Monday, March 31, 2008

Keegan Bell to transfer from Vandy

Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings announced Monday that rising
sophomore guard Keegan Bell will transfer at the conclusion
of the spring semester.

"Keegan Bell has decided to transfer at the conclusion of the
spring semester," Stallings said. "We support that decision 100
percent and wish him well."

Bell played in every game this season and averaged 2.7 points,
1.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per contest in a back-up point guard

With the departure of Bell and senior Alex Gordon, Jermaine Beal
is the lone returning point guard along with football player Jamie
Graham. The backcourt is extremely thin, with George Drake and
redshirt freshman Charles Hinkle as the lone returning shooting

Here are a few stories that shed light on the reasons behind Bell's

Bell leaving Vandy basketball squad (Nashville City Paper)
Bell leaves Vandy, looks for freedom (Huntsville Times)
Bell plans transfer from Vandy (Tennessean)

What are your thoughts on the announcement and its impact on
next year's squad?

Commodore Banter (3/31)

Louis Hart leaped over Tim Byrne and others in The Sports VU Facebook Tourney Bracket.

In the annual Black & Gold scrimmage, the defense impressed and a quarterback not named Nickson or Mackenzi played well.

Nick Cromydas was the hero of the day for the Men's tennis team. Coach Duvenhage had this to say: "I've coached a lot of great players, I've coached a lot of NCAA champions and there may be some players out there that are more talented than (Cromydas), there may have been players that I've coached that have prettier games, but there aren't any that are tougher."

As reported in an earlier entry, Shan Foster will be participating in the 3-Point Championship. While Shan Foster's unorthodox shot is great for getting over people, I'm not sure how conducive it is to getting off quickly. Within the same piece, the participants in the dunk contest are listed, which includes the likes of Joey Dorsey, James Gist, and Deron Washington.

It was a long day of baseball for the Commodores, but worthwhile all the same as they notched two victories.

Brett Hait writes that hell would freeze over before Indiana would hire Stallings.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Video of the Day: Thank You Stephen Curry

Tough to post anything other than this the day after that performance from Stephen Curry. Averaging over 33 points a game against 2 of the best defenses in the country is just phenomenal, and he is doing his best to make sure this March won't be as forgettable as last March

Beating Maryland will be no small task

They don’t make as much news as their male counterparts. Most people probably couldn’t name their starting lineup. But tonight, the Lady Commodores are the center of attention as they take on first-seeded Maryland in the regional semifinals in Spokane. Not only is it against a heavily favored offensive juggernaut, but a win would put Vanderbilt in the Elite Eight for the first time in six years.

Vanderbilt is also battling history; since 2002, No. 1 seeds are 21-2 in the round of 16. The only two teams to pull off the upsets in the regional semifinals in that time were Rutgers over Duke in 2007 and LSU over Texas in 2004, and both reached the Final Four.

To pull the upset, I think Vanderbilt’s got to focus heavily on two things: negating Maryland’s height advantage on the boards and taking away their inside game. The Commodores are obviously an outstanding defensive team; look to their smothering of the Mountaineers last weekend for proof of that. However, rebounding is a weak point, and Maryland can expose that with their excellent frontcourt in All-American Crystal Langhorne and Lauren Harper, who stand at 6-2 and 6-4 respectively. The Commodores were the worst in the SEC in rebounding, and no one in Vanderbilt’s starting line-up is taller than 6-1. It doesn’t take a genius to note that senior Liz Sherwood will need to be a force on the boards coming off the bench.

Also, forcing Maryland into shooting from the outside is a must. A theme in Maryland’s rare losses was that they jacked up far more 3-pointers than usual and shot poorly when they did. The Terrapins hit just 14 out of 68 attempts in losses to UNC, Rutgers and Duke this year, about 23 attempts per game, when they usually take just 16, and only against Duke was Maryland furiously firing up shots in an attempt to comeback. Taking away their inside game won’t be easy, but Vanderbilt has to do it if it wants to advance.

Tip-off is at 8:00 CT, and ESPN will broadcast. Go Dores!

Commodore Banter (3/29)

Tom Byrne continues to pace The Sports VU Facebook Tournament Bracket.

The Women's basketball team feels prepared to play a team they say is similar to the Volunteers. And their 25-8 record might be a little deceiving with four losses to LSU and Tennessee, writes Katherine Smith.

Bobby Johnson and offensive coordinator Ted Cain are looking to incorporate D.J. Moore into the offense even more next fall.

Is it possible that the NIT might have been better for the Donovan-guided Gators than the NCAA tourney would have been?

Former NFL and Vandy Star Herb Rich passed away on Friday.

For better or worse, Coach Kevin Stallings will likely not be part of the Indiana coaching discussion, as they offered the position to Washington State Coach Tony Bennett.

Men's tennis lost to the No. 8 Ole Miss Rebels, but Ryan Preston scored a big upset victory.

In case you missed our...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Baseball game postponed

The Vanderbilt-Arkansas baseball game has been postponed due to rain in Nashville.

The teams will now play a doubleheader tomorrow starting at 3 p.m. That game will be televised regionally at Fox Sports Net. The second game will begin 30 minutes after the first one is completed. Both games are nine-inning contests.

Tickets for the Friday night game will be honored for the second game of the doubleheader on Saturday. Anyone who purchased tickets on Friday to the rained out contest can come to the first game of the doubleheader and sit in the outfield bleachers as seats are available.

New Schedule:

Saturday, March 29
Arkansas at Vanderbilt (Game 1) 3 p.m.
Arkansas at Vanderbilt (Game 2) 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 30
Arkansas at Vanderbilt 1 p.m.

