(Photo by Joe Howell)
VANDERBILT MEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE/RESULTS
Wednesday, Jan. 12: Vanderbilt 73, No. 24 Georgia 66
Saturday, Jan. 15: Tennessee 67, Vanderbilt 64
Wednesday, Jan. 19: Ole Miss at Vanderbilt, 8 p.m. CT, TV: CSS
Saturday, Jan. 22: No. 21/22 Saint Mary's at Vanderbilt, 1 p.m. CT, TV: None (VUcommodores.com webcast)
NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL RANKINGS
After going 1-1 in conference play last week, Vanderbilt remained in the "others receiving votes" category in both major polls released Monday. The Commodores are 34th (46 votes) in the Associated Press Top 25 and 35th (eight votes) in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.
One note: No. 21/22 Saint Mary's, Vanderbilt's opponent on Saturday, jumped into the rankings for the first time this season. The Gaels, winners of 10 straight, are 16-2 with blemishes only to top-10 teams San Diego State and BYU.
The latest NCAA projections weren't posted as of Monday evening. I'll follow-up with a new blog post when the brackets are released.
QUOTES FROM MONDAY'S SEC TELECONFERENCE WITH KEVIN STALLINGS
Listen to teleconference on SECsports.com
Stallings' opening statement...
"We had a tough game on Saturday (at Tennessee) and a good hard, fought game against Georgia on Wednesday. The Mississippi game is a big game for us. We've been a little inconsistent in our play, and a little more inconsistent on the road probably than at home. Ole Miss has great guard play and some very athletic guys up front. They're very good off the dribble and do a lot of good things on both ends of the floor. We're going to have to have really good preparation and a good sound approach in order to beat them. Hopefully we can have two good days of practice to get ready for what we feel is a very good Mississippi team."
On every SEC team already having a loss in league play...
"One, I think it's early and two, I think there are probably not any dominant teams in our league maybe like Kentucky was a year ago. But nevertheless, I expect it to be a battle to the end of the 16-game schedule for the conference championship. We'll just have to wait to see how it plays out. Certainly winning and winning on the road is very difficult, and we're all finding that out."
On if he has any concerns about his team closing out games...
"Yes, I do. It's just something we have to work on and have to try to get better at. We need to play a little bit more intelligently and aggressively. We need to defend better, run better offense, rebound better, take care of the ball better; everything you can imagine we need to do better."
On Festus Ezeli's development...
" ... The first organized team he was on was when he came here as a freshman ... He came here on the condition only that if we redshirted him. He was bright enough to know and articulate that he didn't know what it meant to be on a team. I think his development has occurred later because he got started later. We're very proud of the progress he's made. He's a great kid and deserves all the success he's having."
On if there's a carry over effect on losing games down the stretch...
"Sure, I think it's like anything. If something happens once then you kind of write it off to a one-time occurrence. If it happens twice, now you start wondering if it's becoming a trend ... It's just one of those things that you have to man-up and fix. I think the bright spot for us is that we're showing that we're capable of putting ourselves in position to win against good teams on the road. If we continue to do that, we'll win some games ... We need to get that fixed and play better with leads, play a little better in the second half and at the end."
Tennessean: Andre Walker undecided on senior season
Tennessean: Tennessee Vols rally to defeat Vanderbilt
City Paper: ESPN adds atmosphere to VU-UT games
MORE COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS
The SEC named Dee Bost (Mississippi State) the SEC Player of the Week, and Terrence Jones (Kentucky) the SEC Freshman of the Week.
SECsports.com released its Hoops Notebook with tidbits on each team.
"The Commodores have been outscored 123-102 in the second half in the last three games, and have been outrebounded 70-48, including 37-15 on the offensive glass."ESPN.com's Andy Katz says he's looking forward to the Commodores' matchup with Saint Mary's Saturday. Watch Video
Also, Eamonn Brennan has Nashville as one of the places to be this week in ESPN.com's Weekly Watch:
"This is a sneakily good game, primarily because both Vanderbilt and Saint Mary's -- especially Saint Mary's -- are sneaky-good teams. The Gaels have replaced forward Omar Samhan with an impressive trio of forwards (Mitchell Young, Tim Williams and Kenton Walker). Buoyed by the beautiful shooting of Mickey McConnell and Matthew Dellavedova, Saint Mary's is scoring 1.21 points per possession (adjusted) this season. That's the fourth-most efficient offense in the country, a unit that can utterly destroy you from beyond the arc before you have a chance to realize what's happening."Monday columns: SI.com's Seth Davis' Hoops Thoughts, CBSsports.com's Gary Parrish's Monday Look Back, FoxSports.com's Jeff Goodman's Weekly Recap, and ESPN.com's Andy Katz's Observations from the week that was.
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