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    The Final Barca Blog

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    I hate goodbyes. I don't like closure. And moving on is sometimes hard to swallow.

    But I didn't want to leave my position with Vanderbilt Athletics without thanking Commodore fans for making the last eight years of my life an incredible experience. Thank you.

    I was lucky enough to have a job that gave me a behind-the-scenes look at the Commodores--something most fans would trade for in a heartbeat. I always tried to remember that thought each day, so I documented as much as I could for you guys, especially during tournament trips.

    Nothing meant more to me than seeing a positive fan reaction to one of our initiatives. While I didn't get everything right, I fought hard to do as much as I could for you. Yes, I crashed and burned at times, but feel like there were several victories for the betterment of the program.

    The best part of my job? Working with Vanderbilt's tremendous student-athletes and interacting with passionate fans who have stood by the program even when it was tough. Your dedication is unrivaled.

    I won't be a stranger, either. I have accepted a position at Vanderbilt's Peabody College and still plan to be a regular at Commodore events to cheer on the best kids in collegiate sports. And who knows, maybe Frank the Dancin' Dog will do a reunion tour.

    If you see me, please say hello (and not goodbye).

    --------------------

    I'd like to also include some of my favorite memories -- in no particular order -- since joining athletics in the fall of 2003:

    **Victory in Knoxville. Cutler to Bennett. Everyone knows what that moment meant.

    **The 2008 football team breaking the 26-year bowl drought with a win over Boston College on a freezing night "on the banks of the Cumberland River" (as Joe Fisher called it). Grown men crying after the final whistle said it all.

    **90,000+ Georgia fans silenced in Sanford Stadium after Bryant Hahnfeldt's game-winning field goal. As I walked to the locker room, the only sound I could hear were 100 rowdy Commodores celebrating with Coach Johnson.

    **ESPN GameDay coming to Vanderbilt. What a special day it was to see the Commodore community unite in front of a national viewing audience.

    **Getting to be in the football war room the night before National Signing Day this year to see Coach Franklin and his staff seal the deal on their first recruiting class. It was such a rush; felt like a scene out of a movie.

    **Sitting in Arco Arena when Derrick Byars popped his jersey in front of the VU section after the Dores' double-overtime win against Washington State. That was an "elite" team in my opinion.

    **Watching the Commodores rally past NC State in a local sports grille. It was standing room only and everyone in the place was hugging after the miraculous comeback in the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Matt Freije took over in the final minutes and Mario Moore hit Corey Smith on a backdoor pass that had us jumping up and down.

    **Shan Foster's 42-point game on senior night, a performance I'll never witness again in my lifetime. I have to watch the clip over and over again to know it really happened.

    **Being at Virginia as the baseball team captured their first ever regional championship in 2004. Hats off to Coach Corbin, D.J. and the rest of the staff for making Vanderbilt one of the top names in households across the country.

    **Waiting at Hawkins Field for an hour after the Commodores' win over LSU to find out if VU had clinched the 2007 SEC regular season championship. Several hundred fans hung around, too, just to be a part of the moment.

    **Hearing the Black and Gold chant rock Hawkins Field past midnight at the 2007 Regional with fans lined up on every floor of the 25th Avenue garage just to catch a glimpse of the action. Still gives me goose bumps.

    **More: MBB topples No. 1 Florida and their 17-game win streak; Three WBB SEC Tournament titles (Duluth trip sticks out to me); MBB's 40-point win over Kentucky (Neltner's winning); Shea Robin and Jason Cunningham star in VU's four-run rally in the bottom of the 10th in the 2007 SEC Baseball Tournament semifinals; Foster's last-second putback vs. Tennessee; Mario's 30-footer at the buzzer against Oregon; Balcomb's first victory over UT; David Price and Casey Weathers fan 22 in VU's 11-inning regional classic vs. Austin Peay; Connor Harrell steals a homer and squeezes in the winning run in Louisville Regional.

    The list could go on and on. I know I've left out a bunch of moments, but I think you get the point. I was blessed to work for the Commodores during a very special period in school history.

    If you'd like to keep in touch with me, I'll still have my Twitter account @BarcaBlog.

    I'll leave you with a few of my trademark videos of the day.

    1. Ah yes, the memories... even if cats creep me out. (no tears please)




    2. A couple of my closest friends reminisce about the good times...




    3. I wish I knew what these WWF superstars claim to know...




    4. Finally, if you're ever having a bad day, this tune will do the trick. Frank's go-to song:

    Commodores Around the Web Wednesday (Feb. 16)

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    COMMODORES AROUND THE WEB

    Men's Basketball: Commodores value Taylor's defense (Tennessean)
    "Sometimes people tend to focus on offensive productivity," Kevin Stallings said. "Just like John (Jenkins) bails us out on offense, Jeff bails us out on defense because of his athleticism and defensive tenacity. I don't think there's ever a situation where we have had to overcome him."
    Men's Basketball: Vanderbilt at Georgia game preview (Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: Ezeli's effort to improve makes big difference (City Paper)
    "(Festus) is the one that has taken charge of his free throws and gotten better at those," Stallings said. "Obviously, the improvement from last year is remarkable."
    Men's Basketball: Dores travel south seeking sweep (InsideVandy)

    Men's Basketball: Jenkins on All-Underappreciated Team (SI.com)

    Men's Basketball: Fast Break with John Jenkins (SECsports.com)

    Men's Basketball: Big home game for Dogs tonight (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

    Men's Basketball: Jenkins latest in long line of sharpshooters (Commercial Appeal)

    Baseball: Journal with Drew Fann (College Baseball Daily)

    Swimming: Swimmers head to SEC Championships (InsideVandy)


    VUCOMMODORES.COM NEWS

    Rod Williamson: Putting SEC Honor Roll into perspective

    Football: Franklin to Appear in Memphis Thursday

    Men's Basketball: ESPNU All-Access debuts Wednesday

    Men's Basketball: VU travels to Georgia Wednesday

    Men's Basketball: 104.5 FM interview with Kevin Stallings

    Men's Basketball: Hoops Roundup: Rankings, Bracketology

    Women's Basketball: 'Dores look for third straight road win

    Baseball: Vanderbilt picked to finish second in East

    Lacrosse: No. 11 VU hosts No. 3 UNC Wednesday

    Soccer: Signee Taylor Elliott

    Swimming: Dores to compete at SEC Championships

    Swimming: SEC Championships Blog


    VIDEOS OF THE DAY

    Men's Basketball: CBS previews Vanderbilt-Georgia game

    Men's Basketball: 'Jenkins is a flamethrower' and more





    Women's Basketball: Chantelle Anderson jersey retirement




    PHOTO OF THE DAY

    Donny Turnbaugh is blogging on his trip to the 2011 SEC Women's Swimming Championships this week.




    SONG OF THE DAY

    Paul Simon and Spud Webb would have schooled Sidney Deane and Billy Hoyle in a pickup game. Also, love the cameos by Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane, John Madden, Mickey Mantle and more.

    Paul Simon "Me and Julio Down By The School Yard"




    CONNECT WITH US TODAY

    Follow the Commodores on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


    Videos: 'Jenkins is a flamethrower' and more

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    Four new videos have been posted to our VUcommodores' YouTube page including Kevin Harlan calling John Jenkins a 'flamethrower' in the Kentucky game and Brad Tinsley hitting the game winner against Alabama. Enjoy and share.

    Video: Jenkins is a flamethrower



    Video: Bradley Buckets beats Bama



    And more TV highlights from those two games...

    Video: Vanderbilt 81, Kentucky 77



    Video: Vanderbilt 81, Alabama 77

    Hoops Roundup: Rankings, Bracketology (Feb. 15)

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    (Photo by John Russell)

    VANDERBILT MEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE/RESULTS  view

    Last Week
    Thursday, Feb. 10: Vanderbilt 81, Alabama 77
    Saturday, Feb. 12: Vanderbilt 81, Kentucky 77

    This Week
    Wednesday, Feb. 16: Vanderbilt at Georgia, 6 p.m. CT, TV: ESPNU
    Saturday, Feb. 19: Vanderbilt at Auburn, 3 p.m. CT, TV: SEC Network


    COMMODORES MOVE UP IN RANKINGS


    With two big conference wins last week, Vanderbilt jumped to its highest ranking of the year in both major polls.

    The Commodores (18-6, 6-4 SEC) are 18th in the Associated Press Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

    Kentucky (No. 22) and Florida (No. 14/15) also appear in the rankings.


    BRACKETOLOGY UPDATE


    ESPN.com's Joe Lunardi moved Vanderbilt up one spot to a No. 5 seed.

    SI.com's Andy Glockner also placed VU as a No. 5 seed.

    And CBSsports.com's Jerry Palm gave the 'Dores a No. 5 seed as well.


    NEWS ON THE COMMODORES


    VUcommodores.com: ESPNU All-Access on the Commodores
    ESPNU airings: Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. CT; Friday, Feb. 18 at 2:30 p.m. CT; Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. CT; and Saturday, March 5, at 5 p.m. CT.
    VUcommodores.com: VU travels to Georgia Wednesday

    VUcommodores.com: CBS video preview of VU-UGA matchup

    VUcommodores.com: 104.5 Interview with Kevin Stallings

    VUcommodores.com: Jenkins nabs 2nd SEC Player of Week

    VUcommodores.com: Replay of Kevin Stallings' Call-in Show

    Chris Dortch, Blue Ribbon: Fast Break on John Jenkins

    SECsports.com: Monday teleconference with Kevin Stallings

    Andy Glockner, SI.com: Jenkins on All-Underappreciated Team


    MORE COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS

    ESPN.com: Weekly Watch Week 12
    More teams that impressed us: Vanderbilt
    "The Commodores don't like to do anything easy. In a span of three days, Vandy clipped Alabama and Kentucky at home, both coming down to the final possessions. Alabama coach Anthony Grant and Kentucky coach John Calipari looked exasperated at one point -- and that's what Memorial Magic will do to coaches."
    ESPN.com: Andy Katz's Observations from the week

    ESPN.com: Eamonn Brennan's Observations from the week

    ESPN.com: NCAA Bubble Watch
    Teams that should be in: Vanderbilt [18-6 (6-4), RPI: 15, SOS: 11]
    "After Thursday night's thrilling home win over Alabama, the Commodores' at-large chances were already looking strong. After Saturday's win over Kentucky, those chances are such that it would take a massive February collapse for Kevin Stallings' team to miss the tournament. The one thing Vanderbilt really needed was a marquee win, and as far as the RPI is concerned, it's hard to do much better than beating Kentucky. Provided the Dores don't pile up too many egregious slip-ups the rest of the way -- Saturday's game at Auburn could be particularly dangerous and damaging -- they'll have no problem getting to the Big Dance."
    SI.com: Seth Davis' Hoops Thoughts

    SI.com: Andy Glockner's Bubble Watch
    Should be in: Vanderbilt [18-6, 6-4; RPI: 17, SOS: 13]
    "The 'Dores got a hard-earned home sweep of Alabama and Kentucky by identical 81-77 scores to slip into second place in the East. If they can hold onto that spot, they'll get a first-round bye in the SEC tournament, which would be a nice bonus. It won't be easy, though. Four of the last six are away from Memorial Gym and the two home games are Tennessee and Florida."
    GW: North Carolina (N), Saint Mary's, Kentucky
    BL: Arkansas

    CBSsports.com: Gary Parrish's Weekend Look Back

    FoxSports.com: Jeff Goodman's Weekly Recap

    FoxSports.com: Power Rankings


    SEC STANDINGS  view
    East
    Florida 9-2
    Vanderbilt 6-4
    Georgia 6-4
    Tennessee 5-5
    Kentucky 5-5
    South Carolina 4-6
    West
    Alabama 8-2
    Mississippi State 5-5
    Arkansas 5-6
    Ole Miss 4-6
    LSU 2-8
    Auburn 2-8

    Commodores Around the Web Monday (Feb. 14)

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    COMMODORES AROUND THE WEB

    Men's Basketball: Jenkins, Vandy enjoy 3-day weekend (Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: Jenkins takes text message to heart (Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: Lockridge's AP top 25 (Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: Jenkins' star turn carries Commodores (City Paper)

    Men's Basketball: Jenkins' 32-point performance leads VU (InsideVandy)

    Men's Basketball: Is Vandy's Jenkins SEC MVP? (Times Free Press)

    Men's Basketball: Kentucky hits another roadblock at VU (Herald-Leader)

    Women's Basketball: UT bounces back from deficit to beat VU (Tennessean)

    Women's Basketball: VU can't withstand Lady Vols' surge (City Paper)

    Baseball: Gray latest great ace at Vandy (College Baseball Insider)


    VUCOMMODORES.COM NEWS

    Men's Basketball: Vanderbilt 81, Kentucky 77

    Women's Basketball: Tennessee 65, Vanderbilt 57

    Men's Tennis: Vanderbilt defeats No. 22 Michigan 5-2

    Men's Tennis: 'Dores top No. 23 Washington 5-2

    Women's Tennis: VU defeats No. 13 Notre Dame 4-3

    Women's Tennis: Dores fall to No. 8 Michigan 4-3

    Lacrosse: Dores defeat Presbterian 22-3

    Bowling: Bowlers finish second in Delaware

    Track: VU competes at Tyson Invitational


    VIDEOS OF THE DAY

    Men's Basketball: Vanderbilt-Kentucky highlights and interviews



    Women's Basketball: Vanderbilt-Tennessee highlights and interviews




    PHOTO OF THE DAY

    John Russell's cool photo of John Jenkins saluting the student section following his career day against Kentucky. View more images




    SONG OF THE DAY

    Outstanding performance by Mumford & Sons, Avett Brothers, and Bob Dylan on the Grammy Awards last night.




