Posts Tagged ‘Vanderbilt Commodores’

SEC Tourney Preview

Yes, I know that the logo above might not match what this post is about, but it’s the same gist as the posts from the fall I did each week: a preview of the upcoming weekend. It just happens to be this weekend’s SEC Tournament down in Tampa.

First, two things: one, this thing should NEVER be played in Tampa again. It’s like the ACC playing it’s tournament in Boston (for Boston College) or the Big East playing their’s in Milwaukee (for Marquette). These things are supposed to be played in central locations – Atlanta, Nashville, even Birmingham or Memphis (the SEC Tourney in Memphis would be better than the C-USA Tourney).

Second, don’t even think for a second I’m going to predict who will win this tournament, because neither I nor anybody else has a single clue. Partly because there’s no dominant team and the SEC this year was more or less a bunch of good mediocre teams beating each other up. I might as well put the 12 logos – er, take out Georgia and Arkansas – close my eyes and throw a dart and pick whoever said dart lands on.

Instead, I’ll go through why each team can win it all and why each team can’t win it all. Here’s your bracket and if you want to use the SEC playoffs as a warm-up for your office pool, here’s where you wanna go.

Read the rest of this entry

SEC Basketball Power Poll Ballot: Week 8

Check out the Full Poll Results at Garnet and Black Attack!

Week 8

Through 26 February 2009

Well, I’m running behind as usual, but moving purposefully.  The teams of the SEC (with the exception of LSU, Georgia, and Arkansas who have pretty much landed where they will stay) are engaged in a slugfest to determine who gets the leftovers.  Bearing this in mind here’s my ballot for this week’s SEC Basketball Power Poll.  As always, you can see the final poll results which will be posted over at Garnet and Black Attack Thursday-ish.

Anyway, here’s my ballot for this first week in the SEC Basketball Power Poll, along with a feeble attempt at explaining why I’m such a moron.

In all its radiant glory:

Rk.

Team

Comments

1.

LSU Tigers

The LSU Tigers are the class of the SEC by far — there is no one even close.  Whether they can make a tournament run remains to be seen.

2.

South Carolina Gamecocks

The South Carolina Gamecocks grab second by default — there is no one else really deserving, and I’m not even convinced that they are either.

3.

Florida Gators

The loss to LSU is hardly a black eye considering the Tigers’ strength — and the fact the Florida Gators already had two shiners to begin with.

4. (t)

Kentucky Wildcats

Two losses this week for the Kentucky Wildcats — one to Vandy who then lost to Georgia.  Time to break out the bourbon — it’s gonna be a bumpy March.

4. (t)

Tennessee Volunteers

Up, Down!  Up, Down!

No this isn’t a verbal description of an X-rated movie for the visually impaired, it’s just a really inconsistent season for the the Tennessee Volunteers.

6.

Auburn Tigers

The Auburn Tigers are sort of hard to describe: a little sweetness and a lot of suck.  Oh, and some how in 2nd in the West.

7.

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Losing to Tennessee wasn’t all that bad, but Alabama?  The Mississippi State Bulldogs can do better than that.

8.

Ole Miss Rebels

The Ole Miss Rebels look good some nights and really bad on others.  I wonder how that performance correlates to whether Andy Kennedy takes a taxi to the arena?

9.

Alabama Crimson Tide

After losing four in a row, the Alabama Crimson Tide managed to win back to back games this week, but likely have 3 losses ahead.

10.

Vanderbilt Commodores

First the Vanderbilt Commodores  beat Kentucky — nice.  Then they lose to Florida – alright, not unexpected.  But losing to Georgia?  (vomit noises)

11.

Georgia Bulldogs

Who knew?  The Georgia Bulldogs have managed two good wins lately:  Florida and Vandy.  Can the Dawgs grab a third in the SEC?  Yeah, I’m waiting on that one too.

12.

Arkansas Razorbacks

I thought Georgia would win the “Worst of the Best” award but the Arkansas Razorbacks have never let up in their battle to the bottom.  It takes dedication to fight your way to failure.

So there you have it, my thoughts on the state of SEC Basketball for this week.

The Rest of the Power Poll

Now that you have wasted your time looking at my ballot, go check out what everybody else is saying over at Garnet and Black Attack, where the final poll results will be posted later tonight or early tomorrow.

