Short on experience, Vanderbilt basketball won't avoid big-name opponents

Sunday, August 5, 2012 at 11:33pm
Staff reports

For a team with no returning starters, Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings isn’t shying away from a daunting opposition.

The Commodores will face Xavier and Butler and will have a neutral-site showdown against Middle Tennessee State as part of their non-conference schedule, which was released Saturday.

“There are a number of difficult games, high and mid-major teams, that are very, very good,” Stallings said. “It’s a very aggressive schedule, particularly for a team that is as inexperienced as this one will be. But, I think these are the types of schedules and types of games that our players are used to playing in, and they prefer to play in. I think it will do a great job in preparing us for conference play.”

Vanderbilt opens its season on Nov. 10 against Nicholls State at Memorial Gymnasium the goes on the road the next couple weeks.

The Commodores finish a home-and-home series against Oregon by traveling to Eugene, Ore., on Nov. 16. They defeated the Ducks 78-64 in last year’s season opener.

After that Vanderbilt travels to Orlando, Fla., to play in the previously announced Old Spice Classic. After opening on Thanksgiving Day against Davidson, it will try to advance in a tournament that features West Virginia, Gonzaga, Oklahoma and Clemson.

The Commodores return home to host Villanova on Dec. 1 as part of the SEC/Big East Invitational. They’ll head to Cincinnati on Dec. 6 to face Xavier, which beat Vanderbilt in overtime last November before eventually reaching the Sweet 16.

After home games against Alabama A&M and Cornell, the Commodores make the short trip downtown to play in-state rival Middle Tennessee State at the Bridgestone Arena on Dec. 21. Vanderbilt edged the Blue Raiders, who won the Sun Belt Conference, with a 84-77 victory last January at Memorial Gymnasium.

They host Butler on Dec. 29 for the first part of a home-and-home series. The Bulldogs failed to make the NCAA Tournament in 2012 after reaching the national championship game in consecutive seasons.

The non-conference season wraps on Jan. 2 with a home game against William & Mary.

Vanderbilt went 25-11 last year, won the SEC Tournament championship and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. But the Commodores will be hard pressed to match those feats after losing their top six scorers.

8 Comments on this post:

By: 4gold on 8/6/12 at 6:32

Afraid this is going to be ugly. Can the center stay healthy and if so is he quick enough to be effective? Gosh do hey even have a power forward? I dont think so. Just a bunch of guards and small forwads. Moats didnt show much last year and frankly the two new guards did not live up to shooting expectations.

Go Dores, Preds, Titans! Go Nashville a great place to live!

By: Rasputin72 on 8/6/12 at 7:31

Recruiting is obviously a problem. The recruiting problem is Kevin Stallings. Now that does not mean that Stallings has not been a good coach or for that matter a perfect fit for Vanderbilt. What that means is that there are a lot of really good basketball players who do not want to play for Stallings.

By: G.Scout on 8/6/12 at 9:14

It means, Rasputin, that there are a lot of good basketball players who don't have enough brain cells in their heads to PLAY for Kevin Stallings at Vanderbilt. The recruting problem is not Stallings, its intelligence!

By: Rasputin72 on 8/6/12 at 2:14

G.Scout.......Well, there you have it! Good Basketball players do not equate intelligence! Coud be that the Good Basketball players with the brains go to Duke,North Carolina,Wake Forest,Stanford,Georgia Tech and the others get scattered through the country. This leaves Stallings exactly where I said he was.

In the meantime good basketball players go to schools that have a penchant for those who think education is "Mac Sees Muff" Muff sees Mac" "See Mac Run!"

This leaves Vanderbilt with Stallings. You may be wrong about intelligence being required to get into Vanderbilt. In a few years the players that James Franklin is recruiting and the University is accepting are going to be a Sports writers story of the highest order.

By: Jughead on 8/6/12 at 3:03

I agree--the problem is Kevin Stallings. Three NBA players last year and they still never played like a team.

By: a3508 on 8/6/12 at 3:05

Rasputin72: Your continued bias toward Vanderbilt is very boring. You are as predictable as afternoon rain squaws in Florida. I know I'm just feeding the carp by replying, so I'll make this my last where you are concerned.

My bet is you're one bitter old man. Adios!

By: 4gold on 8/7/12 at 7:28

Resputin cant stand a little success by VU while his UT wallows at the bottom in cheat scandals, probations, robberies, arrest and beer bottle throwing. If that is the college experience you want go ahead and wallow . I prefer to spend my dollar on my own cities teams. At least VU doesnt sell its soul in the name of winning. They put 4 teams in post season and graduated virtually everyone. That is doing it right. Sad that state schools have forgone education for winning. Someone write them and tell them they ARE an institution of learning . . . supposedly.

Go Dores, Preds, Titans! Go Nashville a great place to live!

By: 4gold on 8/7/12 at 7:30

Resputin just go read your UT articles. Oh Wait. There were none. LOL

Go Dores, Preds, Titans! Go Nashville a great place to live!