    CONNECT WITH US TODAY

    Follow the Commodores on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


    Saturday morning hoops articles (Feb. 12)

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

    No. 18 Kentucky at No. 23 Vanderbilt - 12 p.m. CT, Memorial Gym
    TV: CBS (Kevin Harlan and Bill Raftery)
    Radio: 97.1 RQQ (Joe Fisher and Tim Thompson), VUcommodores.com
    Follow the action live online - click here

    AROUND THE WEB

    Tennessean: SEC schedule raises red flag

    Tennessean: Vanderbilt-Kentucky: Game preview

    City Paper: No time for VU to rest on its laurels

    CBSsports.com: Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt preview

    Herald-Leader: Liggins presents difficult test

    Herald-Leader: Cats in search of second SEC road win

    Courier-Journal: Road is unkind to Wildcats


    OFFICIAL GAME PREVIEWS AND NOTES

    VUcommodores.com: Vanderbilt hosts Kentucky Saturday

    UKathletics.com: UK hits the road again


    NATIONAL NEWS

    Andy Katz: Weekend Watch (ESPN.com)

    Joe Lunardi: NCAA Bracketology- Vanderbilt No. 6 seed (ESPN.com)

    ESPN.com: NCAA Bubble Watch (ESPN.com)

    Gary Parrish: Weekend look ahead (CBSsports.com)

    Seth Davis: Weekend forecast (SI.com)

    Luke Winn: NCAA Power Rankings (SI.com)


    SATURDAY'S SEC SCHEDULE  live scores
    No. 18 Kentucky at No. 23 Vanderbilt, 12 p.m. CT, CBS
    LSU at Arkansas, 12:30 p.m. CT, SEC Network
    Ole Miss at Alabama, 3 p.m. CT, SEC Network
    Georgia at South Carolina, 3 p.m. CT, SEC Network
    Tennessee at No. 17 Florida, 5 p.m. CT, ESPN
    Mississippi State at Auburn, 6 p.m. CT, FSN

    SEC STANDINGS  view
    East
    Florida 8-2
    Vanderbilt 5-4
    Georgia 5-4
    Tennessee 5-4
    Kentucky 5-4
    South Carolina 4-5
    West
    Alabama 7-2
    Mississippi State 5-4
    Ole Miss 4-5
    Arkansas 4-6
    LSU 2-7
    Auburn 1-8

    Commodores Around the Web Friday (Feb. 11)

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    COMMODORES AROUND THE WEB

    Football: Q & A with Coach James Franklin (InsideVandy)
    "The next month really is a time for us to start working on our program and our players here," Franklin said. "I'm excited because it gives me the opportunity to get to know the guys that are already on our roster ... We had our first morning workout (Wednesday) from 5:45 to 6:45, and it was like chaos. They responded really well to it. Now, we're breaking up offense and defense, putting our playbooks together, and getting organized for spring ball. It's really the specific, hands-on football development, and making sure everyone understands the message I want."
    Men's Basketball: VU finishes plays, polishes off Alabama (Tennessean)
    "We made plays at the end," Kevin Stallings said. "Tinsley made some huge plays for us. He just continues to be better and better."
    Men's Basketball: Post-game comments from 81-77 win (Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: VU wins a heart-stopper at home (City Paper)
    "The thing that we've hung our hats on all year is our ability to defend, and we had a tough time [Thursday] defensively," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "Vanderbilt did a great job."
    Men's Basketball: Dores prepare to enact revenge against UK (InsideVandy)

    Men's Basketball: 3 points on Alabama-Vandy (Huntsville Times)

    Men's Basketball: 'Memorial Magic' could magnify road woes (UKathletics.com)

    Men's Basketball: Cal, players preview Vandy game (UKathletics.com)

    Women's Basketball: VU ready for return date with Tennessee (InsideVandy)


    VUCOMMODORES.COM NEWS

    History Corner: Ron Bargatze recruited Vandy's greats

    Football: Replay: Live Chat with David Williams

    Men's Basketball: Vanderbilt 81, Alabama 77‬

    Men's Basketball: Joe Fisher's postgame show, ‪Alabama‬

    Men's Basketball: Fans encouraged to Wear Black to UK game

    Women's Basketball: Vanderbilt 69, Georgia 59‬
    "I'm so proud of how much the team has learned," Melanie Balcomb said. "I kept thinking back to Kentucky when they made the same run and we fell apart. Our body language was just terrific and didn't change. I think we know and have the confidence that we've been looking for. We have an identity now and we are stronger."
    Baseball: 104.5 FM interview with Tim Corbin

    Track & Field:
    VU travels to Tyson Invitational

    Men's Tennis: Off the court with Charlie Jones

    Bowling: Commodores off to Delaware


    VIDEOS OF THE DAY

    Football: 'War Room' on Signing Day



    NCC: Are you on board?



    Men's Basketball: Highlights and interviews from VU's win over Alabama




    PHOTOS OF THE DAY

    Bradley Buckets comes through in the clutch (view more of Steve Green's gallery)




    And don't forget to Wear Black Saturday for the Kentucky game (design by Banks Shepherd)




    SONG OF THE DAY

    Blessid Union Of Souls "Hey Leonardo"




    CONNECT WITH US TODAY

    Follow the Commodores on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


    Commodores Around the Web Wednesday (Feb. 9)

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    COMMODORES AROUND THE WEB

    Men's Basketball: Walker, Goulbourne practicing for VU (Tennessean)
    "I would say its 50-50 for me whether (Walker) plays on Thurs­day night or not," Stallings said.
    Men's Basketball: Bob Dudley Smith adds hall of fame to scrapbook (Tennessean)
    "I think it's a wonderful honor and I think that I'm lucky. I tell my wife, Jean, that I feel special now. Now somebody else has made some kind of deduction about me," said Smith.
    Men's Basketball: Taylor talks team and family (InsideVandy.com)

    Baseball: VU works to go above preseason rankings (City Paper)
    "It is great to get a little respect from the media and different people associated with college baseball," third baseman Jason Esposito said. "But you want to be No. 1, not fourth or fifth. That is what our sights are set on."
    Baseball: Vandy athletes catch the Twitter bug (InsideVandy.com)

    Baseball: VU gets back in the swing of things (InsideVandy.com)


    VUCOMMODORES.COM NEWS

    Women's Basketball: All tickets allocated for UT game

    Women's Basketball: 'Dores travel to Georgia

    Women's Basketball: Angela's Angle, Feb. 9

    Baseball: Commodores continue season preparations

    Baseball: Drew Fann's College Baseball Daily Blog

    Soccer: Signee Taylor Richardson


    SONG OF THE DAY

    Since we're on "snow patrol" in Nashville...




    CONNECT WITH US TODAY

    Follow the Commodores on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


    Hoops Roundup: Rankings, bracketology (Feb. 7)

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    (Photo by John Russell)

    VANDERBILT MEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE/RESULTS  view

    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


    COMMODORES REMAIN IN RANKINGS

    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

    ESPN.com's Joe Lunardi listed Vanderbilt a No. 6 seed for the fifth week in a row.

    SI.com's Andy Glockner also placed VU as a No. 6 seed.


    QUOTES FROM MONDAY'S SEC TELECONFERENCE WITH KEVIN STALLINGS
    Listen to the teleconference on SECsports.com

    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

    SECsports.com: SEC Players of the Week

    ESPN.com: 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."
    ESPN.com: Andy Katz's Observations from the week

    ESPN.com: Eamonn Brennan's Observations from the week

    SI.com: Seth Davis' Hoops Thoughts

    SI.com: Andy Glockner's Bubble Watch
    SHOULD BE IN
    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

    CBSsports.com: Gary Parrish's Weekend Look Back

    FoxSports.com: 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."

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

    Commodores Around the Web Monday (Feb. 7)

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    COMMODORES AROUND THE WEB

    Men's Basketball: Taylor's defense improves offense (Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: VU taps its reserve player strength (Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: Post-game comments from Vandy's win (Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: Multiple marksmen carry Commodores (City Paper)

    Men's Basketball: Dores rebound after tough losses (InsideVandy.com)

    Football: Q&A with Vice Chancellor David Williams (InsideVandy.com)

    Football: Caldwell moves on with return to home state (City Paper)


    IN THE PROS

    MLB: Minor comes home again (Tennessean)


    VUCOMMODORES.COM NEWS

    Football: Live Chat with David Williams Wednesday

    Men's Basketball: Vanderbilt 78, South Carolina 60

    Men's Basketball: Submit questions for Joe Fisher's mailbag

    Women's Basketball: Vanderbilt 103, Florida 97 (2OT)

    Men's Tennis: VU sweeps Memphis at home

    Women's Tennis: 'Dores sweep Princeton

    Women's Tennis: Vanderbilt defeats Yale, 6-1

    Swimming: VU loses heartbreaker to Tulane

    Track and Field: 'Dores compete at two meets

    Rod Williamson: Quick Slant- Remarkable recruiting effort


    VIDEOS OF THE DAY

    Men's Basketball: Vanderbilt-South Carolina highlights and interviews - Watch Videos








    SONG OF THE DAY

    Oasis - D'You Know What I Mean?




    CONNECT WITH US TODAY

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    Saturday morning hoops articles (Feb. 5)

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

    South Carolina at No. 23 Vanderbilt - 12:47 p.m. CT, Memorial Gym
    TV: SEC Network, ESPN3.com (Dave Baker and Will Perdue)
    Radio: 97.1 RQQ, VUcommodores.com
    Follow the action live online - click here


    AROUND THE WEB


    Tennessean: SEC homestand will be key for Vandy

    Tennessean: Vanderbilt-South Carolina: Game preview

    Tennessean: Stallings, players size up South Carolina game

    City Paper: Ezeli looks to increase contributions


    OFFICIAL GAME PREVIEWS AND NOTES

    VUcommodores.com: VU begins three-game homestand on Saturday

    GamecocksOnline.com: Gamecocks travel to No. 23/24 Vanderbilt on Saturday


    NATIONAL NEWS

    Andy Katz: Weekend Watch (ESPN.com)

    Joe Lunardi: NCAA Bracketology- Vanderbilt No. 6 seed (ESPN.com)

    ESPN.com: ESPN Power Rankings (ESPN.com)

    Gary Parrish: Weekend look ahead (CBSsports.com)

    Seth Davis: Weekend forecast (SI.com)

    Luke Winn: NCAA Power Rankings (SI.com)


    SATURDAY'S SEC SCHEDULE  live scores
    South Carolina at No. 23 Vanderbilt - 12:47 p.m. CT (SEC Network)
    Auburn at Georgia - 12:47 p.m. CT (SEC Network)
    Mississippi State at LSU - 3 p.m. CT (SEC Network)
    Alabama at Tennessee - 4 p.m. CT (Fox Sports South)
    Ole Miss at Arkansas - 5 p.m. CT (ESPN2)
    No. 10 Kentucky at Florida - 8 p.m. CT (ESPN)

    SEC STANDINGS  view
    East
    Florida 6-2
    Tennessee 5-2
    Kentucky 4-3
    South Carolina 4-3
    Georgia 4-4
    Vanderbilt 3-4
    West
    Alabama 6-1
    Arkansas 4-4
    Mississippi State 3-4
    Ole Miss 2-5
    LSU 2-5
    Auburn 1-7

    Around the Web: National Signing Day (Feb. 3)

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    Vero Beach prep star Larry Franklin inks with the Commodores Wednesday. (Photo: Sam Wolfe/TCPalm.com)

    Note: Go to National Signing Day Central on VUcommodores.com for signee highlight videos, bios and more.



    Associated Press: Franklin's class highlighted by QB
    "I don't know if it could've went any better really," James Franklin said. "We filled a lot of our needs, especially at the quarterback position and on the offensive line, defensive back, defensive line. Really did some good things, and I think we got faster, which is something we really wanted to do."
    Tennessean: Vanderbilt fills need at quarterback
    "In the last 48 hours, it was exciting," Franklin said. "We got on a roll the other night and the commitments were coming, and the commitments kept coming. The coaches were flying around, yelling, screaming. As we all know, a lot of times you work hard but you don't always see the dividends."
    Tennessean: The one way to tell if Vandy's recruiting has improved

    Tennessean: SEC crushes its opponents in February
    "As proud as I am with what we have done this year, we've still got a long way to go,'' Franklin admitted. "I think every time you set a goal and have an expectation and you reach that goal, now you have to set a new goal, a new standard, a new expectation.
    Tennessean: Signing Day photo gallery

    City Paper: Quarterback competition guaranteed by Franklin's class
    "If you don't want to be a competitor, this isn't the place for you. We are going to have the most competitive environment on this campus -- academically and athletically. If you're afraid of competition, don't come to Vanderbilt," Franklin said. "They understand that. Just like I told them next year I am going to recruit somebody to beat them out."
    InsideVandy.com: National Signing Day slideshow

    ESPN.com: Vanderbilt adds quarterback help

    ESPN: VU announces 2011 signing class

    Virginian-Pilot: Lafonte Thourogood picks the Commodores
    "I had to do what was best for me," Thourogood said. "That's what all of the coaches wanted, so I did what I had to do.