– So it Goes …Email lawvol


The natives appear restless … or are they just resting?

No Pass Out Checks | Gate 21

Apparently, University of Tennessee students are getting a bit restless these days when it comes to the BasketVols—so restless, in fact, that they’ve decided en masse not to come to the games at all, and have chosen to stay home and take naps (or something along those lines).

According to Basilio only 312 students showed up for the Vols’ game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at the Tommy Bowl (a/k/a Thompson-Boling Arena).  Tennessee currently has nearly 30,000 students, so that adds up to around 1% of the total students bothered to come to the game.  Now admittedly, that game was played on Valentines Day, and maybe “love” was in the air, but only 312 students?  I know from my time on the Hill, there are usually plenty of undergraduates who don’t have dates at any given time (or ever, in the case of some folks).  Unlike football, students don’t have to get a ticket, and need only provide a valid student ID to get into the games, so the cost and annoyance argument is out the door.  Given the fact that students came in throngs last year, it appears that the students have simply gotten fickle and expect a little more from the program than what they are currently receiving.

So why have the students seemingly given up on this team?

I was a student at the University of Tennessee from 1994-1998.  When I arrived on campus as a freshman, the Vols were coming off their worst season in the history of the school.  The 1993-94 Vols won a grand total of 5 games under, then, coach Wade Houston who apparently did not even understand the rules of basketball.  Thus, my expectations were low when the 1994-95 season rolled around, despite the fact that Tennessee had a new head coach, Kevin O’Neill.  Still, I can say with conviction that I attended every home game that season and watched the Vols claw their way to an 11-16 record.

Great basketball, it was not.  Still, I went nonetheless.

Now I am not going to call into question the loyalties of the student body as a whole—we each make our own choices and decide what is important to us personally.  I suppose, given the lengths to which I have gone as a fan of the Big Orange (including running the Gate), I am one of those fans that you can count on to show up anytime the real Gate 21 (into Neyland Stadium) or the doors of the Tommy Bowl are open.  I suppose I am one of those nut-jobs who blindly supports the Vols regardless of the circumstances (this is not entirely true but, for the purposes of this article, it fits).  I guess that is why I always attended the games when I was a student.

Either way, only 312 students at the game is pretty slim pickings, and I am pretty sure — at a minimum — that out of the tens of thousands of students at UT, there are more than 312 students who, like me, are certifiable head-cases when it comes to supporting the Vols.

Read the rest of this entry

Finally, some positive momentum! Florida 63, Tennessee 79

Florida Gators Tennessee Basketball Final Score: Florida 63 • Tennessee 79

Postgame: QuotesBox Score PDF Document


The BasketVols managed to get back in the win column versus the Florida Gators, grabbing a key win in the Tommy Bowl.  The win was the Tennessee Volunteers’ 4th straight and 6th win out of the last 7 games against the Gators.  More importantly, with the Kentucky Wildcats losing back to back games against first Ole Miss and then South Carolina, Tennessee moved back in the running for the SEC East, in a three way tie with Florida and the Wildcats (I know, they are technically a 1/2 game back, but who’s counting?).  At 13-7 (4-2 SEC), the Vols are very much in the mix as they enter the final month of the season.

The key feature of this game was the absence of mental lapses.  This was the first “complete” game the Vols have managed since beating Vanderbilt on the 20th of January.

Hopefully, this was a turning point…

'Scuse me! Comin' through!

The Vols only shot 49.2% from the field, but made up for it by shooting 42.9% from behind the 3-point arc.  The Vols were led offensively by Scotty Hopson, who scored 20 points, followed by Tyler Smith (16), Wayne Chism (12), and Bobby Maze (11).  Defensively, the Orange led in steals 10-5 over the Gators who gave up 18 turnovers.  This was probably the best defensive showing by Tennessee this season.  Of course, it is easier to play god defense when you jump out to a quick lead, which is exactly what the Vols did.

Starting out 6-0, Tennessee grabbed the lead and never relinquished it.  Leading by as much as 23 points in the second half (16:03 remaining), the closest Florida could get from there was 9 points (7:09 remaining).  The Vols responded by putting on more steam and kept it going down the the stretch, securing the 16 point victory.