From VU Media Relations

Live-blogging from Hawkins Field: Vandy-Arkansas

We're in a rain delay here at Hawkins Field where the No. 9 Commodores (16-6, 3-3 SEC) are set to take on Arkansas (15-9, 2-4 SEC) in game one of their three-game series. The tentative start time has been pushed back all the way to 8:30 CT, but there's talk of a double-header tomorrow. Check for all the latest.

In the meantime, I'll be watching Wisconsin-Davidson from the press box and doing a little blogging.

Here's a look at Vanderbilt's starting lineup:

1. CF David Macias .368, 4 HR, 12 RBI
2. RF Dominic de la Osa .241, 4 HR, 13 RBI
3. SS Ryan Flaherty .345, 4 HR, 22 RBI
4. DH Curt Casali .353, 2 HR, 9 RBI
5. 2B Alex Feinberg .387, 1 HR, 16 RBI
6. 1B Andrew Giobbi .346, 1 HR, 19 RBI
7. LF Parker Hanks .231, 1 HR, 2 RBI
8. C Shea Robin .290, 1 HR, 4 RBI
9. 3B Brian Harris .308, 0 HR, 13 RBI

Sophomore Mike Minor will start on the mound. He is 3-1 with a 1.60 ERA and has 43 strikeouts to just eight walks in 39.1 innings. Opponents are hitting just .201 against him.

Arkansas will send out lefthander Cliff Springston, which is Vanderbilt has eight right-handed hitters in the lineup. Springston is 4-0 with 2.73 ERA in 29.2 innings. He has struck out 22 and walked seven.

SEC Baseball Standings

Eastern Division
Florida 5-1 18-5
Georgia 4-2 13-9
Kentucky 4-2 21-2
South Carolina 4-2 16-6
Tennessee 4-2 15-7
Vanderbilt 3-3 16-6

Western Division
Ole Miss 3-3 15-9
Alabama 2-4 13-11
Arkansas 2-4 15-9
Auburn 2-4 14-4
LSU 2-4 15-8
Mississippi State 1-5 10-13

The rain continues to come down hard. It's Friday night, and contrary to popular belief, I do have a life (sometimes), which means I won't be sticking around here until 1 or 2 a.m.

Make sure to check out The Sports VU this weekend as we will be reporting live from Saturday's Black & Gold Scrimmage as well the rest of the baseball series here at Hawkins Field. Have a great night!

Video of the Day: Boom Goes the Dynamite

After John Mayer's booth performance from yesterday, I'd just like to pay tribute to the granddaddy of all awkward announcing clips with this gem from the archives.

I'd say my favorite lines, but I'd probably just end up including everything...

Basketball Recruiting Update...

With the departure of four seniors, including Shan Foster, who named a first-team All American, most Commodore fans seem to think the basketball team will be worse next year based on our recent poll here at The Sports VU.

However, as Lee Corso might say, "not so fast my friends". Vanderbilt has already signed Steve Tchiengang, a 6'8" power forward who should fill in for the departure of Ross Neltner, and Lance Goulbourne, a 6'7" small forward who some close to the program have already compared to Shan Foster. Both are widely considered top 100 players in the nation.

While both of these players are sure to be stars for the program, the more exciting news is that coach Kevin Stallings and company are not done with their recruiting for next season after a disappointing exit from the NCAA Tournament. Just this past week, both Brad Tinsley, a 6'3" point guard from Oregon and Jeff Taylor, a 6'7" shooting guard/small forward from New Mexico, narrowed their lists of offers down, and the Commodores made both players' top three according to

Tinsley is still considering seven programs including USC, Butler and Arizona State, but he favors three: Vanderbilt, Oregon and Wake Forest. Tinsley has scheduled a visit to Vanderbilt for the weekend of April 12. Tinsley is ranked as the 18th best point guard in the 2008 class by and is a four-star prospect.

Taylor has narrowed his list down to three: Vanderbilt, Texas and Gonzaga. While Vanderbilt is still in the hunt, Taylor has family in Texas which may influence his decision. If Vanderbilt could get commitments from these two players not only would the Commodores bring in the best basketball recruiting class of the Kevin Stallings era but they would also be in good position to return to the NCAA Tournament next year despite having a young team.

Check back with The Sports VU as we will continue to update you on these two prospects.

What 2 Watch 4

A look at what's on tap on campus and around the country on this lazy Friday.

No. 9 Vanderbilt vs. Arkansas (6 p.m. CT, Hawkins Field)
Mikie Minor gets the nod in the series opener with the Razorbacks.

College Basketball
No. 3 Wisconsin vs. No. 10 Davidson (6:10 p.m. CT, CBS)
Can America's favorite player, Steph Curry, keep it going against one of the nation's most underrated teams?

No. 2 Texas vs. No. 3 Stanford (6:27 CT, CBS)
Not a fan of Texas' D.J. Augustin? Read this story and you will be.

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 12 Villanova (8:40 CT, CBS)
Is this the year for Bill Self's Jayhawks? Quite possibly.

No. 1 Memphis vs. No. 5 Michigan State (8:57 CT, CBS)
I'm not sure if you heard, but Memphis can't shoot free throws.

Commodore Banter (3/28)

Tom Byrne maintains his position at the top of The Sports VU Facebook Tournament Bracket despite picking Tennessee over Louisville.

Brett Hait has a must-read about Brian Harris, the Vandy third baseman who has used baseball to help cope with the loss of his mother. Stories like this make you realize how insignificant winning is.

Tennessee lost to Louisville as it couldn't avoid getting in foul trouble, writes Bryan Mullen.