    "At first, (Coach Beatty) was telling me that it would be a good school for me. But in the end, he said whatever is best for me. Him saying that meant a lot to me. I sat back and prayed about it and thought about it a lot. And at the end of the day, (prayers) told me to go to Vanderbilt."
    Cape Coral Daily: Jimmy Stewart headed to Vanderbilt

    Tennessean: Joe Townsend chooses Vanderbilt
    "Vanderbilt offered me, I sat down, prayed about it and talked to my parents," Townsend said. "It's the (Southeastern Conference), it's close to home, it's a top-notch education."
    Tampa Tribune: Josh Grady going to Vanderbilt

    St. Petersburg Times: Josh Grady makes decision based on facts
    " ... at the end of the day, you have to understand that this is not a four- to five-year commitment," Grady said. "At the end of the day it's a 40- to 50-year commitment."
    Video: Josh Grady talks about picking Vanderbilt

    TC Palm: Larry Franklin impressed with Vanderbilt
    "They have a very good academic background, a great coaching staff that wants to turn the program around, and the players are motivated," Franklin said. "They've got the right mindset to win, and I feel like it's a great group of guys who are a lot like me. We're going to work hard to get on top."
    TC Palm: Larry Franklin read for next step

    Detroit Free Press: Conor Hart is Vandy bound
    "I just felt it was the place for me," Hart said. "I met the new coach (James Franklin) two weeks ago, and I think he'll bring a lot of energy to the program. He said they were going to change the culture and that he still wanted me bad. The staff has great energy. They are a bunch of young guys who have great energy and they want to win. I definitely wanted to be a part of that.
    Miami Herald: Jerron Seymour excited about Vanderbilt
    "I'm excited to come in to a program and try to turn them around and get things going," Seymour said. "I made up my mind Wednesday and called up the coaches and told them. An opportunity to play in the SEC is something you just can't pass up."
    OakRidger.com: Jose Valedon signs with Vanderbilt
    "I fell in love with the city and it was where I was born," Valedon said. "It is the perfect place to live. It's the SEC and you can't beat that. Plus the academics are unparalleled."

    Armwood quarterback Josh Grady answers media questions after announcing his decision to attend Vanderbilt. (Photo: Bill Ward/TBO.com)

    Commodores Around the Web Tuesday (Feb. 1)

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

    Note: We'll have complete coverage of football national signing day starting at 7 a.m. CT Wednesday on VUcommodores.com. We'll post player bios with videos, quotes, photos and more on our NSD Central page. Also, follow @VandyFootball on Twitter to get instant notification for each signee when the NLIs come in.


    COMMODORES AROUND THE WEB

    Football: Commodores complete defensive staff (Tennessean)

    Football: Interview with defensive coordinator Bob Shoop (Tennessean)

    Football: Former foes come together to coordinate defense (City Paper)

    Football: Coach Franklin visits Greek Row (InsideVandy.com)

    Football: Franklin announces defensive staff (ESPN.com)

    Men's Basketball: Injuries hamstring Vanderbilt's rotation (Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: Redshirts unusually plentiful for VU (City Paper)

    Men's Basketball: Injury issues continue to compound (City Paper)

    Men's Basketball: Duffy: Winning on the road isn't easy (NY Times)

    Men's Basketball: Hundley has basketball in his blood (Herald-Leader)

    Baseball: Journal with Drew Fann (College Baseball Daily)


    VUCOMMODORES.COM NEWS

    Football: Franklin announces defensive hires

    Football: Quotes from Franklin's announcement

    Men's Basketball: Vanderbilt-Florida game preview

    Women's Basketball: Angela's Angle, Feb. 1

    Lacrosse: VU picked 2nd in ALC


    VIDEOS OF THE DAY

    Football: Franklin's press conference on defensive staff - Watch Video



    Baseball: Dance-Off with Jack Armstrong, Navery Moore and Mark Lamm - Watch Video and Vote




    SONG OF THE DAY

    Seal - Bring It On




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    Saturday men's hoops articles (Jan. 29)

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

    Arkansas at No. 19 Vanderbilt - 5 p.m. CT, Memorial Gym
    TV: FSN, ESPN3.com (Dave Neal and Barry Booker)
    Radio: 97.1 RQQ, VUcommodores.com, Sirius 214, XM 199
    Follow the action live online - click here


    AROUND THE WEB


    Tennessean: Jenkins makes most of film session

    Tennessean: Game preview: Arkansas at Vanderbilt

    City Paper: Tough talk inspired Taylor to take flight

    Arkansas News: Arkansas now at full strength


    OFFICIAL GAME PREVIEWS AND NOTES


    VUcommodores.com: VU hosts Arkansas Saturday

    Hogwired.com: Razorbacks take on Commodores


    NATIONAL NEWS

    Andy Katz: Weekend Watch (ESPN.com)

    Eamonn Brennan: ESPN Power Rankings (ESPN.com)

    Gary Parrish: Friday look ahead (CBSsports.com)

    Seth Davis: Weekend picks (SI.com)

    Luke Winn: NCAA Power Rankings (SI.com)

    Video: Jeffery Taylor silences Starkville

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    How do you end an 18-year drought in Starkville? Exhibit A



    And one bonus clip.

    If anyone knows how to lose a defender, it's John Jenkins. Shake and Bake




    For more Vanderbilt-Mississippi State game highlights, click here.

    Video: The Future Starts Now

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    February 2 is just around the corner.

    We launched National Signing Day Central on VUcommodores.com with details on our online coverage for the day of events.

    One new addition... Coach Franklin will host a public gathering on campus that evening to meet fans and discuss his first Commodore signing class. For more information, go here.

    And while you're waiting until next Wednesday, check out the promo video courtesy of Wes.

    Watch Video

    Commodores Around the Web Wednesday (Jan. 26)

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

    FEATURED STORY

    Men's Basketball: Historical and magical Memorial Gym (VUcommodores.com)
    "I never felt like it was the balconies that I built, I felt like it was the balconies that we built," said Clyde Lee. "We had such a great team. It was very rewarding to be able play with those balconies and seeing them all sold out. We had a good team and it was nice the way the city accepted it."

    COMMODORES AROUND THE WEB

    Men's Basketball: Vandy's rise mirrors junior forward's (Tennessean)
    "The team has needed me more for sure, but that's been a year-long thing," Lance Goulbourne said. "This year I'm more aggressive and assertive, and I'm being tougher. I'm embracing the fact I'm a junior now. My time is running out and it's really time to step up."
    Men's Basketball: No. 19 Vanderbilt healing up (Associated Press)
    "We've weathered the storm in games honestly better than I thought we might. ... If we can get Fes and Steve closer to 100 percent health-wise, I'll feel good about our team going forward because then we'll have what we're used to," Kevin Stallings said.
    Men's Basketball: SEC Fast Break with Chris Dortch (SECsports.com)

    Men's Basketball: Vanderbilt basketball observations (Bob McClellan)

    Men's Basketball: Assistant basketball coaches talk longevity (Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: Goulbourne gets first SEC honor (City Paper)

    Men's Basketball: Road games test Commodore mettle (InsideVandy.com)

    Men's Basketball: SEC teams meriting more credit (Times Free Press)

    Men's Basketball: Bulldogs don't play with heart, says Bost (Clarion Ledger)

    Football: Long-snapper knows NFL is long shot (Tennessean)

    Baseball: Second baseman now knows patience, humility (City Paper)
    "I feel like it helped me grow a lot as a person," Riley Reynolds said. "It helped me learn the work habits I need to have to get better, to not just be content with what I was at freshman year but to get better, and that you always have to work for what you want. You are never going to get handed anything."

    VUCOMMODORES.COM NEWS

    Men's Basketball: 104.5 FM with Kevin Stallings

    Men's Basketball: Goulbourne wins SEC Player of Week

    Men's Tennis: 2011 signing class ranked No. 1
    "We are very excited about this talented group of players," said head coach Ian Duvenhage. "We can't wait for them to be part of our program in the fall."
    Men's Tennis: Off the court with Charlie Jones

    Women's Tennis: `Dores rise in the rankings

    History Corner: Historical and magical Memorial Gym

    Joe Fisher: Tuesday's 97.1 Update


    SONG OF THE DAY

    The Simpsons - Do the Bartman




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    Follow the Commodores on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


    Monday Hoops Roundup (Jan. 24)

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    (Photo by Steve Green)

    VANDERBILT MEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE/RESULTS

    Last Week
    Wednesday, Jan. 19: Vanderbilt 84, Ole Miss 74
    Saturday, Jan. 22: Vanderbilt 89, No. 21 St. Mary's 70

    This Week
    Thursday, Jan. 27: Vanderbilt at Mississippi State, 6 p.m. CT, TV: ESPN2
    Saturday, Jan. 29: Arkansas at Vanderbilt, 5 p.m. CT, TV: FSN


    COMMODORES RETURN TO RANKINGS

    After going 2-0 last week including a 19-point rout of No. 21 Saint Mary's, Vanderbilt vaulted back into both major polls Monday.

    The Commodores are 19th in the Associated Press Top 25 (their highest ranking in 2010-11) and 22nd in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

    It marks the third time Vanderbilt has been in the top 25 this season. The Dores were ranked for consecutive weeks by the AP on Dec. 27 and Jan. 3, but fell out of the polls on Jan. 10 after suffering an overtime loss at South Carolina.


    GOULBOURNE NAMED SEC PLAYER OF THE WEEK

    From Boggles' Press Release:
    Junior forward Lance Goulbourne claimed the Commodore's fourth SEC Player of the Week award this season and the first of his career after his two double-doubles last week against Ole Miss and St. Mary's. Read More


    BRACKETOLOGY UPDATE

    ESPN.com's Joe Lunardi listed Vanderbilt a No. 6 seed for the third week in a row.

    SI.com's Andy Glockner dropped VU from a No. 5 seed to a No. 6 seed.


    QUOTES FROM MONDAY'S SEC TELECONFERENCE WITH KEVIN STALLINGS
    Listen to the teleconference on SECsports.com

    Coach Stallings' opening statement...
    "We're coming off a good week where we played pretty well in both games. We're kind of glad to have an extra day this week because we've been banged up a little bit physically, especially our big guys. We're hoping we can get healthier by the time we head to Starkville.

    "I was pleased with our play last week and pleased with how we kind of gutted it out given the fact we were less than 100% physically. We enter this week in a reasonably good frame of mind. From a playing standpoint, we've had a personal tragedy. Chris Meriwether's mother passed away this morning. From a personal standpoint, we're all hurting right now."

    On handling difficult situations on his call-in show...
    "We do take live callers. I probably handle it about like every other coach does. You're going to get some suspect comments and questions at times. I think that it's good if people can remember that these guys are 18-22 year-old guys. They are on scholarship, but it's not like they're getting paid for a living to do this. I think that sometimes fans, and even coaches, remember that these kids are doing the best they can. I think it's frustrating sometimes when you care about the players, you care about their families, when you hear them criticized. They already get enough criticism from their coaches, generally speaking. It's probably that protective thing that we don't really like to hear anyone else criticize them because we know what they face on a day to day basis any way.

    "I usually do better (with questions) after a win than a loss. You just deal with it the best you can ... I don't make it a habit of getting confrontational with callers. People are entitled to their opinion. I do think there's a time and a place that it's okay for the coach to remind people that if things are getting too negative, that these young men are still real young, and they're doing the best that they can.

    " ... My call-in shows are awesome. Our people are terrific here. Even when things were bad, our callers are very good. I don't have many problems that way." 

    On Mississippi State...
    "They have had games where they looked absolutely awesome. I know Saturday wasn't one of those games. They've looked awesome at times since they've had this group together. I said at Media Day back in October that I thought they would have the chance to win the league. That's what I thought of them, and I haven't come off it. I think they're very, very talented. Obviously, they're getting a later start on the opportunity to gel than most of the other teams in the league, but they have very, very talented players and guys that have been around there for awhile. They've got experience, they've got talent, so I don't know what else you can ask for. But like I said, they have gotten a later start on this group being a team, so that's the only thing probably keeping them from being a top 20 team.

    "You have to prepare for who they are: a very talented and experienced team. The preparation isn't any different. I think it's just when they've had enough time together, it all starts clicking. They're obviously a team as the deeper this season goes, the more that people will have to reckon with them."


    MORE COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS

    ESPN.com: Weekly Watch Week 9
    More performances that wowed us...
    "Lance Goulbourne, Vanderbilt: Entering last week, the junior forward had zero double-doubles in his Vandy career. He now has two. In double-digit victories over Ole Miss and Saint Mary's, Goulbourne threw up a 14 and 16 against the Rebels and a 15 and 10 against the Gaels."
    ESPN.com: Andy Katz's Observations from the week

    SI.com: Seth Davis' Hoops Thoughts

    SI.com: Andy Glockner's Bubble Watch
    SHOULD BE IN
    Vanderbilt (14-4, 2-2; RPI: 18, SOS: 24)
    "The 'Dores picked up a sneaky quality nonleague win, rolling past Saint Mary's after beating Ole Miss earlier in the week. That the Gaels may be Vandy's best win of the season leaves some reason for pause. They need to handle things at Miss. State and home to Arkansas this week before a trip to Gainesville."
    GW: North Carolina (N), Saint Mary's
    BL: None
    CBSsports.com: Gary Parrish's Monday Look Back

    FoxSports.com: Jeff Goodman's Weekly Recap


    SEC STANDINGS
    East
    Florida 4-1
    Kentucky 3-2
    Georgia 3-2
    South Carolina 3-2
    Vanderbilt 2-2
    Tennessee 2-2
    West
    Alabama 4-1
    Mississippi State 2-2
    LSU 2-2
    Arkansas 2-3
    Ole Miss 1-4
    Auburn 0-5

    Commodores Around the Web Monday (Jan. 24)

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

    FEATURED STORY

    NFL: Don't question Cutler's toughness (SI.com)
    "Jay was hurt," said Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. "We don't question his toughness. He's tough as hell. He's one of the toughest guys on our football team. He doesn't bitch, he doesn't complain when he gets hit. He goes out there and plays his [expletive] off every Sunday. He practices every single day. We don't question his toughness."