Player of the Game Scotty Hopson seemed to really turn a corner, shooting 4-6 from 3-point range, along with his 27 minutes of solid defense and “smart” play moving the ball. Tyler Smith and Wayne Chism both did their part, each with 9 rebounds and a stifling presence.  Still, the win was a team effort with each of the Vols contributing in a positive and meaningful way.

TENNESSEE STATISTICS
T. Smith 35 5-14 3-8 3-6 1 9 4 2 0 0 3 16
W. Chism 27 4-10 0-1 4-7 4 9 1 2 2 1 4 12
J. Prince 34 1-2 0-1 0-0 0 2 9 1 2 1 3 2
S. Hopson 27 8-12 4-6 0-1 0 3 0 3 2 0 1 20
J. Tabb 18 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 0 5 1 0 0 2 3
B. Maze 22 4-8 1-4 2-3 0 1 4 0 1 1 2 11
C. Tatum 13 3-6 3-6 0-0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 9
B. Williams 13 2-3 0-0 0-0 0 3 0 2 1 0 3 4
E. Negedu 8 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 2
R.Woolridge 3 0-2 0-1 0-0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 29-59 12-28 9-17 7 32 24 11 10 3 18 79
49.2% 42.9% 52.9%
Stats Courtesy of: CBS Sports

With ESPN’s College GameDay crew in Knoxville, it’s nice to see the men in orange send a message to the nation.  What was that message?

We may be young, but we don’t quit, and we are getting stronger…

After the game, Tennessee Head Coach Bruce Pearl, said that he felt that the Vols were ready to beat Florida.  After losing to the LSU Tigers earlier in the week, he was heartened by the effort he saw getting ready to face the Gators, “After we lost Wednesday to LSU, we practiced hard Monday; they showed me at that time they intended to move on.

Apparently, Bruce Almighty was right.

Now, if the Vols can capitalize on the momentum over the Gators and push forward as they get ready to take on Arkansas, Auburn, and Georgia, they can put themselves in a good position to compete for the SEC East title, with the overall SEC Title still within reach.  The Vols face the Arkansas Razorbacks 13–6 (1–5 SEC) on Wednesday, 4 February at 8:00 pm in Fayetteville.

– So it goes …About Lawvol


Image Courtesy of: ESPN.com / AP – Wade Payne

2009 SEC Basketball Power Poll Ballot: Week 3

Check out the Full Poll Results at Garnet and Black Attack!

Week 3

Through 21 January 2009

Well, I’m beginning to conclude that this may, in fact, be a down year for the SEC.  With the exception of Kentucky, none of the teams seem to be able to find any consistency at all.  Bearing that in mind, here’s my attempt to read the tea-leaves for this week—in the form of my ballot for the SEC Basketball Power Poll.  As always, you can see the final poll results which will be posted over at Garnet and Black Attack Thursday-ish.

In all its radiant glory:

Rk.

Team

Change

Comments

1.

Kentucky Wildcats

It was a strong week for the Kentucky Wildcats with wins over the Vols, Dawgs, and War Tig-les.

Right now, they look like the cream of the crop in the SEC.

2.

Tennessee Volunteers

After getting hammered by the Cats last week, the Tennessee Volunteers bounced back with wins against the Cocks and the Dores.  If they can continue to play defense, this team could gel into something impressive.

Memphis, however, will test them.

3.

LSU Tigers

Up 1

The LSU Tigers are on a bit of a roll, winning 3 in a row and their 17th at home.  Next up is Xavier, which they should win, followed by the Vols in Knoxville which will be much tougher.

4.

Florida Gators

Down 2

Well, the  Florida Gators are obviously beatable, as South Carolina made clear.  While Nick Calathes is good, hitting your free throws to win is better.

5.

South Carolina Gamecocks

Up 1

The South Carolina Gamecocks pulled off an unlikely win against the Gators on Tuesday.  At 13-4 / 2-2, are they for real?

6.

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Up 3

The Mississippi State Bulldogs may be the dark horse of the SEC West.  Though they lost to LSU, the Bulldogs have the potential to be strong in March.  Their next two games, against hapless Georgia and Ole Miss, make that even more likely.

