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    Video: Stallings' postgame press conference

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    Men's basketball head coach Kevin Stallings comments on the Commodores' 83-75 overtime loss to South Carolina. (Big thanks to Cory from the Gamecocks' SID office for capturing this footage). Watch Video

    ESPN's Davis: Taylor 'best defensive player'

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    Jeffery Taylor gets notoriety for his high-flying athleticism on offense (and rightfully so). 

    But the junior forward also gets it done on the other end of the court, often locking down the opponent's best offensive weapon.

    ESPN's Hubert Davis gave Taylor high praise for his defensive efforts during College GameDay this morning, according to a tweet from the SEC.

    @SEC_Hoops: "ESPN's Hubert Davis just named Vandy's Jeffery Taylor the best defensive player in the nation so far this year on College GameDay"
    Taylor also earned a spot on FoxSports.com's 13-man 2010-11 Dream Team roster, released Friday. Jeff Goodman wrote:
    "Love his athleticism, ability to defend and improved perimeter shot. Taylor can guard multiple positions, is deadly in transition and is shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc."
    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Twitter reaction to Franklin's radio visit

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    Football head coach James Franklin's surprise call to 104.5's 3 Hour Lunch Friday afternoon (listen to interview) sparked a positive response on Twitter.

    Here were some of the tweets:

    @Ian_Rhodes_WSMV: New Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin had me fired up for Vandy Football listening to him on the Radio today

    @jwyattsports: I liked the enthusiam of new Vanderbilt football coach James Franklin on @3HL1045

    @carterpat23: Just heard james franklin on @3HL1045. Vandy got a good hire

    @notsolegato: James Franklin is enthusiastic, if nothing else. #vandy

    @sunfiregalaxie: james franklin may be all talk, but I like what he is saying so far! #godores #3hrlunch

    @ChadCaldwell24: "We're going to storm the beaches and burn the boats" -James Franklin

    @Kenny_J_52: @3HL1045 Awesome he already knows about the show. Im so excited about the future of Vandy football. Go dores. Great get.

    @ozzthegreat: Wasn't a fan of the hire, but interview changed by mind

    @dashyree: "Success is our only option."--James Franklin, @vandyfootball coach. I like this guy more every day.

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Tennessean's MBB preview: Vanderbilt at South Carolina

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    WIth a trip to Columbia to start league play today, Jeff Lockridge looks back at Vanderbilt's road success a year ago. The Commodores went 6-2 in SEC road games, their best mark since 1993.

    Lockridge also says that John Jenkins will be back after missing one game with a concussion, but Andre Walker is unavailable with a severe ankle sprain.

    Read more at The Tennessean

    Also, check out the following links for official game previews with notes:
    Vanderbilt  |  South Carolina

    Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. CT at Colonial Life Arena. You can watch the action on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com. Joe Fisher and Tim Thompson will provide the radio call on 97.1 RQQ and vucommodores.com. For more information on how to follow the action online, go here.

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Tinsley: 'Always room for improvement'

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    Junior guard Brad Tinsley talked with reporters on Thursday about the Commodores' league opener with South Carolina in Columbia.

    On the team heading into SEC play...
    "We're just coming in and trying really hard and working on some of the things that we're not so good at right now. There's a lot of room for improvement. A lot of us are ready for the competition in front of us.

    On what to expect from South Carolina...
    "They're very athletic and like to go up and down a lot. They play that style of play very well. It's definitely a tough place to play."

    On if the Commodores have found their rhythm...
    "I'd say we're in a pretty good rhythm right now but there's always room for improvement. We need to keep getting better offensively and defensively and hopefully we can carry this momentum (into Saturday)."

    On VU's success in SEC road games last year...
    "I think it takes a definite level of toughness to win on the road especially in a tough league like this. You just have to stick together because you're the only ones in the arena rooting for yourselves. I think the level of toughness and experience level also, just knowing what to expect in different scenarios. There's a lot of tough places to play on the road here."

    On the long layoff between games...
    "I think it's a good thing just because you can step back from the season and evaluate what happened in the preseason, good and bad. It lets you get ready for league play and helps you work out those kinks you had problems with in the preseason."

    On if the SEC is ready to see what Festus Ezeli can do...
    "He worked very hard in the offseason and it's paying big dividends for us right now. He's just so big inside. He's still learning a lot in only his fourth or fifth year of playing organized basketball. It's pretty incredible. I think he's definitely ready for it."

    On facing South Carolina...
    "Every single one of these teams in this league is capable of beating anybody. That's what's so great about this league; home or away anybody can beat anybody so you can't take anybody lightly. It's definitely not what we're doing. We're going into a tough environment and we just have to play our game."

    On what it would mean to start SEC play with a win...
    "Any win in the SEC is huge and the road wins are even bigger. It would mean a lot."

    On how the team has played on the road this year...
    "Pretty well. We've only had two true road games, if you don't count Puerto Rico. I thought we played well at Middle Tennessee. We played well at Missouri, just had a lot of mishaps down the stretch. I think our young guys will learn quickly just how tough it is to win on the road in the SEC."

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    ESPN.com's O'Neil: Commodores 'undervalued'

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    ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil published her SEC primer on ESPN.com today and labeled Vanderbilt as a team worth watching during conference play.

    O'Neil focused her preview on the SEC's off-the-court issues ("the Land of Melodrama" as she termed it), but credited Vanderbilt for being "quietly steady amid the bedlam within their league, losing just twice -- on a neutral court to West Virginia and at Missouri."

    She lists Kevin Stallings as the coach she'd want drawing up a last-second play and also thinks the Commodores will make the NCAA Tournament.