    COMMODORES AROUND THE WEB

    Men's Basketball: Commodores shut down hot-scoring squad (Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: VU outshoots 'great' shooting Saint Mary's (City Paper)

    Men's Basketball: Nothing but 'net for Duffy (InsideVandy.com)

    Men's Basketball: Stallings: At times, MSU has looked 'absolutely awesome' (Clarion Ledger)

    Women's Basketball: UK women surge past Vanderbilt (Herald-Leader)


    IN THE PROS

    NFL: Don't question Cutler's toughness (SI.com)

    NFL: Question Smith, not Cutler (Chicago Tribune)

    NFL: Cutler's critics are way out of line (USA Today)

    NFL: Cutler really isn't a jerk, Johnson says (Post and Courier)


    VUCOMMODORES.COM NEWS

    Men's Basketball: Goulbourne wins SEC Player of the Week

    Men's Basketball: Vanderbilt 89, St. Mary's 70

    Men's Basketball: Joe Fisher's postgame show, St. Mary's

    Women's Basketball: Kentucky 78, Vanderbilt 68

    Men's Tennis: 'Dores earn sweep on opening day

    General: VU to provide career connections to athletes


    VIDEOS OF THE DAY

    Men's Basketball: Saint Mary's highlights and interviews - Watch Videos

    Women's Basketball: Kentucky highlights and interviews - Watch Videos

    Women's Basketball: VU locker room tour with Jordan Coleman - Watch Video




    SONG OF THE DAY

    Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds - Two Step (Live)




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    Follow the Commodores on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


    Commodores Around the Web Saturday (Jan. 22)

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

    COMMODORES AROUND THE WEB

    Men's Basketball: Dores able to hang onto assistants (Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: Vanderbilt-Saint Mary's: Game preview (Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: St. Mary's takes its winning streak on the road (San Francisco Chronicle)

    Men's Basketball: Seth Davis' Weekend Picks (SI.com)

    Men's Basketball: Weekend Watch (ESPN.com)

    Men's Basketball: Gary Parrish's Friday Look Ahead (CBSsports.com)

    Football: From Bill Wade to Jay Cutler, Vandy dandy takes Chicago (FanHouse.com)

    Football: Cutler lauds OL for improvement (ChicagoBears.com)

    Football: Bennett has fond memories of Charles Woodson (Green Bay Press Gazette)


    VUCOMMODORES.COM NEWS

    Men's Basketball: Vanderbilt hosts #22/21 St. Mary's Saturday

    Women's Basketball: VU to play at No. 19 Kentucky

    Women's Tennis: 'Dores top No. 9 Northwestern

    Men's Tennis: VU hopes process will lead to success

    Bowling: Bowlers in third at Big Red


    VIDEOS OF THE DAY

    Women's Tennis: Keilly Ulery on VU's win over No. 9 Northwestern - Watch Video



    Men's Golf: Commodores' strength and conditioning exercises - Watch Video




    SONG OF THE DAY

    B-52's - Private Idaho




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    Follow the Commodores on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

    Q&A with Lance Goulbourne

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    Junior forward Lance Goulbourne talked with reporters on Thursday about the Commodores' upcoming matchup with Saint Mary's.

    On learning from the losses to Tennessee and South Carolina...
    "We definitely did, and those were two games we regret heavily. I wish we could have those back but you move on and you learn from it. I think we did a good job learning from it (against Ole Miss).

    "We're going to try to forget about it. We want to move past that. Obviously it might be in the back of our minds, but we don't want to think about that. We just want to keep pushing forward."

    On executing down the stretch against Ole Miss...
    "We have older guys that have been through the fire for us. When we get to the line, we know to knock down our free throws, protect the ball, protect the lead and build on it. That's a big thing for us because we have a lot of guys that can go in there and do a lot of things. We have a lot of aspects of our game that can control the tempo for us."

    On if it's harder for John Jenkins to get open with teams keying on him...
    "It doesn't seem like it. He's been busting out 20-point games like it's pretty easy. It's pretty tough to get John open because guys kind of hang on to him; they know he's a good shooter and don't want to let him loose. We have a lot of plays set up for John so people can't really scout what we're going to do. He's been getting open and knocking down his shots. As long as he does that, we're going to be in pretty good shape."

    On if teams game plan to defend John Jenkins first...
    "I don't know if that's their first option, but that would be my first option if I was coaching against him. The kid can really shoot the ball. You don't want John to get any space because he'll shoot it. He's confident enough to let it go and make it. I assume that's in everybody's game plan to not let John get any open shots, or Jeff (Taylor) to attack the basket, or Fes (Ezeli) to get the ball inside."

    On facing Saint Mary's...
    "We played them last year and beat them by two in their house. I'm sure that they still have that (game) in the back of their minds and want revenge. That's going to be a pretty good team to come in here. They've got some good guards, they've got some good bigs and we're going to be focused and ready for that. We've got the next two days to prepare for them and we're just ready to fight."

    On having a nonconference game in the middle of SEC play...
    "I don't think there's really any feeling about it. I think it's another game that we have to prepare for the same way with the same focus and intensity. We just got to go in there prepared to fight and do the same things we've done every day. Just play them like every other team. We can't think of it as a SEC game or a nonconference game, we just have to be prepared to fight."

    On what this game means for postseason play...
    "(Saint Mary's) is a top-25 team. They've been climbing up the rankings and beating a lot of teams. They've only lost to BYU and San Diego State. We're right there, too, as a top-25, top-30 team in the country. We want to keep building our resume for the end of the season. We want to get in the (NCAA) tournament and know that nothing's guaranteed."

    Commodores Around the Web Friday (Jan. 21)

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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: VU to retire Chantelle Anderson's jersey
    "I am beyond excited," Anderson said. "Having my name hanging in the rafters at a school like Vanderbilt with such a rich tradition is the highest honor. It started with a goal freshman year before I ever played a college basketball game and I thank God for blessing me with so many wonderful people who helped make it happen. It really is amazing to me."

    COMMODORES AROUND THE WEB

    Football: Family ties dictate Rodgers' rooting interest (City Paper)

    Men's Basketball: Zone looks like bad option against St. Mary's (City Paper)

    Men's Basketball: Take 2 with Fuller and Odom (InsideVandy.com)

    Men's Basketball: Dores play through injuries (InsideVandy.com)

    Men's Basketball: Vanderbilt vs. St. Mary's game preview (CBS)

    Men's Basketball: Q&A with John Jenkins (GatorSports.com)

    Men's Basketball: Commodores defeat Ole Miss (Tennessean)

    Women's Basketball: Commodores top No. 23 Arkansas (Tennessean)

    Women's Basketball: Freshman's shooting, persistence pace VU (City Paper)

    Baseball: Power shift expected in SEC (YahooSports)


    IN THE PROS

    MLB: Price wins Warren Spahn Award (Associated Press)

    NFL: Cutler performing at high level (ChicagoBears.com)

    NFL: Bucs promote ex-linebacker Quarles (Tampa Bay Online)


    VUCOMMODORES.COM NEWS

    NCC: NCC announces Commodores On Board

    Quick Slant: Getting involved

    Football: Franklin wants fans to 'unite'

    Men's Basketball: Vanderbilt 84, Ole Miss 74

    Women's Basketball: Vanderbilt 65, Arkansas 54

    Bowling: VU grabs Big Red lead


    VIDEOS OF THE DAY

    Football: James Franklin's speech to Commodore fans - Watch Video

    Men's Basketball: Highlights/interviews, Ole Miss Game - Watch Video

    Women's Basketball: Highlights/interviews, Arkansas Game - Watch Video

    NFL: Chicago QB Jay Cutler discusses the Green Bay matchup - Watch Video


    SONG OF THE DAY

    Props to Nick Wells for his Vanderbilt remix titled "Black and Gold." The original song, Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow," is used during the Commodores' starting lineup in Memorial Gym.




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    Franklin wants fans to 'unite'

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    (Photo by Steve Green)

    In his introduction at last night's basketball game, football head coach James Franklin simply asked Commodore Nation to rally together behind the program in the days ahead.

    "We have a plan; we have a vision for what this program could be, but we can't do it alone," Franklin stated. "We need everybody's support. We need this community, we need this campus to come together and unite more than it ever has before."

    Franklin got one of the loudest reactions when he singled out the student section, telling them that they could make the biggest impact by getting involved with the team and creating a true home field advantage.

    Franklin closed his address by guaranteeing that brighter days are ahead. "Failure is not an option. We're going to succeed."

    Watch the video below including footage of Franklin's entrance into the student section following his speech. Also, listen to Joe Fisher's halftime interview and check out Steve Green's photos from the event.

    Recap: Jordan Rodgers on ESPN's First Take

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    Vanderbilt junior quarterback Jordan Rodgers appeared on ESPN2's First Take Wednesday (watch video) to discuss his ties to this weekend's NFC Championship Game between Chicago and Green Bay.

    Rodgers' older brother, Aaron, is the starting QB for the Packers, while Bears QB Jay Cutler was extremely helpful offering advice when he transferred to Vanderbilt last January.

    Despite his relationship with Cutler, Jordan told ESPN host Dana Jacobson there's no dilemma when it comes to who he's cheering for this Sunday. "There's definitely no question that I'll be rooting for the Packers," Jordan said, "but with so many Vanderbilt players playing for the Bears, I root for them every other week besides the week they play the Packers. This week I'm green and gold."

    Jordan also explained how he had the opportunity to pick Cutler's brain after he arrived on campus.

    "Jay was real good to me when I got into town. I was able to run questions off him about our school, the offense and the coaches. I also worked out with him a little bit while he was in town during the offseason. He was a big help."

    On comparing the two NFL quarterbacks, Jordan added, "They both have unbe­lie­va­ble arms, so my hands hurt a little bit after pla­ying catch with them. They both kind of play their own game, they really do, so it's tough to com­pare the two. They're both pla­ying really well right now and it's going to be a great game this weekend."

    (Photos courtesy of Chris Weinman and Brian Smokler)





    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Commodores Around the Web Wednesday (Jan. 19)

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

    FEATURED STORY

    Men's Basketball: VU aims to remedy second-half rebounding woes (City Paper)
    "I think it is a mental thing, an individual thing. You've got to decide you are going to go rebound in the second half," center Festus Ezeli said. "I don't understand why there is such a big difference. We are the same team. They are the same team. We are going to get that right. Starting [Wednesday] it is going to get right."

    COMMODORES AROUND THE WEB

    Men's Basketball: Commodores have yet to find finish line (Tennessean)
    "Maybe you just have to win one in a similar situation and then you can derive some confidence from that," Kevin Stallings said. "We practice situations all the time, and we've just let a couple get away from us. There are some confidence issues. There are some nerve issues. But I think it's something we'll get conquered and under control."

    Men's Basketball: Game preview: Vanderbilt vs. Ole Miss (Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball:
    Jenkins takes scoring lead into SEC schedule (InsideVandy.com)

    Men's Basketball: Rebels seek to decipher SEC enigma (Clarion-Ledger)
    "I'm seeing a sense of urgency with the team," Ole Miss forward Terrance Henry said of the Rebels' 0-3 start. "We were hoping for a good start to start in the SEC, but you know now that we haven't had a good start. We're feeling it and we've just got to do something about it."
    Men's Basketball: Rebels try to buck the odds at Vandy (Sun Herald)


    IN THE PROS

    NFL:
    Bears must protect Cutler (ChicagoBears.com)
    "(Green Bay) did a great job three weeks ago of putting some pressure on us and taking us out of our rhythm offensively," Cutler said. "We have to go back and really take a look at that film and look at what they did to us because obviously they're going to do some of the same stuff."
    NFL: Cutler graces Sports Illustrated cover (VUcommodores.com)


    VUCOMMODORES.COM NEWS

    Football: Jordan Rodgers to appear on ESPN's First Take

    Men's Basketball: Ole Miss game preview

    Women's Basketball: 'Dores vie for SEC position


    VIDEO OF THE DAY

    Coach Stallings previews tonight's matchup with Ole Miss - Watch Video




    SONG OF THE DAY

    David Bowie "Starman"




    CONNECT WITH US TODAY

    Follow the Commodores on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


    Tuesday's SEC Men's Basketball results (Jan. 18)

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    TUESDAY'S RESULTS

    Tennessee 59, Georgia 57
    ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - Brian Williams somehow managed to put back a buzzer-beater as he was falling down, giving Tennessee a 59-57 victory over Georgia on Tuesday night. Recap

    Alabama 68, Kentucky 66
    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Ben Eblen grabbed a loose ball and made one of two free throws with 2.8 seconds left to help Alabama preserve a 68-66 victory over No. 12 Kentucky on Tuesday night. Recap

    WEDNESDAY'S SCHEDULE
    Ole Miss at Vanderbilt, 8 p.m. CT, CSS
    Arkansas at South Carolina, 7 p.m. CT, SEC Network

    THURSDAY'S SCHEDULE
    Florida at Auburn, 6 p.m. CT, ESPN

    SEC STANDINGS
    East

    Florida 2-1
    South Carolina 2-1
    Georgia 2-2
    Kentucky 2-2
    Tennessee 2-2
    Vanderbilt 1-2
    West
    Alabama 3-1
    LSU 2-1
    Arkansas 2-1
    Mississippi State 2-1
    Auburn 0-3
    Ole Miss 0-3

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Men's Basketball Bracketology (Jan. 18)

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    The latest (meaningless) postseason projections are in...

    ESPN.com's Joe Lunardi listed Vanderbilt a No. 6 seed for the second week in a row.

    CBSsports.com's Jerry Palm gave the Commodores a No. 7 seed.

    SI.com's Andy Glockner moved VU up to a No. 5 seed.