7.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Up 1

Well, Alabama Crimson Tide Coach Mark Gottfried is in the news again courtesy of Kevin Steele, but not necessarily the way he hoped.  I’m thinking Kentucky is a loss, but what do I know?

8.

Vanderbilt Commodores

Down 1

The Vanderbilt Commodores are a bit of an unknown, but looked very weak against the Vols.  In fact, they looked dreadful.  Facing Florida this week is not likely to improve things.

This could be a long season in Nashville.

9.

Arkansas Razorbacks

Down 4

After coming out with wins against top 10 teams, the Arkansas Razorbacks have gone stone cold.  They have a chance, however, against Auburn and perpetually listless Alabama.  I suggest they take it before the wheels come off completely.

10.

Auburn Tigers

Auburn has two winnable games coming up.

Arkansas can be tough if they choose, but lately they haven’t so there’s a chance.  Texas-Pan American, on the other hand, has been mistaken as an airline.

11.

Ole Miss Rebels

The Ole Miss Rebels are looking at three tough games in a row: at South Carolina, Kentucky in Oxford, and then a contest at Miss St. Furthermore, Coach Andy Kennedy just isn’t feeling the vibe the way he used to.

If I were a betting man … I think I just get drunk and shoot myself.

12.

Georgia Bulldogs

The Georgia Bulldogs have lost 4 in a row.  With games at Florida and Alabama this week, it’s likely to soon be 6.

Maybe Dennis Felton should have stayed in Washington after the inauguration.

So there you have it, my thoughts on the state of SEC Basketball for this week.

The Rest of the Power Poll

Now that you have wasted your time looking at my ballot, go check out what everybody else is saying over at Garnet and Black Attack, where the final poll results will be posted later today…maybe.

– Go Figure …Email lawvol


Signs of Improvement

The View From the Hill | Gate 21

Thanks Kentucky?

After the utter embarrassment of watching one guy score 54 points on you in your own arena – something that won’t stop being talked about this year, so get used to it – Tennessee has made a bit of a bounce-back. Now beating South Carolina was pretty much expected. Last night though? Keep in mind last year’s team – the best in school history – lost in Memorial Gym.

I know Vandy lost Shan Foster and they are lacking in athletes, but I never got the feeling watching the DVRed game (intramural hoops game at 10 pm…) late Tuesday night that the Vols were going to lose. Perhaps the Kentucky loss truly was the wake-up call that can get this team playing to its potential…

No doubt Wayne loves playing Vandy

From the hot start courtesy of Wayne Chism to the constant answers to any signs of a run that Vandy made, that was a very solid win for Tennessee last night. Much was made of the players’ only meeting following last week’s loss to Kentucky during the ESPN telecast, and I think it’s safe to say it’s had some sort of effect on this team.

Now there have been moments of poor play. Many will point out nearly blowing a 15-point lead to South Carolina late. I don’t get too caught up in games like that where one team dominates and the team trailing makes a late run to make it really close. If not for Teddy Valentine and Co., the Chickens probably aren’t within 20 at half anyways. Wayne has as many points as I did, and I was in the student section.

Speaking of Wayne, Vanderbilt and softy A.J. Ogilvy are his biotches. 20 points, 7 boards, and a sweet T last night, and he was really the spark plug, even though he didn’t start. Kudos to Bruce (yes, he can actually coach people) for realizing Wayne’s recent history of early foul trouble in Nashville and not starting him. Brian Williams filled in nicely in both games, as Carolina had nobody big enough to keep him off the glass and Ogilvy might be softer than the softest of the softy big-men, Pau Gasol. Going back to Chism’s technical, if Vandy was normal and put their benches on the sidelines like everyone else, I really highly doubt he gets T’ed up. Plus, he was just yelling in Kevin Stallings’ face…Stallings deserves it…

Tyler Smith has had slow starts in each of his last two games, but has been dominant in the second half of the past two games. That’s good to see from the team’s leader – it was mentioned during the ESPN telecast that Tyler had made a point that he needed to watch his facial expressions/body language, aware of its effects on his teammates. I thought that was interesting and it’s good to see.

More of this please, Mr. Hopson

The two biggest stories from these past two outings have undoubtedly been the improved defense and Scotty Hopson gaining some confidence. I believe Devan Downey had four points at half in that game, and most of Carolina’s points came from the foul line (as I mentioned before, that was a poorly officiated game). Vandy couldn’t throw it in the ocean from the beach last night, but Tennessee’s defense had something to do with that.