For Louisville, the game plan rested on stopping Chris Lofton, who finished just 2-11 from the 3- point line, writes Chris Low.

One Vols fan reflects on the season and feels decidedly optimistic about the Vols chances in the suddenly hoops-rich state.

Maurice Patton previews the tailback position, which is loaded with depth if not experience.

There's word in this piece that Marcus Buggs put on a show for NFL scouts at his workout.

The women's basketball team will travel 2,175 miles to take on Maryland Saturday night in the Sweet 16 in Spokane, Wash. The game is on ESPN (8 p.m. CT) and there will be a viewing party at the Student Rec Center with free food and prizes, sponsored by Vandy Fanatics.

In case you missed our...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Video of the Day: "And that happened"

Listen to this call during the Red Sox-Oakland game and try to guess who made it.

The answer? None other than musician John Mayer. I was going to make a joke here and that happened...

Thanks to Awful Announcing for the find.

Q&A with Ryan Preston and Vijay Paul

Vanderbilt's top two tennis players--Ryan Preston and Vijay Paul--played a little Q&A with The Sports VU and reflected on the season so far, their favorite courses, and debunked the myth that it's not a storage facility adjacent to the Student Recreational Center.

Sports VU:
What's something that the average Vanderbilt student doesn't know about the tennis team?
Vijay Paul: Ah this is tough, I don't think many people realize we have indoor tennis courts--they think it's a storage building.
Ryan Preston: That big warehouse building across from the parking garage houses indoor tennis courts. I run into a lot of people who think it's a storage facility.

SV: Funniest member of the team?
Scott Lieberman and Andy Pulido battle for our hearts.
Scott Lieberman

SV: How hard can you guys serve?
Me, only about 100 mph, the bigger the guy the harder.

SV: Biggest win in your career?
First round of main draw at this Pro tournament in India in May 06.
Biggest win was over Tennessee a couple years ago. We went to Knoxville with only five guys(you need 6) and still beat them. Everybody played great and nothing makes me happier than to beat UT.

SV: Have you guys matched your expectations thus far in the season?
No, there have been flashes of what we are capable of, but we haven't all been on the same page at one time yet--it will come.
We started out well and then hit a couple bumps in the last few SEC matches. But we had a good win against Alabama last weekend, so we're hoping to feed off that as we move into the toughest part of our season.

SV: Favorite Class at Vanderbilt?
Hist 213 - Medieval Europe
RP: I like science and really enjoyed Astronomy taught by professor Weintraub.

SV: What are you listening to on your iPods right now?
Mostly Rap: Wu-Tang Clan, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Edan, John Coltrane.
RP: Always listening to all genres.

SV: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
To be honest, I don't plan too much ahead. Hopefully happily playing tennis somewhere in Europe.
A better question is where do I see myself in a couple months? I'm still working on it.

SV: Favorite surface?
Red Clay.
Fast indoor courts because it makes it a lot easier to serve well.

SV: If you could hit with one pro in the world, who would it be against?
Gael Monfils (French guy).
RP: I'd like to see what it's like to hit against Nadal.

SV: Favorite school to play against?
RP: SEC wins are the best, but being from up north, I also love playing Big Ten teams and reminding them why the SEC is the best and deepest conference in the land.

Commodore Banter (3/27)

Vandy Fanatics has organized some trips in the past, but never anything quite like this story coming out of Davidson.

March madness returns tonight, with Tom Byrne leading the way in The Sports VU Facebook Bracket.

Need a refresher course? ESPN's Andy Glockner offers his take on each Sweet 16 team.

How much do you think Siena earned for the MAAC with its win over Vanderbilt?

The 'Dores beat the MTSU Blue Raiders in dramatic fashion on Wednesday night.

Shan Foster will take on the nation's top marksmen in the annual three point contest. Note to readers: considering how many 3s Foster hit (133) and his percentage made (47.3%), I don't think anyone's numbers come close.

One sports blog ranks its top 5 tournament players, guess who's number one. Stephen Curry, maybe?

With Ron Steele returning next year, Alabama could be a sleeper team, but only if Hendrix stayed. Hendrix announced on Wednesday that he will enter the NBA draft (... to be drafted in the second round).

Men's tennis has a big weekend, hosting No. 38 Mississippi State and No. 8 Ole Miss.

Disappointing news that David Price has been shutdown due to elbow tightness.

The Women's Basketball team has nothing to lose and everything to gain, writes Maurice Patton.

The Volunteers aren't looking to blow a 20 point lead in this year's sweet 16.

In case you missed our...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hoosier Daddy, Vol fans?

Indiana needs a new head coach, and the Hoosiers have their eye on Bruce Pearl, David Climer of the Tennessean writes.

I know— it’s only a rumor. But for Vandy fans and Vol haters alike, this is exciting stuff. Before Pearl took the U-Tay job in March of 2005, the program was in shambles. Jerry Green resigned in 2001 before Buzz Peterson put the freefall into high gear.

The Vols posted records of 14-16, 17-12, 15-14, 14-17 in the four seasons under Peterson. That’s 1 NIT appearance and a winning percentage barely over 50%. Ouch.

Since Pearl, the Vols have posted records of 22-8, 24-11, and (currently) 31-4. He’s seen three straight trips to the Big Dance, a 77% winning percentage, and two Sweet Sixteen appearances (provided Louisville takes care of business tomorrow. Knock on wood.)

If there's any drawback of seeing Vandy’s basketball program grow, it's watching Tennessee do it with us. If Pearl left the SEC, I certainly wouldn't miss him.

Let’s hope Bruce turn in his orange blazer for something red.