    Also, Glockner posted his Bubble Watch breakdown for each conference and had Vanderbilt "In the Mix" for a tournament spot.
    Vanderbilt (12-4, 1-2; RPI: 22, SOS: 35)
    The Commodores were on their way to a great week until they let Tennessee rally from 17 down to steal one in Knoxville. They get two home dates this week, including a bubbly nonleague meeting with St. Mary's, to make things right again.
    Good Wins: North Carolina (N)

    Bad Losses: None

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Cutler graces Sports Illustrated cover

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    It's been a week of firsts for Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler.

    On Sunday, Cutler picked up his first playoff victory by accounting for four touchdowns in the Bears' 35-24 win over Seattle.

    Now, he's featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which hit newsstands Tuesday.

    Cutler and the Bears will face their old rivals Green Bay this Sunday for the right to go to Super Bowl XLV.

    Cutler is the second Commodore to grace the front of the popular sports magazine in the last four months. Tampa Bay pitcher David Price was on the cover in October for SI's Major League Baseball Playoff preview.

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog



    (Photographed by: John Biever / SI)

    Jordan Rodgers to appear on ESPN's First Take

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    Set your TiVos...

    First, the NFL Network will air Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler's press conference Wednesday at noon CT.  Cutler and the Bears are preparing for the NFC Championship Game with Green Bay Sunday at Soldier Field (2 p.m. CT, FOX).

    Also on Wednesday, Vanderbilt junior quarterback Jordan Rodgers will appear on ESPN to talk about the Packers, quarterbacked by his older brother Aaron, and Cutler's Chicago squad that also features three other former Commodores in the starting lineup.

    The segment, on ESPN's First Take, should air about 10:40 a.m., CT.

    Cutler helped Jordan get acclimated to Nashville after he transferred from Butte Junior College (Calif.) last year, then spent time during the offseason working out with the Bear starter on campus.

    "(Jay's) a guy who's been great to my little brother," Aaron Rodgers told ChicagoBears.com in September. "As a big brother, it's much appreciated the way he's made my little brother feel comfortable down there and get the lay of the land down there in Nashville.

    "It's only helped to strengthen our friendship. I pull for him 14 weeks out of the season, and hopefully he throws us a couple in those other two weeks."

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Commodores Around the Web Tuesday (Jan. 18)

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

    FEATURED STORY

    Men's Basketball:
    When it comes to VU player, parents just understand (City Paper)
    "There is nothing like sitting in the front row and watching your son play,"  Brad Tinsley's mother, Kathy, said. "I just can't even imagine how nerve-wracking it would be to only get to see him and not have that personal interaction afterwards, whether it is a good game or a rocky game. Just to be able to be with him, give him a hug when he needs it and a pat on the back. That is just so special."

    COMMODORES AROUND THE WEB

    Football: Coaches believe success is closer than expected (Tennessean)

    Football: Sean Richardson staying at Vanderbilt (Demopolis Times)

    Football: VU has history as stepping stone, albeit a small one (City Paper)

    Men's Basketball: Walker undecided on senior season (Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: Lockridge's AP top 25 poll (Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: SEC Hoops Teleconference (SECsports.com)

    Men's Basketball: SEC Men's Hoops Notebook (SECsports.com)


    VUCOMMODORES.COM NEWS

    Men's Basketball: VU returns home, takes on Ole Miss

    Commodore Nation: Lance Goulbourne: Two-court athlete

    Women's Basketball: Angela's Angle- Playing in front of family

    Bowling: VU wins Mid-Winter Classic


    SONG OF THE DAY


    What possibly could 13-year-olds rap about? Missing the bus.

    So wear your clothes backwards, throw your arms forward, and sing this song from "Mac Daddy" and "Daddy Mac."




    CONNECT WITH US TODAY

    Follow the Commodores on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


    Monday Hoops Roundup (Jan. 17)

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    (Photo by Joe Howell)

    VANDERBILT MEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE/RESULTS

    Last Week
    Wednesday, Jan. 12: Vanderbilt 73, No. 24 Georgia 66
    Saturday, Jan. 15: Tennessee 67, Vanderbilt 64

    This Week
    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.


    BRACKETOLOGY UPDATE

    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." 


    COMMODORE NEWS


    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.


    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    First time's a charm for VanderBears

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    (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

    In his postseason debut, quarterback Jay Cutler tallied four touchdowns to lead Chicago to a convincing 35-24 win over Seattle in the NFC Divisional Playoffs Sunday at Soldier Field.

    Cutler and the Bears will face longtime rival Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game next Sunday at 2 p.m. CT in Chicago.

    "After last year and the disappointment and the struggles we've had offensively and kind of rebuilding, it's been a fun ride," Cutler said. "But it's not over yet. We've still got some business to take care of."

    Cutler completed 15 of 28 passes for 274 yards, rushed for another 43 yards, and committed no turnovers. He became only the second quarterback in league history to have two TDs rushing and two passing in a postseason game (Otto Graham, Cleveland, 1954 and '55).

    "I don't know if you're going to get any better performance out of a quarterback in the playoffs," said tight end Greg Olsen.

    Three more former Commodores contributed in the victory: wide receiver Earl Bennett had 22 total yards from one reception and rush, defensive back D.J. Moore made five tackles, and starting left guard Chris Williams was effective for an offensive line that opened holes for 176 rushing yards.

    Chicago and Green Bay will renew the league's oldest rivalry next Sunday for the right to go to Super Bowl XLV. The teams have played 181 times overall, but their only previous postseason meeting was in 1941 with the Bears winning 33-14 at Wrigley Field.

    The Bears and Packers split their two regular season meetings this year with the home team getting the victory each time.

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Bears begin playoff journey Sunday

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    Just a reminder.... Chicago will take on Seattle today at noon CT in a NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field.

    The winner will advance to host Green Bay next Sunday for the right to go to Super Bowl XLV.

    Four Commodores will make their playoff debut for the Bears: WR Earl Bennett, QB Jay Cutler, DB DJ Moore and LG Chris Williams.

    You can watch today's action on FOX, or log on to ChicagoBears.com.

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Saturday's SEC Men's Basketball results (Jan. 15)

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    SATURDAY'S SEC RESULTS

    Tennessee 67, Vanderbilt 64

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tobias Harris hit a layup and a pair of free throws in the final 1:09 as Tennessee erased a 17-point deficit to beat Vanderbilt 67-64 on Saturday. Read More

    Kentucky 82, LSU 44
    LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Brandon Knight scored 19 points, Terrence Jones added 17 in his second game coming off the bench and No. 13 Kentucky beat LSU 82-44 on Saturday. Read More

    Arkansas 70, Alabama 65
    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Marshawn Powell scored 17 points as Arkansas remained undefeated at home this season in rallying for a 70-65 victory over Alabama on Saturday. Read More

    South Carolina 72, Florida 69
    GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Bruce Ellington scored 23 points, including the final six for South Carolina, and the Gamecocks beat Florida 72-69 on Saturday. Read More

    Georgia 98, Ole Miss 76
    OXFORD, Miss. (AP) - Gerald Robinson scored a season-high 22 points and No. 24 Georgia put five players in double figures Saturday in a 98-76 victory over Mississippi. Read More

    SUNDAY'S SEC SCHEDULE

    Auburn (7-9, 0-2) at Mississippi State (9-7, 1-1), 2 p.m. CT, FSN

    SEC STANDINGS

    East

    Florida 2-1
    Georgia 2-1
    Kentucky 2-1
    South Carolina 2-1
    Vanderbilt 1-2
    Tennessee 1-2

    West

    LSU 2-1
    Arkansas 2-1
    Alabama 2-1
    Mississippi State 1-1
    Auburn 0-2
    Ole Miss 0-3

    Saturday morning hoops articles (Jan. 15)

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

    The Commodore basketball teams will make their first ever appearance on ESPN's College GameDay Saturday against Tennessee in Knoxville. GameDay coverage will begin at 9 a.m. CT on ESPN. The men's game starts at 11 a.m. CT followed by the women's game at 7 p.m. CT. Get ready for the action with today's stories on the doubleheader.

    AROUND THE WEB


    Men's Basketball: Dores, Vols receive national attention from ESPN (Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: Pearl's bold declaration: 'Must win' (Knoxville News Sentinel)

    Men's Basketball: Here's all you need to know on VU-UT (Knoxville News Sentinel)

    Men's Basketball: ESPN loses its leading man in Pearl (Knoxville News Sentinel)

    Men's Basketball: Vandy typically tough (247sports.com)

    Women's Basketball: Vanderbilt women at Lady Vols (Tennessean)

    Women's Basketball: Stronger cast for Lady Vols (Knoxville News Sentinel)


    OFFICIAL GAME PREVIEWS AND NOTES


    Men's Basketball: Vanderbilt travels to Tennessee (VUcommodores.com)

    Men's Basketball: UT's gameday central (UTsports.com)

    Women's Basketball: VU's ready for spotlight (VUcommodores.com)

    Women's Basketball: Commodores set for primetime game (VUcommodores.com)

    Women's Basketball: Lady Vols welcome Vanderbilt (UTsports.com)


    THE BLOG


    Men's Basketball: Dores getting respect from Vols

    Men's Basketball: Video: Emergence of Ezeli

    Men's Basketball: Dores on ESPN's College GameDay

    Men's Basketball: SEC MBB weekend schedule


    NATIONAL NEWS


    Andy Katz: Weekend Watch (ESPN.com)

    Gary Parrish: Friday look ahead (CBSsports.com)

    Seth Davis: Weekend picks (SI.com)


    Note: If you missed Friday's collection of news from around the web, click here

    Franklin delivers positive message on 104.5

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    (Photo by Jacob Underwood)

    Football head coach James Franklin brought "a ray of sunshine" to his first appearance on Nashville's top-ranked afternoon sports talk show on Thursday.

    For one hour, Franklin stayed upbeat while taking on tough questions from 104.5 Sports Zone co-hosts George Plaster and Willy Daunic as well as local callers. 

    Fifteen minutes into the segment, Franklin wanted to turn the mood around.

    "Can we start talking at some point about all of the positives of the program because there's a bunch of them," he said.

    Plaster explained that fans have been told it was going to be a new era for the last 40 years, and that they're looking for a legitimate sign that it's going to be different.

    "All I can tell you is that I've come here for a specific reason," responded Franklin, calmly and confidently. "There is nothing in my makeup about failure. We're going to find a way to get it done here, one way or another. We're going to get it done together. I feel really, really good about the commitment that's being made."

    LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW

    More notes from the show:

    *Coach Franklin described his first month on the job as "controlled chaos." He's busy recruiting before signing day, assembling his coaching staff and meeting with people in the community.

    *On how he was hired, Franklin said he was first called about the Vanderbilt job to determine his level of interest. He liked his situation at Maryland and had no intentions of leaving. After talking to VU's administration, he was impressed and intrigued with the position.

    *On why he'll have success at Vanderbilt, he believes he's been hired at the right time. "The administration, the community and the university as a whole have gotten to a point where they've said, 'enough's enough, and we're ready to do this the right way.'"

    *On what's different with Vanderbilt's commitment to the football program, he said he can't speak about the past, but since he's arrived, several discussions have been based on a well-planned out expansion project to the facility, but he wants to make sure it's right. At the moment, he believes the players should be taken care of first. "I'm going to fight for those kids."

    *On not having a good home field advantage, Franklin said, "It's our job to put a product on the field that people are excited about. With the facilities, with the recruitment, with the staff I'm putting together, we're going to have the ability to do that. We're going to be aggressive with everything we do. We're going to attack recruiting, we're going to attack our opposition, and we're going to keep asking and pushing from an administration standpoint so we can get to the point where basketball and baseball are."

    *On selling the program, he expressed that he's willing to do whatever it takes to make the program succeed. "Failure is not an option." Once things slow down after signing day, he plans to put on his "marketing hat."

    *He had his first team meeting the day before, since students were on break when he was hired. He told the squad about his direction of the program and asked them to "take a leap of faith" with him and his staff, and to trust his leadership. "I'll fight for them in every aspect of their lives."

    *On the recruiting front, he thinks they'll make a bigger impact next year since they only have a few scholarships left for this year's class. "We're going to take a national approach and sell all the reasons Vanderbilt makes sense."

    *He said he's willing to look at the football models used by Stanford and Northwestern.

    *On non-conference scheduling, he explained: "Initially, you have to take a Kansas State/Bill Snyder philosophy. You'll have to schedule teams that you think you're going to have an opportunity to be competitive with and teach your guys how to win. The best way to do that is by winning. I think it's very important how we schedule from here on out." He added that he'll be very involved in the process.

    *On getting local fans back in the stands: "I'll be out selling the program as much as I possibly can, but for the time being, I have to prioritize. Right now, my focus needs to be putting my staff together and recruiting so we can put a great product on the field. I'm willing to do whatever I have to do to get people excited about the program."

    *He said administration stepped up by giving him salaries to hire a successful staff.

    *On turning things around: "I think our fans are hungry, I think the community is hungry for a winner, and I think the administration is willing to do what they have to do to be successful. I know looking in those players eyes last night, they want to win more than anybody."

    *On improving the offense, he said he has a diverse coaching staff that will be able to come up with a flexible plan to take advantage of their strengths. "We going to be aggressive with everything we do and we're not going to be afraid to make mistakes."