You may have also noticed that Tennessee hardly pressed either Carolina or Vandy. I know it’s a Bruce Pearl staple and all that, but given this group’s past defensive issues, if not pressing continues to help improve the halfcourt defense, I’m not sure we’ll see the press this year – at all.

I had said on numerous occasions that Hopson had been settling too many times for an outside shot and needed to attack and do what he’s clearly the best at doing – getting to the rim. He has done that these past two games, and you can see him gaining some confidence offensively. His development is crucial in the ceiling of this team, so hopefully he can build on these past two performances going forward.

The Vols now get set for a big week – Memphis, LSU and Florida, all home games (which of course I love). The Memphis game is always one I personally circle every year – for reasons I’ll explain tomorrow – and LSU is rolling, having won three SEC games in a row in routs, and Florida is Florida. Obviously these three games are all crucial, and they won’t be easy. Hopefully, however, the glimpses of improvement the guys have shown the past two games will continue.


There’s More!

Shame on me for neglecting the exciting things that have been going on with Tennessee football the past however long it’s been since I posted about them last. Obviously the staff has now been completed, as you are very well aware of by now. I won’t go too in-depth on each of the new coaches, but what can you say? Lane Kiffin told us to be patient – and he delivered.

Stealing Lance Thompson from Nick Saban and Alabama was quite the joy, because (a) he can recruit and (b) we stole him from Alabama. The recruiting ability of this staff is without a doubt just ridiculous. Whether or not these guys – outside of Monte – can actually coach is still to be seen, but I see absolutely no reason for any Tennessee to not be absolutely excited about the future of Tennessee football with this staff.

I saw him! I finally saw him!

The recruiting work these guys have put in in just a couple of weeks is something I have never seen before. And the scary and exciting thing is that they have been making waves as well – getting visits from committed prospects and getting in on players who had been unknowns under the previous staff. Give these guys a full year to do this? How can you not be pumped out of your mind about the future of Tennessee football?

On a bit of a side note, I did actually see Lane Kiffin at the South Carolina game – with the rest of the staff and the recruits as they paraded in during first half media timeout – and can confirm his existence. Prior to that I honestly wasn’t even sure if the man existed, seeing as I had never seen the guy around campus or introduced at basketball game I attended – at all. Seriously, he could have been an imaginary puppet figure for all I knew. But hey, when he’s busy traveling all over the country recruiting, I can take never seeing the guy.

These next two weekends of official visits will be just amazing. Quite possibly the two biggest weekends that I’ve remembered since I began following recruiting a few years ago. Hopefully the hoops guys can win and make the atmosphere leave an impression on these guys. They think the crowd is passionate about their basketball team? This is a football school after all…

All of that said, amidst the excitement, let’s temper things a bit. I’m expecting at least a consensus top 15 class this year, and anything would be gravy, given the coaching change and getting in late with most/all of these prospects. As for next season, yes, I know the schedule’s manageable: the four non-conference games should be gimmes, add in the annual November punching bags (Dores and Cats) and winnable home games against Auburn and South Carolina and you have 8 wins right there. Yes, I’m getting WAY ahead of myself…

Eight wins seem pretty doable, but we know we have a ways to go and that it’s going to take time. Lane asked us to be patient in the hiring of his staff and he delivered. I suggest we be patient in letting Lane and Co. build this thing back to a championship level. Can they do it? I think they can and I certainly don’t think I’m in the minority – but it’s going to take time.

Let’s just let them do their work, heaven knows they’ve been doing it tirelessly the past few weeks…

GO VOLS!

About Home Sweet Home... … to me.


Images Courtesy of: Mark Humphrey / (AP) DaylifeAmy Smotherman Burgess / KNS

SEC Football Power Poll: Final 2008 Season Poll Ballot

Check out the Full Poll Results at Garnet and Black Attack!

Final 2008 Season Poll

Well, as we try to dig out of the snow that has covered everything in my neck of the woods, I am trying to get caught back up.  Yes, I admit it I’ve been lazy these past few days and haven’t posted a darn thing.