On a different note, I'm going to respectfully disagree with the previous "World's Greatest Dunker" video. Kadour Ziani from France wins, hands down. The guy is 5'10 and has a 56-inch vert. And if ya don't know, now ya know. . .

Q&A with Shea Robin

After Vanderbilt's 7-3 win over Belmont last night, catcher Shea Robin caught up with the Sports VU to talk about the game and the performance of his fellow battery mate, Brett Jacobson.

Q: How important was tonight’s win?
A: It’s huge. I think just coming back to our home park may have gotten everybody a little more comfortable; it got the pitchers more comfortable. The biggest thing was just jumping out on top early. They got those runs, but Brett Jacobson kept us in the game when we weren’t hitting in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings. Steve (Liddle) had the big hit for us too. It was good to get back here, to be on top again, and we’ll see if we can get another winning streak going.

Q: How was Jacobson’s stuff working tonight?
A: It was the best I’ve seen him this year, to be honest with you. He worked both sides of the plate and threw three pitches for strikes, which I think was the biggest thing. Whenever you get around to that third, fourth time through the order, the hitters can’t just sit on one pitch. He had them guessing; I was really proud of him, and he threw very well.

Q: How important is it for him to get back on track?
A: Huge. Having an older guy like that; he’s one of only four guys that had SEC experience before this year, so giving him that confidence that he got tonight is going to be huge for us. Especially down the road, whenever we need another starter or even a guy to come in and finish the game, that’s huge, giving him that confidence. I’m very happy for him; he deserves it.

Q: Talk about how Drew Hayes pitched today.
A: Oh, I was very impressed with him too. Drew worked both sides of the plate, he was very consistent, hit his spots very well. His slider, he was throwing very hard. It’s very tough to see for the hitters. When you have a guy coming in closing the game out like that, not even letting any runners on base, that’s what you want in a guy that’s coming in late.

Q: Where do you see this team being at right now? What are you goals this week with five games at home?
A: Our goal is to win every game, and that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to take every game one at a time. Tonight, we weren’t looking to MTSU tomorrow; we’re taking it one game at a time. I think that’s where you start being successful as a team, when you start playing yourselves instead of playing the team on the other side of the field. Whenever we do that, we’re pretty dangerous.

Video of the Day: Best dunker in the world?

First, think about all the people you know that are 5'9". Then imagine them doing what "TDub" does in this video. I'm impressed. As part of the renowned Team Flight Brothers, TDub is up for a YouTube video of the year award in the sports category.

Check out the rest of the nominees for YouTube video of the year

UPDATE: After checking out the rest of the nominees myself, I'm no longer as impressed with TDub. He is good, but holy shit, this kid with the etch-a-sketch is ridiculous. Today's video of the day has just become a double feature, and I'm not sure who's the better athlete...

Commodore Banter (3/26)

Vanderbilt athletes continue to rake in conference player of the week honors. Lacrosse defender Sasha Cielak did just that this week.

The Sports VU's own Jarred Amato offered his take on the baseball team's 7-3 win over Belmont. You can also to his thoughts on the game in today's podcast with Andrew Hard (on the right).

High School senior Jeff Taylor, who really emerged as a player to be reckoned with in New Mexico hoops, will decide between Vanderbilt, Gonzaga, and Texas.

Champions of all sports have been invited to the White House, including Vanderbilt's bowlers.

Vanderbilt and MTSU decided to renew their rivalry, agreeing to play four games starting in 2015.

In case you missed our...

BASEBALL: Vandy 7 Belmont 3

There were two encouraging signs from Vanderbilt’s 7-3 victory over Belmont Tuesday night at Hawkins Field – Brett Jacobson and Dominic de la Osa.

Let’s start with Jacobson, the talented right-hander who has had scouts drooling ever since he was drafted out of high school by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The junior came into the season with high expectations only to struggle mightily early on. No one imagined that he would go from being the No. 2 starter to a midweek guy, but that’s exactly what happened.

Now Jacobson is attempting to build himself back up, and Tuesday’s performance was certainly a step in the right direction. He gave up three runs on seven hits, while striking out four and walking two in seven innings of work.

“I think the most impressive thing about him was he kind of got off to a slow start and he was able to come back,” said shortstop Ryan Flaherty. “It looked like he might not last long and then all of a sudden it’s the seventh inning and there he is out there.”

Coach Tim Corbin also said he was pleased with the fact that Jacobson didn’t allow a run after the third.

“When he faced hitters for the second and third time around, he kept it down a little bit,” Corbin said. “I think that’s the value of a pitcher. I think sometimes a pitcher can get through a lineup one time, but can’t get through it a second and third time, so I thought his ability to do that was key, and hopefully that helps him a little bit because he’s a talented kid. Things have not been going his way, but it was good to see that tonight.”

Both Corbin and Flaherty acknowledged the Commodores (15-6, 3-3 SEC) need big things from Jacobson to be successful.

“He’s huge,” Flaherty said. “If we’re going to go anywhere this year, he’s going to have to be a big part of it. He’s the leader of our pitching staff with Mikie (Minor) and those guys down there, and once he gets going, we’re gonna be tough.”

Added Corbin: “I think if we go deep into this thing this year, he’s going to have to be a key player for us. I don’t see us winning without a guy like him. He’s going to have to pitch. He’s going to get better down the road, better than he is right now.

“This was a start for him, and he knows that. He’s not unrealistic. The kid works hard. He’s the first guy out here every single day. He deserves good things to happen to him.”

According to Corbin, Jacobson’s problems aren’t uncommon.

“When a pitcher gets hit, it’s usually because they just leave balls up in the zone,” Corbin said. “They flatten out. The fastball doesn’t have much movement to it, the breaking ball is flat and you’re pitching above the belt. It doesn’t really matter who you’re playing – SEC, out-of-SEC. People will hurt you.”

De la Osa, meanwhile, had a solid day at the plate, going 2-for-4, including a line-drive homer to left-center, with three runs scored. Coming into the game, the senior outfielder was hitting just .230 with 10 RBI, so Corbin switched de la Osa to the 2-hole, and it looks like it worked.

“I like him in the 2-hole because it gives Flaherty a chance to maybe see some fastballs and gives Dominic a chance to run behind a lefthander hitter,” Corbin said. “We needed to do something. We were stale. The kids are trying, but (they were) just stale.”

Corbin said de la Osa’s struggles stemmed from putting too much on pressure on himself.

“ He’s a very internal kid and he doesn’t’ have a lot of emotion,” he said. “He keeps everything in and when they do that, it can almost be worst for them. It bottles up and I think that’s what was happening.

“But, you know what, you look at his numbers and they’re not a whole lot different than last year. Okay, he had one more home run than he does right now, but he had seven more at-bats and five less hits and he’s got more walks and more stolen bases so just stay with it. This game has a way of evening itself out. As long as we get it going at the end of the year, that’s all that matters.”

Flaherty said he is confident they will.

“I think the pieces will start coming together,” he said. “We’ve just got to keep working hard and get better every day.”

EXTRA BASES: Corbin said freshman Sean Bierman will get the nod Wednesday against MTSU…The rotation for this weekend’s series with Arkansas will remain the same. Minor will start Friday night, followed by Caleb Cotham and Taylor Hill…The timetable for Pedro Alvarez’s return is 2-3 weeks. “I’d love to have him back for Ole Miss, but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Corbin said.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Technology Upgrades

Thanks a lot for checking out our website. We've decided to add an RSS feed so that you can keep up with our content as it is published on the Web. You can either scroll down to the bottom of the page to add the RSS feed, or you can bookmark this link.

We've also set up a feature that will email you updates from the site. Check below the "About US" section on the right side of this website.

Furthermore, we've added a daily podcast (which we promise won't always start up when you log onto The Sports VU; we're experiencing technical difficulties) and tomorrow we'll be working on our first TV show in the format of ESPN's The Sports Reporters.

Video of the Day: Why I Hate Tennessee

With the Commodores' disappointing exit from the tournament and a lack of meaningless Vandy basketball predictions to fill up my time, I am forced to find new ways to put off the things I should actually be doing. With things quieting down now, Jarred and I are going to try and help you do the same by posting an amusing video or picture every day. Usually it won't be related to Vanderbilt, sometimes it won't even be related to sports, but hey, we could all use a laugh. And maybe you'll even find some other good blogs out there because of it...

Some of you may have already seen today's entry, but I think it's worthwhile nonetheless. Plus it's about hating Tennessee, and who doesn't? They some snitches!

Thanks to Deadspin for the find

Commodore Banter (3/25)

If your volume is down, you would have missed our podcast when you logged onto The Sports VU. Scroll down, it's on the right. Check back later this week for our first TV show.

One 'Dores basketball team reaches the Sweet 16.

The SEC can recover from a down year in basketball, writes Ray Melick.

Check here to read about where Chris Williams fits in the first round.

There's word in Brett Hait's article that Williams scored a 32 on the Wonderlic test, which eclipsed all other offensive linemen.

Bennett and Goff met with Titans team officials on Monday, who are both on the cusp of the second round.

The outspoken Rick Pitino is sick of the talk that he didn't recruit Chris Lofton, but offered a peculiar remark: "Oh, I can assure you we recruited him hard," Pitino said. "Chris knows we recruited him hard. His parents know we recruited him hard. I don't know why (some people) say that. But I'm very happy for Chris. How could he have had a better career if he'd gone to Louisville?"

In case you missed our...

Vanderbilt women move on to Sweet 16

Christina Wirth scored 21 points and Jessica Mooney added 11 off the bench, and the Commodores advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005 with a 64-46 victory over 5th-seeded West Virginia.

Vanderbilt had fallen in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2006 and 2007 but this time it broke through with a strong second half, holding the Mountaineers to just 17 points.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Baseball Notebook

After losing its first Southeastern Conference series in a year, the Vanderbilt baseball team (14-6, 3-3 SEC) looks to get back on track this week as it hosts five games in six days.

The No. 9 Commodores dropped two of three at Alabama and lost back-to-back games for just the second time over the last two seasons.They hit just .202 with 26 strikeouts and only seven walks against the Tide, and batted .244 on the week with four homers, five doubles and 24 runs scored in four games.

One of the lone bright spots was senior outfielder David Macias, who hit three homers and is currently riding a 18-game hitting streak. Shortstop Ryan Flaherty went 6-for-15 (.400) with a double, homer and three RBI.

On the mound, sophomore Mike Minor (3-1) continued to dominate, giving up one unearned run on eight hits while striking out a career-high 12 batters in nine innings to lead Vanderbilt to a 2-1 victory over Alabama Friday night. Minor leads the SEC in innings pitched (39.1) and complete games (2) while also sporting a 1.60 ERA.

Chase Reid pitched 0.2 innings of scoreless relief and has not given up an earned run in 13.0 innings this season.

What 2 Watch 4

3/25 Belmont 6 p.m. Hawkins Field
3/26 MTSU 6 p.m. Hawkins Field
3/28 Arkansas 6 p.m. Hawkins Field
3/29 Arkansas 3 p.m. Hawkins Field
3/30 Arkansas 1 p.m. Hawkins Field

Commodore Banter (3/24)

Men's tennis earned a big win over No. 23 Alabama.