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    SEC MBB weekend schedule (Jan. 15/16)

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    Live Scores  |  SEC Standings

    Saturday, January 15

    Vanderbilt (12-3, 1-1) at Tennessee (10-6, 0-2), 11 a.m. CT, ESPN

    Alabama (10-6, 2-0) at Arkansas (11-4, 1-1), 12:30 p.m. CT, SEC Network

    South Carolina (10-5, 1-1) at Florida (13-3, 2-0), 12:30 p.m. CT, SEC Network

    LSU (10-7, 2-0) at Kentucky (13-3, 1-1), 3 p.m. CT, SEC Network

    Georgia (12-3, 1-1) at Ole Miss (12-5, 0-2), 4 p.m. CT, FSN

    Sunday, January 16

    Auburn (7-9, 0-2) at Mississippi State (9-7, 1-1), 1 p.m. CT, FSN

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Commodores getting respect from Vols

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    With a 0-2 start to conference play and their in-state rivals coming to town Saturday, the Vols are saying all the right things when it comes to the Commodores.

    Don't believe me? Here are quotes from articles by Tennessee beat writers:

    Head Coach Bruce Pearl:

    "Kevin (Stallings) has solid sets and he tweaks them based on his scout(-ing report). But (John) Jenkins is as Lofton-like of a shooter as anyone I've seen, and (Jeffery) Taylor is a beast, probably the best defender in college basketball, and he'll be all over guarding Scotty.'' (Mike Griffith, Knoxville News Sentinel)

    C Brian Williams:

    "Since I've been here, they've been a shooting team, but I think that's changed. They're mixing it up now with both physicality, and they've got shooters. They've got every aspect of the game you need to win. In my personal opinion, they were the best (SEC) team coming into the season besides us." (Wes Rucker, 247sports.com)

    "You can't out-physical (Festus Ezeli). He's one of the strongest people I've ever gone up against ... He's always been a monster down there, but now he's got game. Great for him." (Wes Rucker, 247sports.com)

    G Trae Golden:

    "All our upperclassmen have a lot of respect for them. That says a lot." (Wes Rucker, 247sports.com)

    G Cameron Tatum
    "Vandy has always had good shooters. But now they've added some athletes, and they're more than a one-dimensional team.'' (Mike Griffith, Knoxville News Sentinel)

    G Josh Bone
    "(John Jenkins) shoots it as well as anybody in college right now. He's a tough cover." (Mike Strange, Knoxville News Sentinel)

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Video: Emergence of Ezeli

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    Vanderbilt junior center Festus Ezeli was the centerpiece of two columns in area newspapers on Friday (The Tennessean and Chattanooga Times Free Press).

    Just watch these four plays from the Georgia game to understand and appreciate the emergence of Ezeli.



    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Dores on ESPN's College GameDay

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    Looking for more information about the Commodores' first ever appearance on ESPN's College GameDay Saturday? Schulzie's game preview has the information you need, especially if you're making the trip to Knoxville.
    The eyes of the nation will be on Vanderbilt basketball on Saturday when the men's and women's teams play at Tennessee in a pair of games that will be showcased on national television as part of ESPN's College GameDay airing from Knoxville.

    GameDay coverage will begin at 9 a.m. CT on ESPN and will continue on ESPNU leading up to the tip of the men's game at 11 a.m. The men's game will be called by Dick Vitale and Dan Shulman with Doris Burke working the sidelines.

    ESPN will resume College GameDay coverage at 6 p.m. CT leading up to the women's game, which will tip at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN. Shulman (play-by-play) and Burke (analyst) will have the call of the women's game.
    For more on GameDay in Knoxville, click here.

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Photos of the Day

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    First, Twitter was abuzz over the opening of Oregon's new basketball facility, Matthew Knight Arena, last night. The majority of the talk centered around the Ducks' unique court.

    My thoughts? Different is good, and Oregon is the best when it comes to that category.

    If you haven't seen the court, check out the 54-picture gallery on ESPN.com.



    Also, give the New York Post credit for their front page cover previewing the Jets' playoff game with arch-rival New England. Too bad Darth Vader will reign supreme.



    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    David Williams answers fan questions

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    Check out the first edition of The Williams Report.

    Thanks to your fan questions, Vice Chancellor David Williams hits on a bunch of hot topics like stadium renovations, football scheduling, parking and more.

    Read More

    Commodores Around the Web Friday (Jan. 14)

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

    FEATURED STORY

    Football: Franklin announces initial hires (VUcommodores.com)
    "I'm extremely pleased to make this announcement today," Franklin said. "All of these coaches want to be part of something really special. When I called, many of them said yes without even talking about money and titles. They simply want to help turn this program into a success."

    COMMODORES AROUND THE WEB

    Football: Commodores' football staff has 'chemistry' (Tennessean)

    Football: Hand matches enthusiasm of new staff (City Paper)
    "I believe in Coach Franklin and the vision he has for the program, the excitement he has generated," Hand said. "I want to be a part of it."
    Football: New year, new coach call for shift in mentality (InsideVandy.com)

    Football: Franklin taps ties in filling offensive staff (Associated Press)

    Football: Franklin unveils his offensive staff (ESPN.com)

    Men's Basketball: Commodores are set at center (Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: VU has little concern for Vols' current struggles (City Paper)

    Men's Basketball: Jenkins 'a tough cover' from 3-point arc (Knoxville News-Sentinel)
    "You better make (Jenkins) put it on the floor. Because if you're late you're gonna get nailed," UT coach Bruce Pearl said. "But Vanderbilt's offense does not allow you to take one guy and just put him on (Jenkins). Their offense is too good.''
    Men's Basketball: Commodores head to Knoxville (InsideVandy.com)

    Men's Basketball: All about the SEC: Vandy dandy (YahooSports.com)

    Men's Basketball: SEC East makes picking champion difficult (CBSsports.com)

    Men's Basketball: Festus Ezeli is big for Vandy (Times Free Press)


    IN THE PROS

    NFL: Bears and Hawks: Cutler's role (ESPN.com)
    "I'm probably not the first quarterback that hasn't been to the playoffs in the first five years," Cutler said, "and I probably won't be the last. We're in a good situation now. We've just got to take advantage of it."

    VUCOMMODORES.COM NEWS

    Football: Franklin quotes on staff additions

    Football: Thursday Q&A with Coach Franklin

    Women's Basketball: Vanderbilt 82, Alabama 66
    "I think we were ready tonight," Head Coach Melanie Balcomb said. "We had paid the price before on the road and didn't want that to happen again, and I felt like this was the right timing for us to get our first SEC win on the road."

    VIDEO OF THE DAY

    Coach Franklin introduces his offensive staff - Watch Video




    SONG OF THE DAY

    Paul McCartney - Put It There




    CONNECT WITH US TODAY

    Follow the Commodores on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


    Video: Taylor's dunk No. 1 on SportsCenter

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    Note: Video updated with Joe Fisher's radio call

    In a matchup loaded with high-flyers, Vanderbilt's Jeffery Taylor demonstrated why he's second to none above the rim.

    The junior forward soared to a jaw-dropping, one-handed alley-oop dunk off an inbounds play in the first half of the Commodores' 73-66 win over Georgia Wednesday night.

    Taylor's highlight-reel moment didn't go unnoticed. It was selected as the No. 1 Play of the Day on ESPN's SportsCenter.

    "Whenever you have an electrifying play like that, it kind of gets everybody going," Taylor said. "It's what the crowd wants. It's kind of a crowd pleaser and it definitely pumps your own teammates up, so it's a good thing."

    Vanderbilt photographer Joe Howell captured the jam in the image below. You can also watch the play in our game highlights on YouTube at the 1:08 mark.

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Commodores Around the Web Thursday (Jan. 13)

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

    FEATURED STORY

    Men's Basketball: Dores bounce back with 73-66 win (VUcommodores.com)
    "We're hungry, we're still mad about that (South Carolina) game," center Festus Ezeli said. "We still have a bad taste about that one because we didn't play to our abilities."

    COMMODORES AROUND THE WEB

    Men's Basketball: Commodores defeat Bulldogs 73-66 (The Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: Post-game quotes from Vandy's win (The Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: Georgia staying in Nashville thanks to snow (The Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: Ezeli's energy, execution lift VU (The City Paper)
    "I think coaches know (about Festus Ezeli)," Kevin Stallings said. "I don't think he is really going to sneak up on anyone."
    Men's Basketball: Georgia loses to Vanderbilt (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

    Women's Basketball: VU looks to take winning ways on road (The City Paper)
    "I think we will be more focused this time (on the road)," guard Jasmine Lister said. "I felt like we were playing like we didn't want to lose instead of winning on the road. Now, we are going to focus on winning.
    Baseball: Draftable juniors ready for big campaigns (YahooSports.com)
    "The Commodores will have one of the nation's better weekend rotations this season with Sonny Gray and others leading the way. Gray has had a fruitful campaign at Vandy and is expected to parlay a solid junior season into an even better first-round draft status."

    IN THE PROS

    NFL: Jay Cutler a 'good guy' (ESPN.com)
    "I probably know him better than y'all do," RB Matt Forte said. "I will tell you that he is probably the opposite of what you guys portray him to be. Jay is a good guy, and he comes to work every day to work hard."
    NFL: Cutler says loser tag didn't irk him (Chicago Tribune)


    VUCOMMODORES.COM NEWS

    Football: James Franklin to appear on 104.5 The Zone Thursday

    Men's Basketball: Recap- Vanderbilt 73, Georgia 66

    Men's Basketball: Fisher's postgame radio show

    History Corner: Eddie Fogler recalls his career
    "The only thing I will honestly say about (my time at Vanderbilt) and this is hard to believe, but its true," Fogler said. "I'm not sure why I left Vanderbilt. I really don't know. Now that sounds like bull, but why would I give you bull 17 years after the fact? I honestly do not know exactly what happened. Obviously, something went awry. I just decided to go to South Carolina."
    Bowling: VU starts "second season"


    VIDEO OF THE DAY


    Jeffery Taylor's dunk, which was the No. 1 play on SportsCenter last night, is at the 1:08 mark -- Vanderbilt-Georgia highlights




    SONG OF THE DAY


    Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell -- "Ain't no Mountain High Enough"




    CONNECT WITH US TODAY

    Follow the Commodores on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


    Vanderbilt-Georgia highlights and interviews

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    Highlights of Vanderbilt's 73-66 win over Georgia plus postgame reaction from Coach Stallings, Jeffery Taylor, John Jenkins and Festus Ezeli.





    Wednesday's SEC Men's Basketball results (Jan. 12)

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    WEDNESDAY'S SEC RESULTS
    Vanderbilt 73, Georgia 66

    NASHVILLE (AP) - John Jenkins and Festus Ezeli scored 18 points apiece and Vanderbilt beat No. 24 Georgia 73-66 on Wednesday night to snap the Bulldogs' nine-game winning streak and ruin their first game back in the Top 25 since the end of the 2003 season. Read More

    Alabama 57, South Carolina 47
    TUSCALOOSA (AP) -- JaMychal Green scored 20 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked three shots to lead Alabama to a 57-47 victory over South Carolina on Wednesday night. Read More

    LSU 56, Arkansas 53
    BATON ROUGE (AP) -- LSU made just enough foul shots in the final minute for a 56-53 victory against Arkansas in a Southeastern Conference game Wednesday night. Read More

    THURSDAY'S SEC SCHEDULE
    Mississippi State (8-7, 0-1) at Ole Miss (12-4, 0-1), 8 p.m. CT, ESPN2

    SEC EAST STANDINGS
    Florida 2-0
    Vanderbilt 1-1
    Kentucky 1-1
    Georgia 1-1
    South Carolina 1-1
    Tennessee 0-2

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Franklin to name offensive staff Thursday

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    *Vanderbilt football head coach James Franklin is expected to officially announce his offensive coaching staff Thursday afternoon. The press conference is scheduled to start at 2:45 p.m. CT on campus. Stay with VUcommodores.com for complete coverage of the event.

    *Also scheduled for Thursday-- Franklin will make his first appearance on Nashville's top-ranked afternoon sports talk show. Franklin will spend the 4 o'clock hour with 104.5 Sports Zone co-hosts George Plaster and Willy Daunic. You can listen to the interview live online at 1045thezone.com.

    *Finally, mark your calendar. Franklin will be introduced to Commodore fans during the men's basketball game against Ole Miss next Wednesday, January 19.

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Heed! Move! Now!

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    Coming soon to Memorial Gym... Oversized noggins of your favorite Commodore basketball players.

    The props, which were created by the Memorial Maniacs, will be displayed in the student section during games.

    (Thanks to DVE for the image)



    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Commodores Around the Web Wednesday (Jan. 12)

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

    FEATURED STORY

    Football: Franklin takes scenic route to top coaching job (Bucks County Courier)
    "I've recruited the West," Franklin said. "I've been to BCS bowl games, I've coached in the South, I've coached in the NFL, I have a master's degree, so there's nothing that could be on my resume that somebody could say, 'Oh we're an academic school, we need someone with a master's degree.' Well, I have that. I took opportunities and ran with them."

    COMMODORES AROUND THE WEB

    Men's Basketball:
    Dores prepare to face Georgia (The Tennessean)
    "It's not panic time at all. If we do that, we're going to be in bad shape," John Jenkins said.
    Men's Basketball: Vandy players size up Georgia (The Tennessean)
    "It's going to be a good game for us," Festus Ezeli said. "From a tough­ness aspect, they rebound very well and their big men are pretty good. So it's going to be a good inside-outside matchup for us."
    Men's Basketball: Fox has done well, but pieces were in place (The Tennessean)

    Men's Basketball: VU's athleticism faces stern test (The City Paper)
    "(Georgia's) pretty athletic," Lance Goulbourne said. "Travis Leslie is obviously a highlight reel. People know who he is. Trey Thompkins is a real good player. He was the preseason SEC player of the year. We are just looking forward to a challenge, getting back on the winning track and doing our best and coming out fighting."
    Men's Basketball: Joe Duffy Blog- Living Like the Pros (New York Times)

    Men's Basketball: Bulldogs bus it to Nashville (OnlineAthens.com)

    Football: VU introduced new coach on Facebook (InsideVandy.com)


    IN THE PROS

    NFL: Bears realize running game more important in playoffs (Chicago Tribune)

    NFL: Bears feel they've made great strides (ChicagoBears.com)


    VUCOMMODORES.COM NEWS

    Football: James Franklin- Leading mentor of quarterbacks
    "Coach (Franklin) truly knows the position, and really taught me how to be a college quarterback and what it meant to have that role," Maryland QB Danny O'Brien said. "Everything from watching film the proper way and leading our team to how I should carry myself, on and off the field."
    Men's Basketball: VU welcomes Georgia for SEC home opener

    Women's Basketball: VU looks for road win at Alabama

    Women's Basketball: Angela's Angle - Jan. 11

    Joe Fisher: Tuesday's 97.1 Update

    Commodore Nation Magazine: Swimming into the record books


    VIDEO OF THE DAY

    Men's Basketball:
    Stallings previews Georgia game


    SONG OF THE DAY


    This song was the only good thing about Ghostbusters II.

