in the conference. Yet, they were 3rd in points allowed and 3rd in defensive field goal percentage in the conference. I think alot over this off-season will change the way they played in the sec tourney. One is maturity that will help them to play better in big games... and especially big games away from memorial gym. The other is a true outside scoring threat that can take alot of the heat off aj. I think next year we will definately see the 'dores in the ncaa tourney, and the '11/'12 will make deep runs.

By: Dore4Life on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I'll put it this way folks: The future will be bright after that too, but next year is when EVERYONE will be available!Jenkins will be on board, Beal (he will be able to go back to being a passer and not trying to do something outside his nature) and Drake will be back for a final season, and Andre Walker will be back for a 2nd try at his sophomore season.Also, Taylor and Goulbourne are ready to explode! Festus is beginning to really figure things out a bit and provide another force in the low post. Ogilvy won't be the only legitimate scoring option next year. There will be MANY!The depth on this team will be VERY good next season. I see nothing, on paper at least, to suggest that this team won't make at least the NCAA Sweet 16. Assuming the preservation of health, The depth chart for next season:PG Beal TinsleySG Jenkins Drake HinkleSF Taylor Goulbourne WalkerPF Tchiengang McClellanC Ogilvy EzeliI'll take that kind of depth! Scoring will not be a problem like it was this past season (I think Jenkins presence will make that much of a difference) and I don't think defense will be an issue either (they were very good for such a young team).