Goodbye to the Saints, as they lost to Villanova.

Shan Foster finds himself at the top of the second round in this mock draft.

Our friends over in Knoxville inch closer to a match-up against the Tar Heels with the win over Butler.

Kevin Stallings says that the 'Dores overachieved this year. I'm not sure it was so much that as it was =a function of the schedule being so bloody easy.

The City Paper recaps the weekend for Vanderbilt sports. Within this piece there's word that the defense shut down the offense in the weekend scrimmage.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Picked-up pieces from the NCAA Tourney

1,472 miles, $246 and six Tay Fisher 3-pointers later, I'm finally back in Nashville, where I'm still trying to figure out how Vanderbilt lost by 21 points to Siena. (On a completely random note, a car full of Tennessee fans pulled up alongside us yesterday on the ride home and held a sign up in the window that read "Sienna." No punchline needed. Just classic.)

A few closing thoughts:

-It's no secret that the Commodores lost because they couldn't defend. They have not been a particularly good defensive team all season, especially away from Memorial Gym, so perhaps we were naive to assume that it was going to be different against a Siena team that excelled at beating opponents off the dribble.

Stallings blamed himself for his team's defensive deficiencies.

"The disappointment was really all season long I didn't get this team to play defensively the way it had to play on a consistent enough basis for us to win the way we wanted to win," he said. "Now, 26-8 is not a terrible year, but we just never were consistent defensively. And, again, that's my responsibility. It's completely my responsibility. I was just never able to push the right button with this group because we worked harder defensively all season long than we did offensively."

I don't think it's fair to put all the blame on the coach. It wasn't Stallings who got beat off the dribble. It wasn't Stallings who got caught up in screens. It wasn't Stallings who failed to close out on shooters.

My take is this: Vanderbilt just didn't have the personnel or mindset to defend at high level for 40 minutes a night. Stallings couldn't have said or done anything to change that.

-Sophomore Jermaine Beal probably summed it up best.

"That's why they call it March Madness because anything can happen," he said. "Siena just came out, played harder than us, and they beat us pretty bad."

That's really all it comes down to: effort. It's not that the Commodores didn't care or that they didn't want to win -- of course they did. It's just that Siena wanted it more. They had the look in their eyes and swag in their step that Derrick Byars and Dan Cage had last year. They knew they were going to win.

"In other years we've been able to kind of get that switched around when the tournament has come," coach Kevin Stallings said, "and for whatever reason we weren't able to get that done this particular season."

-The fact that Tampa saw four upsets on Friday (Western Kentucky over Drake, San Diego over UConn, Siena over Vandy, Villanova over Clemson) shouldn't come as too much of a surprise given the state of college basketball.

I asked Stallings if he thought the gap between mid-majors and majors was closing and here's what he said:

"I think the nature of the NCAA Tournament is not about seeding; it's about match-ups. Do you get match-up that's good for you? And Siena, obviously, got a match-up that was good for them. Western Kentucky got a match-up that I thought was good for them. Obviously, San Diego made the most of their match-up.

"So again, so much of it depends on how you're playing when you hit the tournament and then who you draw...Yeah, the gap probably is closing because there a lot of good players out there.I think that shows through. There are some guys on that Siena team, obviously, that would be very successful SEC players. So maybe that gap is closing.

The point is not that Siena is better than Vanderbilt, but rather that higher-seeded teams like the Commodores don't have much margin for error.

-Like us here at The Sports VU, Stallings said he is "a big Jamie Graham fan."

"He has really added a lot to our team and added a lot to the personality of it," Stallings said. "You just don't know how much progress a guy can make when he plays football and you're only going to have him for part of the year. Jamie was a very welcome addition, and really, really a great guy to have on our team this, and we loved every minute of having him, and I thought he played very well when he was in there (Friday)."


-Even after the loss, Stallings said he thought Vanderbilt might have overachieved this season.

"I really think that we probably overachieved in some respects," he said. "I think if you look at the season as a whole, I think that this group got a lot out of itself."

Stallings makes an interesting point. At the beginning of the season, how many of you expected this team to win 26 games? Probably not many.

-To Shan Foster, Alex Gordon, Alan Metcalfe and Ross Neltner, I say thanks. This program, and this university, is not going to be the same without you. Remember that you've accomplished too much and done too many special things to allow your careers be defined by one game.

As Stallings said, "There really isn't anything you could ask for more than what these guys were able to give."

As always, feel free to leave your thoughts/comments below.

Commodore Banter (3/23)

Even with the Commodores eliminated, you've gotta love Davidson's Stephen Curry. He's what makes March Madness so special.

A few links to check out while you stay glued to the TV on this Easter Sunday...

Your favorite Siena Saints were overmatched from the start against Villanova, falling 84-72 this afternoon. That can't make Vandy feel good...

At least one Vanderbilt basketball team is moving onto the second round. The fourth-seeded women cruised to a 75-47 victory over Montana Saturday night and will face No. 5 West Virginia on Monday. VU Commodores' Alex Kwak has a good piece on "the young and the rested."

After a 2-1 victory Friday night, the Hawkins Nine fell to the Tide 9-7 Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Commodore Banter (3/22)

Not one of the easier mornings to run this blog as Commodore Nation mourns.

In case you don't know, we lost.  

Our friends over at Vanderbilt Sports Line are crushed but also optimistic about the future.

It's a moot point, but Clemson was upset too.  