    I remember waiting for the video to come on MTV every day as a kid.

    Nice cameos by Rick Moranis and Donald Trump.




    CONNECT WITH US TODAY

    Follow the Commodores on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


    Stallings' media quotes on Tuesday

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    Vanderbilt men's basketball head coach Kevin Stallings discussed the Georgia game with local media on Tuesday afternoon. Watch Video

    On the importance of defending home court...
    "I've always thought that if you're going to win the conference championship that the formula is to winning your home games and winning the games you're supposed to win on the road. I think that's where it begins. That's why it was a little frustrating to let that game get away from us on Saturday night (at South Carolina) because that was a game that we felt like we could and probably should win and we didn't.

    "There's always more pressure on home games because if you're going to be a factor in the conference race you've got to take care of business at home. Until somebody starts winning a bunch of road games, then they're not going to separate themselves. You've got to win the overwhelming majority of your home games if you want to win the conference title."

    On facing Gerald Robinson Jr...
    "He's gone into a situation where he's being utilized by his coaches properly, he's been put in a good system for him, and he's got really outstanding players around him so he doesn't have to be the only guy. He's a good player in a good situation and those two factors usually make for a good result; that's what he's getting and that's what (Georgia's) getting right now."

    On if he can tell before the game that energy is going to be an issue...

    "I can generally tell, not always, if energy is going to be an issue in the locker room about 45 minutes before the game. Interestingly, relative to the South Carolina game, our team hasn't played with a lack of energy all season long. I haven't had an energy complaint in practice or in games.

    "Yeah, we had a couple of days in practice last week to where we had to call it to their attention, and then it showed up in the games. You have to give them a little bit of a pass if it only happens once because we haven't played all great games, but we haven't had a lack of energy. That hasn't been a part of this team's DNA at all. For whatever reason we had a little bit of one on Saturday night."

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Franklin's passion paved the way

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    (Photo Design: Banks Shepherd)

    Who is James Franklin? Here are two articles that offer insight on the Commodores' new head football coach.

    First, Ed Kracz of the Bucks County Courier Time chronicles Franklin's journey from Langhorne, Pa., to Vanderbilt with stories on his childhood and previous coaching stops. You really get a sense of how Franklin's made it to where he is today.
    "He cared about his players and was a great family guy," said Jordy Nelson, a former walk-on at Kansas State who developed into a second round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers under the tutelage of Franklin. "He had his love for the game and a love for his players, and he cares about his players like family."
    Click Here to Read More

    Also, Larry Leathers of VUcommodores.com looks at how Franklin's developed future stars at the quarterback position. Franklin mentored current pro QB Josh Freeman at Kansas State and ACC Rookie of the Year QB Danny O'Brien at Maryland.
    "Coach (Franklin) has meant so much to me, both on and off the field," Freeman said. "One of the best things that ever happened to me was getting to work with Coach Franklin."
    Click Here to Read More

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Tuesday's SEC Men's Basketball results

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    TUESDAY'S RESULTS
    Florida 81, Tennessee 75 (OT)
    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Alex Tyus scored 18 points and turned a steal into a dunk in overtime that helped Florida to an 81-75 victory over Tennessee on Tuesday night. Read More

    No. 15 Kentucky 78, Auburn 54
    Terrence Jones, coming off the bench for the first time in his brief career, scored 35 points as Kentucky rolled by Auburn 78-54. Read More

    WEDNESDAY'S SCHEDULE
    Georgia (12-2, 0-1) at Vanderbilt (11-3, 0-1), 7 p.m. CT, SEC Network
    Arkansas (11-3, 1-0) at LSU (9-7, 1-0), 7 p.m. CT, SEC Network
    South Carolina (10-4, 1-0) at Alabama (9-6, 1-0), 8 p.m. CT, CSS

    Exclusive snow day report

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    (Photo Credit: Banks Shepherd)

    According to CNN, 49 of the 50 states currently have snow on the ground including Tennessee (as you can see in the picture of Vanderbilt Stadium).

    Well, in the Barca household, there's never a shortage of activities on snow days. In fact, former intern Travis polished up an old satellite dish with non-nutritive cereal varnish and used it for sledding in our subdivision today (no joke). Let's just say it didn't work, even though he gave it the old Clark Griswold try.

    Somewhere in Arizona, Schulzie could be heard saying, "Are you serious?" while noting that Travis' attempt was "for all the Tostitos."

    Back to your normal programming.

    Snow impacts Georgia's travel plans

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    Georgia's trip to Nashville on Tuesday morning has been delayed due to snow storms that have blanketed the South.

    Bulldogs' head coach Mark Fox has already canceled practice as the team waits for transportation to be approved. 

    Fox made the following tweets this morning:
    "Planes, trains, and . . . probably a bus. About to decide how we'll try and get across this ice rink in the south."
    "Must be nasty, bus company won't put bus on road. As soon as they will, we'll be on it."
    "Waiting on green light to take bus - cannot fly from Athens or ATL. Players might be a little excited that practice to be sacrificed today."
    Vanderbilt and No. 24 Georgia will square off Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT. The Bulldogs come into the game ranked for the first time since the 2002-03 season.

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Duffy blog: Secret Santa gift exchange

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    Vanderbilt basketball fan favorite Joe Duffy returns with another one of his popular blogs for The New York Times.

    Once again, Duffy offers stories on the Commodores that you won't get anywhere else.

    The senior forward centered his latest post around the team's annual Secret Santa gift exchange.

    I won't give anything away, so go here to read more.

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    MBB Monday Roundup: Rankings, Bracketology and more

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    NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL RANKINGS


    Vanderbilt fell out of the Top 25 in both major polls released Monday. The Commodores slipped to 31st overall in the "others receiving votes" category of the Associated Press Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

    The Commodores next opponent -- Georgia -- jumped into the AP rankings at No. 24 after the Bulldogs defeated Kentucky in Athens last Saturday.

    Vanderbilt will host Georgia Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT.


    BRACKETOLOGY UPDATE


    ESPN.com's Joe Lunardi has Vanderbilt as a No. 6 seed, down one spot from last week. Bracket

    SI.com's Andy Glockner kept the Commodores at a No. 6 seed for the second week in a row. Bracket


    QUOTES FROM MONDAY'S
    SEC TELECONFERENCE WITH KEVIN STALLINGS
    Listen to teleconference on SECsports.com

    Coach Stallings' opening statement...

    "We had a disappointing game on Saturday, a game we had control of and let get away from us. We know we have a tough week because every week's tough in this league. Georgia's coming off a great win and we had three very interesting games with them last year. I think we all expect it to be a very competitive, very tough, physical game just like all SEC games are. We're going to have to play really well to win. We're looking forward to the opportunity and hopefully having a couple of good days of practice before then."

    On what he didn't like in the South Carolina loss...
    "I just didn't like our look and demeanor. We were up 14 in the second half but we just didn't have our normal look. I don't know if we were self-absorbed or what the situation was, but we weren't doing what we needed to win. It's very disappointing because it was a road game that we had a chance to get and we let it get away from us."

    On the Commodores' health situation...
    "It's okay. Andre Walker still hasn't practiced. Of course, we haven't practiced since the (South Carolina) game.  Steve Tchiengang is battling a little bit of an Achilles tendon problem. Other than that, we're fine."

    On last Saturday's SEC results ...
    "It's tough to win on the road in this league; we have a good league. Even some of the teams that might have gotten off to slow starts or performed poorly in the nonconference season, now is an opportunity for them to kind of jump back up into the fray.  Everybody sort of gets new life when conference season starts."


    MORE COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS


    SECsports.com announced that South Carolina's Sam Muldrow and Bruce Ellington were named SEC basketball players of the week.

    CBSsportsline.com's Gary Parrish looks back at the weekend of college hoops in his weekly Monday column.

    FoxSports.com's Jeff Goodman also recaps the weekend and lists the Vanderbilt-Georgia game as one the week's top matchups:
    "The Bulldogs are coming off a home win against Kentucky -- now it's time to see if, in fact, this time has matured and can win on the road."
    ESPN.com's Weekly Watch has Nashville as one of the places to be this week for the tilt between VU and UGA:
    "If Kentucky is the clear favorite in the SEC East and Florida the baffling contender with problems to fix, both Vanderbilt and Georgia are the leaders in the dark-horse clubhouse. The Bulldogs are coming off a huge win over Kentucky, while Vandy -- which had the more impressive nonconference stretch of the two -- struggled in a road loss to South Carolina."
    SI.com's Andy Glockner breaks down each conference in his latest Bubble Watch.

    SI.com's Seth Davis gives his Hoop Thoughts on Kansas, Enes Kanter, Renardo Sidney and more.

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Chicago gets rematch with Seattle

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    (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

    Jay Cutler and company don't have to play the guessing game any longer.

    Chicago, fresh off a bye week, will host Seattle in the NFC divisional playoffs Sunday at noon CT.

    The Seahawks advanced past wild card weekend by upsetting New Orleans, the defending Super Bowl champions, 41-36 in Seattle. (If you missed Marshawn Lynch's incredible 67-yard TD run to clinch the Seahawks' win, you gotta see it.)

    Chicago and Seattle met earlier this season with the Seahawks getting the upperhand, 23-20, in October at Soldier Field. In that game, the Bears' offense failed to convert a third down (0-for-12), while Cutler completed only 17 of 39 pass attempts and was sacked six times.

    Cutler will be getting his first crack at the postseason along with former Commodores Earl Bennett, D.J. Moore and Chris Williams.

    NFL Divisional Playoffs schedule

    Saturday, Jan. 15

    AFC: Baltimore at Pittsburgh (CBS), 3:30 p.m. CT
    NFC: Green Bay at Atlanta (FOX), 7 p.m. CT

    Sunday, Jan. 16
    NFC: Seattle at Chicago (FOX), 12 p.m. CT
    AFC: N.Y. Jets at New England (CBS), 3:30 p.m. CT

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    SEC Men's Basketball results (Jan. 8)

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    South Carolina 83, Vanderbilt 75 (OT) - Recap

    Arkansas 68, Tennessee 65 - Recap

    Georgia 77, Kentucky 70 - Recap

    Alabama 75, Mississippi State 57 - Recap

    LSU 62, Auburn 55 - Recap

    Florida 77, Ole Miss 71 - Recap

    Highlights: South Carolina 83, Vanderbilt 75 (OT)

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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

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    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)


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    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

    I've got a suggestion...

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    If you have an idea on how to improve the gameday experience for Vanderbilt football, submit your suggestions on VUcommodores.com by clicking here.

    In less than a week, over 100 Commodore fans have offered feedback.

    So what will be done with the comments? Read Rocket's latest Quick Slant to find out.

    And don't worry about voicing your opinion. If Jimmy Stewart can do it, you can too.



    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Commodores Around the Web Thursday (Jan. 6)

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


    FEATURED NEWS STORY

    Football:
    The James Franklin era of Vanderbilt Football begins (Jim Patterson, Vanderbilt News Service)

    "We may not make a bowl game next year and still feel the year is successful," Vice Chancellor David Williams said. "My hope is that we'll get to a place where not going to a bowl game is a disappointing season. "People may laugh at this, but my expectation is that within the next five years we'll play for the SEC championship. I think to compete for the SEC championship is the goal."

    COMMODORES AROUND THE WEB

    Men's Basketball: Dores use walk-on players to add depth (The Tennessean)
    "Those guys have added a great dimension to our team," Head Coach Kevin Stallings said. "And when they get put in, there's not a tremendous drop-off in the play and the effort level and energy level. And that's all you can ask for as a coach."
    Women's Basketball: VU hopes return to home yields 40 good minutes (The City Paper)
    "The positive is that we have been good for 20 minutes. It is not like we are a bad basketball team," Head Coach Melanie Balcomb said. "The negative is you have to learn how to win with a lead. You have to learn how to play with a lead when people come, when they put it in another gear. We haven't responded well."
    Women's Basketball: Mississippi State game preview (The Tennessean)


    IN THE PROS

    NFL: Cutler comfortable with playoff leadership role (Chicago Tribune)
    "It's hard, especially to get a bye in the playoffs," Jay Cutler said. "Some guys make the playoffs every year, some guys never make the playoffs. I have a good understanding of how hard it really is to get in the playoffs. I've been close a few times, but it's been a fun ride so far on this team."
    NFL: Cutler finally preparing for playoffs (Associated Press)

    MLB: Price named state's Male Athlete of the Year (Daily News Journal)


    VUCOMMODORES.COM NEWS

    Women's Basketball: VU returns home to play Miss. St.

