Vanderbilt hoops won't have to wait to face Kentucky

Friday, August 10, 2012 at 2:57pm

Less than a week after Vanderbilt released it non-conference schedule, men’s basketball coach Kevin Stallings might want a do over.

Because, now, he knows the Southeastern Conference slate. And it begins with defending national champ Kentucky.

On Friday the league announced Vanderbilt’s 18-game schedule, expanded by two games due to the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M. The Commodores will play all 13 teams at least once, with two games each against Kentucky, Tennessee, Auburn, Arkansas and South Carolina.

“We have a very difficult schedule from top to bottom,” Stallings said.  “It will challenge everything about our team and I hope I haven’t overscheduled them, because we are going to be very inexperienced.  But, I know that our guys will be excited about the challenges our schedule will present.”

The Commodores, who don’t return any starters, host Kentucky on Jan. 10 at Memorial Gymnasium in a game televised on ESPN or ESPN2, and one of the first of five scheduled for broadcast on one an ESPN outlet (ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU). Their trip to Kentucky is Feb. 20.

Vanderbilt was one of just two teams – Indiana was the other – to knock off the Wildcats last season. It upset the nation’s top-ranked team in the championship game of the SEC Tournament in New Orleans.

Under the new format, Vanderbilt will play permanent rival Tennessee twice every season. The other four home-and-home opponents rotate annually.

The Vols host the Commodores on Jan. 29 before coming to Memorial Gymnasium on Feb. 13.

Other opponents coming to Nashville include Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss and Texas A&M. Vanderbilt will also play road games at LSU, Missouri, Mississippi State and Florida.

The SEC schedule follows  tough non-conference games against Butler, Oregon, Villanova and Xavier.

Vanderbilt, which went 25-11 last year and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, must replace 88.1 percent of its scoring.

“The conference schedule will certainly have a new look, and every time you look at the conference schedule, you say to yourself, ‘Wow, that is hard,’” Stallings said. “But, that’s why the league is as good as it is because it’s a difficult league.  It will be interesting to take on this new format and see what the challenges are within it.”

2 Comments on this post:

By: 4gold on 8/13/12 at 8:30

Oh now I really smell some UK medaling with the conference schedule. The whole time VU had experienced teams with UK fielding all freshmen. Both UK games were pushed into the second half of the season Now that VU graduated everyone and is feilding freshmen and sophmores They move UK to first game. Last time VU opened the season with UK was ehen Taylor, and crew were Freshmen and they opened the season at Rupp. Not that it would make a difference this year. VU will suck but UK should not be able to make there own schedule.

Go Dores, Preds, Titans! Go Nashville!

By: Jughead on 8/13/12 at 10:45

I knew some conspiracy theory nut would be the first to post here. UK haters, unite! You have nothing to show for it except...welll..hate!