Back in the saddle, here we go…

Yes sports fans, the 2008 college football season is in the books.  We here at Gate 21, along with fellow fans of the other SEC teams hated to see it go so much that we drug out our final voting for as long as we could.  Try as we might, however, football season is over.  Thus, here is my last ballot in the SEC Power Poll for the 2008 season, along with an feeble attempt at explaining why I’m such a moron.

In all its radiant glory:

Rk.

Team

Change

Comments

1.

Florida Gators

1

No matter how much I dislike them or how hard I might try, the Florida Gators are the National Champions, and thus are deserving of the No. 1 spot in the final poll, no questions asked.

Sucks, don’t it?

2.

Ole Miss Rebels

2

Pre-season, I’d have said you were crazy if you told me that the Ole Miss Rebels would be my No. 2 team at season’s end, but they earned it.

With their strong finishing victory against Texas Tech, their 9-4 overall record, their amazing improvement over last year, and their having been the only team to beat Florida they earned it.

Nice job by the Right-Reverend Nutt.

3.

Georgia Bulldogs

No change for the Georgia Bulldogs.  Sure, they beat Michigan State, but it wasn’t pretty and they were supposed to win.  A solid season, but a disappointing one nonetheless.

On another note, I’m sure gonna miss Larry Munson, though…

4.

Alabama Crimson Tide

3

Well, the Alabama Crimson Tide took notched two lop-sided losses since the last regular season ballot.  The Florida loss was (in my mind) expected.  The Utah blow-out was not.  Thus, the Tide falls a few spots for a lapse in focus.

Still, a nice season for a team full of freshmen and sophomores.

5.

Vanderbilt Commodores

2

The Vanderbilt Commodores were supposed to be average this season.  They were supposed to putz along, business as usual.  They were supposed to lose to Boston College.  So much for “supposed tos.”

Here’s to Vandy, to showing everyone they still know how to Show their Gold!

6.

(tie)

Kentucky Wildcats

The Kentucky Wildcats won their bowl game against East Carolina — earning them their first win against a team with a winning record.  That’s hardly impressive, and they hang on to their spot by the narrowest of margins.

6.

(tie)

LSU Tigers

2

Most folks thought that Georgia Tech would give the LSU Tigers fits.  In the end, the only fits were the withdrawal pains of the Tiger faithful when they quit selling beer at the Georgia Dome at the start of the 4th quarter.

Nice finish to a rollercoaster season.

8.

South Carolina Gamecocks

3

The South Carolina Gamecocks hoped to end their late-season slide against Iowa.  Nice idea, but one which simply failed to come together.  Still, considering they started with 2 conference losses, not all that bad.

Hey, at least they got to go to a bowl.

9.

Tennessee Volunteers

I had half a mind to give the Tennessee Volunteers a bump up due to all the excitement surrounding new coach Lane Kiffin, but I couldn’t in good conscience do that.

Next year, however, should be fun in Knox-vegas.

10.

Mississippi State Bulldogs

“There’s nothing to see here, please disperse.  The cow-bell clanging you hear is all a figment of your imagination.”

This was a tough one for the Mississippi State Bulldogs, and I hated to see Sly Croom—my pre-season coach of the year—go, but he did about as well as he could given the situation he inherited.

11.

Arkansas Razorbacks

1

The Arkansas Razorbacks showed some real improvement during the middle of the season, but faded at the end.  Still, Bobby Petrino didn’t quit mid-season to go coach the German National Swimming team, so there’s that, too.

12.

Auburn Tigers

1

Yeah, I dropped the Auburn Tigers a spot.  Any fan base who attacks their new coach before he even coaches a game earns that due to the divisive nature of their actions.  Of course, I understand they blame the AD.  Still, a tough situation for new head coach Gene Chizik.

Well, there you have it.  My final ballot for 2008.  Hopefully, the powers that be will ask me back for another round in the fall.  Either way, it has been fun indeed.  Do not, however, be dismayed—I’ll be posting my SEC Basketball Power Poll ballot in the next day or so.

The Rest of the Power Poll

Now that you have wasted your time looking at my ballot, go check out what everybody else is saying over at Garnet and Black Attack, where the final poll results will be posted Wednesday-ish.

– Go Figure …Email lawvol


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