The Tampa region has had a flare for the unexpected.

Mike Minor showed up big yesterday and finished with a David Price line of 9 IP, 0 ER, 12 SO to give the 'Dores a 2-1 victory over Alabama.

The Women's tennis team continued its winning ways with the victory over Auburn. 

In case you missed our...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Why Vandy Lost to Siena...

While most of us here at Sports VU said we would be shocked if Siena beat Vandy, I think all of us were shocked on how bad Vanderbilt played on Friday night. In keeping with the Tampa tradition Friday, Siena joined Western Kentucky and San Diego upsetting the higher seed. With that said, Siena won the game because they did exactly what they needed, force turnovers, and make shots. As well as Siena played, Vanderbilt certainly helped. Here are my reasons that Vandy lost this one:

1) No Defense- the Commodores have struggled to contain teams with good guards who can create off the dribble and today was no different. Fisher killed Vandy making 6-6 of his three point attempts, and Hansbrouck drove by whomever was guarding him all night ending the game with 30 points. I give props to Jamie Graham though. He played his heart out tonight and was our best perimeter defender tonight and the last few games.

2) Shan didn't show up and there was no third scorer - through most of this season, the Commodores have gone as far as Shan Foster was willing to take them and today Shan just didn't show up for some reason. He struggled all night and a lot of that has to be credited to Siena's defense. I know Shan was not satisfied by his performance, but he needs to remember that without him this team may not even be in the NCAA tourney. Also, as all of Commodore nation has known of late, Ogilvy and Foster can't do it all themselves. Vandy needs another guy to step up on the offensive end especially when Shan is struggling and tonight no one did.

3) Ogilvy wasn't utilized enough- With a huge size advantage with A.J. down low, Stallings and the guys needed to find ways to get A.J. the ball, and they didn't do it enough. A.J. is also to blame slightly as he did not play strong down low and looked to get fouled more than score. Sure A.J. had 18 but I think he could have had 30 if he would have played stronger and got some better looks. One must remember that he is just a freshman after all, and hopefully he will learn from this.

4) Vandy didn't shoot well- on a team with no real slashing presence, the Commodores must shoot the ball well to win games since their defense leaves something to be desired. Friday night the Commodores lacked the shooting touch shooting just 19% from three point range on 21 attempts and shooting 40% overall compared to Siena's 54% overall. If I could request one thing for next season, it would be for Vandy to recruit a guy who can create his own shot. We have shooters, we have a big, we need a guy who can carry us by getting to the basket when the bigs and shooters aren't on.

While this loss is very disappointing for all of Commodore nation, I would just like to salute the seniors for bringing this program to where it is today. They are the ones responsible for the success of the program and will be missed. As for the younger guys, it is time to step up. At times it looked like they were scared to take shots this year and with the loss of Shan, someone will have to step up and give A.J. some support.

With all this negativity, there is a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the above mentioned younger guys. Everyone assumes that A.J. Ogilvy will come back next year instead of declare for the draft and will probably be even better after experiencing a year of college basketball. The Commodores will bring in two outstanding recruits next year in Steve Tchiengang and Lance Goulbourne who should be able to step in and help right away, and the Commodores are still recruiting Brad Tinsley a point guard from Oregon, who has offers from schools such as Arizona and Kentucky, and Jeff Taylor a shooting guard/small forward, who has offers from Arizona and Texas. Here is some video of Tinsley:

Also, the Dores will have Festus Ezeli, an athletic center who red-shirted this year and had offers from UCLA and Ohio State last year, and Charles Hinkle, another red-shirt freshmen who is a deadly shooter. Hopefully, the coaching staff will be able to get Tinsley and Taylor to add to this great young core and provide a great young team for the future for us all to watch.

Thanks to the seniors once again, and I look forward to the bright future of Commodore basketball with a team next year that may not have a go-to-guy like Foster, but may be better overall and deeper.

Feel free to leave your comments about my article or the game below. I would like to hear what everyone else thought of the game.

Live-blogging from Tampa: Vandy-Siena

Good evening everyone,

It's been a wild day here in Tampa, to say the least. The Commodores look to become the first favorite to win at the St. Pete Times Forum. The atmosphere tonight doesn't compare to the afternoon session as the seats are half-full (at best). Anyways, we're moments away from tip-off so let's get going. Make sure to hit that refresh button and feel free to leave comments/questions at the bottom.

18:55: Siena jumps out to an early 5-0 lead, but there's no need to panic.

18:18: We're right in front of the Siena cheering section, which is going to be rough.

17:50: Vandy lucked out early as A.J. Ogilvy very easily could have been called for his second foul. Instead, it was charged to Alex Gordon.

17:30: Ross Neltner came to play early. He threw down a nasty dunk off a nice feed from Ogilvy and then intercepted a pass on the other end.

15:16: It's 10-6 Siena early. Way too early to be worried, however, Siena appears to be the aggressor early on. On another note, the Vandy crowd has been dead thus far.

14:00: In response to Allison's comment, Vandy did not seem too excited before the game and still has not picked up its intensity. Siena is the hungrier, more passionate team, while the Commodores look somewhat timid and hesitant. Keep in mind that this is relatively common in first-round games. The hope (for Vandy fans, at least) is that the Commodores' superior talent ultimately proves to be too much for the scrappy Saints.

10:15: Don't look now but it's 26-13 Siena and Vandy coach Kevin Stallings just called a timeout. Jermaine Beal slammed the ball in frustration and the Commodores' body language is awful. It will be interesting to see how they respond coming out of this huddle.

8:40: Stallings is really harping on his team to defend, but nothing seems to be working. 30-15 Siena.