    "Chronically undervalued, the Vanderbilt coach gets good but not crazy good talent every season. Yet every season his team is in the thick of things," O'Neil stated.

    Click Here to Read More

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Commodores Around the Web Friday (Jan. 7)

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    Keep up with the new blog at vucommodores.com/blog. You can also follow me on Twitter @BarcaBlog.

    FEATURED STORY

    Women's Basketball: Vanderbilt ends two-game skid (VUcommodores.com)
    "I was glad to be winning again," Head Coach Melanie Balcomb said. "We'd lost two in a row so I'm glad we put two halves together. We did a lot of work since that last game and all I could focus on was trying to keep them focused on what their task was, and not focused on what happened the last two games."


    COMMODORES AROUND THE WEB

    Men's Basketball: Tough road awaits Dores with start of SEC play (City Paper)

    "Every single one of the teams in this league is capable of beating anybody," guard Brad Tinsley said. "That is what is so great about the league -- home or away, anybody can beat anybody. So you can't take anybody lightly. That is definitely not what we are doing. We are going into a tough environment and we just have to play our game."

    Men's Basketball: SEC East has all the power (Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: McClellan discusses redshirt (Tennessean)

    "I just thought that given the depth of the ros­ter, it would be the best deci­sion for me to work on my skills and get bet­ter every­day out here with the team we have," McClellan said. "The deci­sion thus far has been great. I feel like I'm impro­ving at a rapid rate and I'm loo­king for­ward to next year."

    Men's Basketball: Power Rankings- No. 19 Vanderbilt (ESPN.com)

    Men's Basketball: Drama never far away in SEC (ESPN.com)

    Men's Basketball: SEC might not be as bad as it looks (Lexington Herald-Leader)

    Women's Basketball: Vanderbilt women finally hold a lead (Tennessean)

    Baseball: Stan Ziomek receives honor from Babe Ruth Hall of Fame (MassLive.com)


    IN THE PROS

    NFL: Cutler excited about making NFL playoff debut (ChicagoBears.com)

    "There are going to be some jitters," Cutler said. "I think if there are no jitters you don't care that much. Guys are going to have some pre-game jitters and stuff, but the good thing about having a young team is we're just going to go out there and play. We have nothing else to lose."

    VUCOMMODORES.COM NEWS

    Quick Slant: Suggestion box overflowing

    Men's Basketball: VU opens SEC play at S. Carolina

    Football: Stokes a finalist for Bowden Award

    Swimming: VU plays host to Kansas Saturday
    "Kansas is a really strong team that is very well coached," head coach Jeremy Organ said. "We do not know what to expect from the swimmers this week but we've been training hard. Erika Deardorf has looked great in the water lately so look to her to post some good times this weekend."

    Bowling: Hamilton battling for Team USA Trials title

    Women's Tennis: Dillon defends title in Ireland


    VIDEOS OF THE DAY


    Women's Basketball: Russian Bar Trio performance at halftime



    Men's Basketball: Stallings previews South Carolina game

    Women's Basketball: Vanderbilt-Mississippi State highlights

    Women's Basketball: Balcomb, Holzer on VU win


    SONG OF THE DAY

    Alan Thicke "Sweaty and Hot"

    I'll always remember Alan Thicke as Mike Seaver's dad on Growing Pains... or as the composer and singer of the theme for Diff'rent Strokes.

    But his song "Sweaty and Hot" takes the cake. Canadian pop at it's finest.

    Watch Video (Embedding disabled)


    CONNECT WITH US TODAY

    Follow the Commodores on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.




    Video: Stallings' Thursday press conference

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    Watch Coach Stallings' press conference from Thursday afternoon (below).

    Also, Boggles posted the South Carolina game preview on VUcommodores.com.



    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Thursday updates on Jenkins and Walker

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    I just returned from Vanderbilt's media session in Memorial Gym. Here's the latest on the injury status of starters John Jenkins (concussion) and Andre Walker (sprained ankle):

    Jenkins, VU's leading scorer at 17.8 ppg, is scheduled to practice for the first time this afternoon since suffering a concussion last Saturday. How Jenkins responds to drills over the next two days will determine if he plays in the conference opener at South Carolina Saturday.

    As for Walker, head coach Kevin Stallings said he'd be surprised if the junior forward played this weekend. "We're probably looking at some more time with him," Stallings said. "We'll just have to wait and see. I don't want to put a timetable on his injury because I don't want to limit him or give him too much leeway. We'll get him going when he's healthy."

    Jenkins and Walker missed the Commodores' 80-52 win over Davidson Sunday.

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Ezeli ready for 'bigger, badder competition'

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    Junior center Festus Ezeli talked with reporters on Thursday about the Commodores' conference opener with South Carolina in Columbia.

    On the excitement of starting conference play...
    "Conference play is always exciting each year because it's bigger, badder competition, so we're just ready to show what we got."

    On being ready for conference play...
    "Yes, we are. We still have two more days of preparation before it starts so hopefully we can get some more work done before it starts. We're working hard every day."

    On the long layoff between games...
    "We like it because we get a lot of practice time. It's a chance for the coaches to get right what we've been doing wrong in the games."

    On if Vanderbilt has stayed under the radar...
    "We just do what we can. We're playing hard and tough and that's all that really matters right now. I don't think the recognition really matters. Eventually it will come but right now we're just focused on the game."

    On the Commodores' rhythm...
    "We have a very versatile team and everybody's playing their role. That's the first thing we talked about when the season started. We can be a really good team if everyone plays their role and plays it well. That's just what we work on as a team."

    On the importance of getting a win in the SEC opener...
    "Every game counts in the conference and it's big, so it's very important."

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog