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commodore club

    Hoops Roundup: Rankings, bracketology (Feb. 7)

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    (Photo by John Russell)


    Last Week
    Tuesday, Feb. 1: Florida 65, Vanderbilt 61 (OT)
    Saturday, Feb. 5: Vanderbilt 78, South Carolina 60

    This Week
    Thursday, Feb. 10: Alabama at Vanderbilt, 8 p.m. CT, TV: ESPN2
    Saturday, Feb. 12: Kentucky at Vanderbilt, 12 p.m. CT, TV: CBS


    For the third consecutive week, Vanderbilt has been ranked in both major polls.

    The Commodores (16-6, 4-4 SEC) are currently 23rd in the Associated Press Top 25 and 24th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

    VU's next two opponents also appear in the rankings-- Alabama (15-7, 7-1) is receiving votes and Kentucky (16-6, 4-4) sits at No. 18.

    BRACKETOLOGY UPDATE's Joe Lunardi listed Vanderbilt a No. 6 seed for the fifth week in a row.'s Andy Glockner also placed VU as a No. 6 seed.

    Listen to the teleconference on

    Stallings' opening statement...
    "We're hoping to get more healthy. Lance Goulbourne has been suffering from an ankle injury and has not been very effective recently. We're hopeful of being able to get him some rest and healthier by game time on Thursday.

    "We felt good about how we played on Saturday against South Carolina. We've got a very difficult week this week with the first place team coming in on Thursday. So, we're just going to do all we can this week to prepare and play an obviously very good Alabama team."

    On doing TV interviews during media timeouts...
    "That was something that was brought up at the league meetings that I think ESPN had the desire to do. We were encouraged as a group to be willing participants, so we agreed that we would be. There are some coaches that love to see themselves on camera, but in general, I don't think it's something coaches would prefer to do. But we agreed to it, so that's what we got. It's a little bit of a run-off of the things that the NBA is doing. It was just a concept that might make our game more enjoyable for people that were watching it on television.

    On John Jenkins' season...
    "He's really a remarkable, remarkable player, in my opinion. He's not the fastest guy, and certainly not the highest jumping guy, but he knows how to play. He knows how to use screens, he knows how to get himself open. He's got more game off the dribble than I think people tend to think, and he can make a variety of shots. I think one thing that helps him is that he's got a great shot fake. When he lifts up, first of all, you have to respect it because he's such a great shooter. If he gets you out of position, then he can draw a foul or get around you. For a guy that's not the most athletic guy in the world, he really maximizes the skill set that he has. He's been incredibly consistent and very, very valuable."

    On the recruitment of Festus Ezeli...
    "We saw him playing AAU basketball the summer prior to the fall he enrolled at Vanderbilt. He made several recruiting visits and there were other schools that were very interested in him; very high-level schools like Florida, Ohio State, Connecticut, Boston College. He basically came, enjoyed the visit, and liked the guys that were here. He essentially came on the condition that we redshirt him. He was going to go to a prep school and as he put it back then 'to learn how to be on a team.' We convinced him that he could learn how to be on a team here. So then, he agreed to come, but only on the condition that we redshirt him, and so that's what we did."

    On Ezeli's progression since coming to Vanderbilt...
    "His progress has been really incredible. He was very raw; the work ethic that you have to have to succeed at this level was completely new to him. He had trouble getting through an individual workout when he first got here. He's turned into one of our best workers. He's got a great spirit. He's extremely coachable and he really cares about not letting his teammates down. He gives you his best effort every day and as a coach that's all you can ask."

    MORE COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS SEC Players of the Week Weekly Watch Week 11
    Places to be this week...
    Thursday, Nashville: "Alabama is 7-1 in the SEC. I did not expect to be writing that sentence at any point this season, but expectations or not, there it is. The Crimson Tide have a handful of easy games left on their schedule -- thanks SEC West! -- but two real road tests stand out. The last (and perhaps most crucial) comes March 1 at Florida. The first is Thursday night, when the Tide takes its impressive, physical defense to Vandy's always tough Memorial Gym." Andy Katz's Observations from the week Eamonn Brennan's Observations from the week Seth Davis' Hoops Thoughts Andy Glockner's Bubble Watch
    Vanderbilt (16-6, 4-4; RPI: 19, SOS: 19)
    "Dear refs, John Jenkins doesn't airball threes. Now that we got that out of the way, Vandy is far from in the barn as far as the NCAAs but also has excellent opportunities to move up. The 'Dores still get Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky all at home (plus a trip to Lexington late in the season). The fun starts this week with league leader Alabama coming to Nashville before the Wildcats come calling."
    GW: North Carolina (N), Saint Mary's
    BL: Arkansas Gary Parrish's Weekend Look Back Jeff Goodman's Weekly Recap
    Week's Top Matchups: 6. Alabama at Vanderbilt, Thursday
    "I never would have figured that Alabama would be involved in any game to watch this season, but the Crimson Tide sit atop the SEC and really could make a statement with a win in Nashville."

    Florida 7-2
    Tennessee 5-3
    Georgia 5-4
    Vanderbilt 4-4
    Kentucky 4-4
    South Carolina 4-4
    Alabama 7-1
    Mississippi State 4-4
    Arkansas 4-5
    Ole Miss 3-5
    LSU 2-6
    Auburn 1-8

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