7:13: The fans are trying to get the Commodores back into the game, and it seems to be working. They got a stop on the defensive end and then Alex Gordon just buried a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 11.

6:09: JAMIE GRAHAM! On his first play of the game, the freshman strips the ball from Ronald Moore and takes it in for a lay-up. It is refreshing to watch Graham play defense and perhaps it's the play that gets Vandy going...

4:30: Graham just forced another turnover and is trying to get the rest of his teammates fired up.

3:47: Dear Jamie Graham,

I understand you came to Vanderbilt to play football and want to honor your commitment to coach Bobby Johnson and the rest of the guys. But, I think it would be in your best interest (as well as ours) to consider playing basketball year-round for the Commodores. You're already our best defender and with a little more practice, the sky's the limit. I'm aware you're a pretty good cornerback and kick returner, but I'm also aware basketball's your true love. Just think about it.


2:00: The Vandy crowd is on its feet as the Dores cut the lead to nine. Can the Dores finish the half strong?

0:40: Just saw your post. I'll be going as fast as I can. It's 43-34 Siena.

0:00: Tay Fisher (13 points) hit a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to give the Saints a 46-34 halftime lead. The Cinderella continues to have success here at the St. Pete Times Forum.

HALFTIME: Siena 46 Vandy 34

Looks like Seth Davis and the rest of those Vandy haters may have been on to something. The Commodores have not been able to defend for much of this season and the first half was no different. There is absolutely no reason any team, let alone Siena, should be able to score 46 points in 20 minutes.

Ultimately, it comes down to attitude and effort, and the Saints wanted it more. Graham gave the Commodores a lift, but he can't bring them back by himself. I've yet to see anyone (ideally a senior) take charge on the floor and be vocal. Siena came out punching and Vandy seems to be content taking it.

A few halftime stats worth noting:

Siena: 16-for-27 (59 percent) from the field, including 7-for-13 from 3-point range
Vandy: 14-for-27 from the field, including 2-for-7 from 3-point range
Senior guard Tay Fisher: 13 points (4-for-4 from downtown)
Vandy swingman Shan Foster: 11 points (5-for-9), 4 rebounds

We've already witnessed two upsets here today, and the only way we won't see a third is if the Commodores commit to the defensive end. The reason I'm concerned is that I just don't think Vandy has the personnel to be able to defend at a high level. They're able to mask that deficiency at home because of the crowd, but on road and neutral sites where they have to create their own energy, it's proven to be difficult.

With that said, I'm not ready to rule out these Commodores just yet. As always, the first four minutes are crucial. On another note, I appreciate the comments. Here's to a good second half everyone...

18:10: Siena 48 Vandy 36. Vandy is getting the ball inside to Ogilvy, which is smart, but it can't afford to trade baskets.

16:30: Siena 48 Vandy 38 after an Ogilvy dunk. (Thanks for the post, Justin. The car was great. I appreciate buddy! Are you around during the day tomorrow?)

15:50: Vandy trails by 10. I think it's time for Shan Foster to go off, Mississippi State style.

14:05: Keegan Bell just buried a 3-pointer from the corner to cut the lead to nine.

13:19: Bell followed that up with a pretty turnaround jumper and it's 50-43. Let's get it.

12:35: Hasbrouck just converted an "and-one" and the lead is back up to 10.

12:28: Kevin Stallings just got called for a technical foul for mouthing off to the refs. From across the court it seemed as though he was asking for it by using the expression "that's bullshit." Siena made both free throws. At this stage in the game, that's inexcusable. Stallings should know better, even if the call was awful.

11:58: It's 58-45 Siena.

11:16: 58-47. Still plenty of time, but Vandy's got to get going soon. Back to the technical: Allison, I don't think Stallings got it on purpose, but from my angle, it seemed as though he was asking for it. Stallings is clearly frustrated, but has to exhibit more restraint than that. Those two two points could be huge.

10:10: 63-49 Siena. Vandy needs to get going in a hurry...Panic looks to be setting in as the Siena crowd gets louder.

8:50: A..J. Ogilvy has 16 points to keep the Commodores in it. They're down 12 after Ogilvy's basket.

7:40: 65-51. Not looking good, my friends.

7:15: Dear Seniors,

This is it. Possibly the last seven minutes of your careers. Don't leave with regrets. Leave everything you have on the floor and if it's not good enough, so be it. At least you know you gave it your best shot. Win or lose, it's been a great four years.


6:45: At least Ogilvy came to play. 67-53 Siena.

6:00: Jamie Graham put-back makes it 67-55 (It's all about effort!)

4:45: Vandy down 14...Somewhere Seth Davis is laughing.

3:58: 69-55. Barring some sort of miracle, it's all over. I'm speechless.

3:46: Gordon 3-pointer makes it 69-58.

3:00: 69-60. Down nine, three to go. N.C. State 2004 anyone?

2:47: 71-60 Siena.

2:30: 73-60.

2:10: The facial expressions say it all. The Commodores can't believe it...Siena 75-60.

1:39: Well, the third double-digit seed has won here at the St. Pete Times Forum. Sophomore guard Ronald Moore is soaking it all in. As tough as this loss is for Vandy fans to take, you have to appreciate the underdog.

1:00: Stallings pulled his three main seniors: Alex Gordon, Shan Foster and Ross Neltner. Foster has his head in his towel. Not how they wanted to end their careers obviously, but they shouldn't let this loss determine how they're defined.

FINAL: Siena 82 Vandy 63
Thanks for reading everyone. I'll be back with some closing thoughts following the press conference. The Day of the Cinderella continues...