    Women's Basketball: Angela's Angle- Getting back on track

    Women's Basketball: Russian Bar Trio to perform Thursday

    Men's Tennis: `Dores ranked in first poll of 2011

    Women's Tennis: 'Dores ranked in preseason ITA poll

    Bowling: Bowlers stay strong at USA Trials


    SONG OF THE DAY

    This song reminds me of being trapped in my parent's stationwagon on long trips with no authority to change the radio station. Looking back, I guess it really wasn't that bad!




    CONNECT WITH US TODAY

    Follow the Commodores on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.




    Wednesday reading material (Jan. 5)

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    A couple of links from around the sports world for your reading pleasure...

    *ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach and Ivan Maisel debate conference supremecy between the SEC and Pac-10. I can argue that topic in just three letters. Read More

    *Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean
    gives the back story on Vince Young getting benched during the Pittsburgh game this year. Read More

    *SECsports.com reports
    that Steve Shaw has been named SEC Coordinator of Football Officials. Shaw replaces Rogers Redding, who was named college football's national coordinator by the board of managers for the College Football Officiating, LLC. Read More

    *Conference USA and FOX Sports Networks have reached a new television rights agreement. Read More

    *ESPN's Bill Simmons and Trent Dilfer
    discuss the NFL Playoffs. Listen to Podcast

    *ESPN's Pat Forde
    lists his bowl winners and losers. Read More

    *ESPN's Rachael Margolis tweeted
    that the Allstate Sugar Bowl earned an 8.4 overnight rating on ESPN, the second-highest overnight rating for college football in ESPN history. (No article)

    *CNBC's Darren Rovell tweeted
    that ESPN's Joe Lunardi teaches a college course on Bracketology. No really

    *Finally, you gotta love buzzer beaters. Valentino Bryant hit a half-court shot to give Sewanee a 65-63 win over rival Rhodes College Sunday. (Thanks Russell) Watch Video



    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Rothstein's tweets on Vanderbilt

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    Jon Rothstein, College Basketball Insider for MSG Network and CBS College Sports, posted the following tweets after his conversation with Vanderbilt men's basketball coach Kevin Stallings this morning.
    Just got off the phone with #Vanderbilt HC Kevin Stallings - whose team is my pick to win the SEC.......
    Stallings on replacing A.J. Ogilvy + Jermaine Beal "We need we had to replace two awfully good players but we've had guys fill in nicely."
    Stallings on Festus Ezeli "We knew what he was capable of. He's really become a force inside."
    Stallings on Brad Tinsley "He's been our backup point guard for 2 years so he's not being thrown into the fire so to speak."
    Stallings on playing Tinsley + Kyle Fuller together "I like having two good ball handlers out there. It gives you more options."

    Stallings on John Jenkins + Jeffrey Taylor "Their biggest collective strength is their ability to play without the ball."

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Davidson replay

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    For Vanderbilt All Access subscribers, the men's basketball team's 80-52 rout of Davidson has been archived. Watch Game Replay

    Unique act performing at halftime Thursday

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    The Russian Bar Trio is coming to Memorial Gym.

    The nationally renowned act will perform a six-minute routine at halftime of the women's basketball game against Mississippi State on Thursday at 7 p.m.

    If you haven't seen RBT live, you're in for a treat. Just watch the video (below) of their audition on NBC's America's Got Talent in 2008.

    Even judge David Hasselhoff gave his stamp of approval.

    "That's better than the Olympics," said the one-time K.I.T.T. owner.

    If The Hoff likes it, then I approve it, too.

    Tickets are only $10.



    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Vanderbilt's 15th in NCAA RPI

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    For you stat nuts out there...

    Vanderbilt men's basketball is ranked No. 15 in the NCAA RPI, based on games played through Monday.

    A couple of notes:
    *The Commodores (11-2) have victories over RPI No. 30 North Carolina, No. 61 Davidson, No. 81 Presbyterian, No. 109 Belmont, No. 112 Nebraska, and No. 121 Marquette.

    *Vanderbilt's only two losses came to No. 12 West Virginia and No. 33 Missouri.

    *VU has the third-best RPI in the SEC. Here's the conference breakdown:
    No. 6 Kentucky
    No. 13 Florida
    No 15 Vanderbilt

    No. 40 Tennessee
    No. 58 Georgia
    No. 66 Ole Miss
    No. 134 South Carolina
    No. 160 Arkansas
    No. 218 Alabama
    No. 224 LSU
    No. 240 Mississippi State
    No. 323 Auburn

    *Outside of conference play, the Dores still have a regular season matchup with No. 41 Saint Mary's.

    *The Big East has eight teams in the top 18 with Georgetown coming in at No. 1.

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog


    Kendall Rogers, college baseball editor for Yahoo! Sports and Rivals.com, wrote a team-by-team assessment of the SEC and listed reasons for optimism and reasons to worry for each club heading into the season.

    From a divisional standpoint, Rogers feels the SEC East "is in better shape with the Gamecocks, Florida and Vanderbilt leading the way."

    As for the Commodores, he thinks optimism should be high with an experienced starting rotation and lineup geared for a run to Omaha. He puts question marks by the bullpen and power production.

    Click here to read more

    Get my updates on Twitter by following @BarcaBlog

    Video of the Day: Russian spy?

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    Is Alexander Ovechkin a Russian Spy? We might need Emmett Fitzhume and Austin Millbarge to crack the case.

    Check out ESPN's latest commercial:

    Tuesday reading material (Jan. 4)

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    A couple of links from around the sports world for your reading pleasure...

    Vanderbilt men's basketball coach Kevin Stallings answers questions from national media during Monday's SEC teleconference. Listen

    Blue Ribbon's Chris Dortch offers a good primer on SEC men's basketball heading into conference play. Dortch thinks the Commodores are good enough to contend in the East. Read More

    College basketball fans... take a look into SI.com's midseason crystal ball. Read More

    Also from SI.com, Seth Davis gives his latest stock report on college basketball teams to invest in at the moment. I scratched my head when he said he would buy stock in Kentucky, Florida and Tennessee, but would hold on Vanderbilt. His reasoning? 
    "The Commodores are smart enough not to lose to teams they should beat, but are they talented enough to consistently beat teams they shouldn't? Not sure."
    YahooSports's Dan Wetzel believes Terrelle Pryor's acts expose the charade of college athletics. Read More

    Teresa Walker's AP story on the Fisher/Young/Adams saga in Titans land. Read More

    Just for fun, actor James Van Der Beek (errr Dawson) launched a website to spoof his popular YouTube crying clip from Dawson's Creek. He also offers dozens of other faces for your enjoyment (my favorite is sheer panic face). Van Der Memes

    Finally, Stanford 's Jim Harbaugh writes the book on how to avoid media questions about coaching rumors. Just remember to respect the game and his players.


    Update on MBB injuries

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    Men's basketball head coach Kevin Stallings commented on the injury status of guard John Jenkins (concussion) and forward Andre Walker (sprained ankle) during last night's call-in show:

    "John said he felt fine (Monday)," Stallings said. "He was symptom-free and they're going to let him do some running and shooting Tuesday. If everything goes well, and we kind of expect it to, he'll be able to practice on Wednesday.

    "Andre's still awhile out. It's one of the worst (injuries) I've ever seen. He'll be down for awhile. I don't know what awhile is, but at this juncture, I'm hoping for a week or two. It could be more.

    "It's a very significant ankle sprain. They've X-rayed it and it's not broken. He'll be out for a little while."

    The Commodores return to practice Tuesday morning after getting the day off yesterday.

    Tinsley gets pub on ESPN.com

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    In ESPN.com's Weekly Watch, Vanderbilt junior guard Brad Tinsley was recognized in the "performances that wowed us" section. Brad Edgerton writes:
    "So much for point guard being Vandy's weak link. Tinsley has really come on lately for the undermanned Commodores. In a one-point win over Marquette, he had 15 points and eight assists and hit a key bucket down the stretch. In a larger-than-expected 80-52 blowout of Davidson, he scored 14 and actually contributed 10 rebounds. Most importantly, Tinsley turned it over just once in each game."
    In his first season starting at the point, Tinsley tops the SEC in assists per game (5.2) and ranks third in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.0). He also averages 10.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game and leads the Dores with 15 steals.

    Commodores in bracketology

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    I don't put much stock into early projections for the 2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. We haven't even started SEC play yet.

    But that doesn't mean we can't take a peek to see where the Commodores are listed at the moment.

    ESPN's Joe Lunardi has Vanderbilt as a No. 5 seed in Tampa. View Bracket

    SI.com's Andy Glockner thinks the Commodores would be a No. 6 seed in Tulsa. View Bracket

    What you're missing on Twitter, Jan. 3

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    The first edition of "What you're missing on Twitter" for people out there not using Twitter. Simple enough, right? Tweets from today:

    (@darrenrovell) CNBC's Darren Rovell on NFL Playoffs tickets:
    "Wild Card ticket averages @StubHub: Packers/Eagles ($251), Jets/Indy ($183), Saints/Seahawks ($146), Ravens/Chiefs ($120)"

    (@BMullenSports) Tennessean's Bryan Mullen on the Predators:

    "O'Reilly has broken fibula. Just spoke w/ Trotz. Said he's unsure if O'Reilly will need surgery. Will know more tomorrow."

    (@NHL) National Hockey League on the Winter Classic game:

    "2011 Bridgestone #NHL #WinterClassic most watched reg. season game in 36 years. Thanks for your support, NHL fans rule! http://bit.ly/dGEAnj"

    (@TeresaMWalker) AP's Teresa Walker on the Titans:

    "#Titans players want Jeff FIsher back as coach. Many also want VYoung back. Cannot see that happening in 2011."

    (@espn4d) ESPN's Pat Forde on Maryland's new football coach:

    "Randy Edsall says Maryland is his "dream job." True, I guess, if your dream is to flee UConn. Dude's been trying for years."

    (@ESPNAndyKatz) ESPN's Andy Katz on Mississippi State basketball:

    "No surprise by the announcement out of Mississippi State as Renardo Sidney is back on the team and Elgin Bailey will transfer. http://es.pn/fMv5mO"

    (@AdamSchefter) ESPN's Adam Schefter on Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh:

    "Worth noting: Jim Harbaugh does not have blind loyalty to Michigan. He still remembers being bypassed for Mich QB coaching job in 2002."

    (@SEC_Hoops) SEC's Craig Pinkerton on AP basketball poll:

    "Associated Press Poll: Kentucky up one spot to No. 10. Vandy up two spots to No. 22. Florida and Georgia among teams receiving votes."

    (@ESPNLunardi) ESPN's Joe Lundari on his latest bracketology:

    "And so it begins. The first "real" bracket of the season: http://es.pn/aQ3qsV"

    (@sportsguy33) ESPN's Bill Simmons:

    "No! She's 50? RT @si_vault: I'd like to honor one of our generation's true acting legends. Happy 50th, Andrea Zuckerman."

    Postgame comments on injuries

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    Men's basketball coach Kevin Stallings commented on the injuries to starters John Jenkins (concussion) and Andre Walker (sprained ankle) following the Commodores' 80-52 win over Davidson yesterday:
    "Andre sprained his ankle on Friday and then John got hit in the head (Saturday) in the first 30 minutes of practice.

    "John left his feet on a shot fake and the guy jumped into him.

    "(For Saturday's SEC opener), my best guess would be that John will be okay and that Andre won't be okay. Andre could be awhile.

    "We would like to be full strength but it's part of it. You have to control the things you can control and that's out of your control ... It would be nice to get everybody back when we finally do. Our guys have a done a good job. We just have to do the best we can with what we have."

    Commodores Around the Web Monday (Jan. 3)

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    My daily list of Commodore articles from around the web is up. The bulk of today's entry deals with the men's basketball team's rout of Davidson. Also, I picked Huey Lewis to deliver the song of the day in honor of my return. Around the Web

    Dores' rise in Men's Basketball rankings

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    With impressive nonconference wins over Marquette and Davidson, Vanderbilt's men's basketball team moved up two spots to No. 22 in the Associated Press rankings released today.

    The Commodores (11-2) also entered the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll for the first time this season at No. 24. Kentucky is the only other SEC team ranked at the moment (AP No. 10 / Coaches No. 11) with Florida and Georgia receiving votes.

    Vanderbilt will open its SEC slate Saturday at South Carolina (4 p.m. CT, ESPN2).

    View complete rankings

    NFL Playoffs schedule set

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    Four former Commodores on the Chicago Bears -- wide receiver Earl Bennett, quarterback Jay Cutler, defensive back D.J. Moore, and left guard Chris Williams -- will finally get their first taste of the NFL Playoffs.

    They'll also have a much-needed week off after finishing the grueling 17-week season atop the NFC North with an 11-5 record, good for second overall in the conference.

    The Bears will open the playoffs against either Philadelphia, Seattle or New Orleans in Chicago on Sunday, January 16 (12 p.m. CT, FOX).

    It's been a remarkable regular season run for the Bears, who most predicted to finish behind Green Bay and Minnesota in the division.

    Also worth noting-- former Commodore safety Reshard Langford contributed to Kansas City's AFC West Division title. The Chiefs (10-6), the No. 4 seed in the AFC, will host No. 5 seed Baltimore in the opening round of the playoffs Sunday (12 p.m. CT, CBS).

    Here's the playoff schedule for the first two weekends:

    Wild-card weekend


    Saturday, Jan. 8
    NFC: New Orleans at Seattle (NBC), 3:30 p.m. CT
    AFC: N.Y. Jets at Indianapolis (NBC), 7 p.m. CT

    Sunday, Jan. 9
    AFC: Baltimore at Kansas City (CBS), 12 p.m. CT
    NFC: Green Bay at Philadelphia (FOX), 3:30 p.m. CT

    Divisional playoffs

    Saturday, Jan. 15
    AFC: Indianapolis or Kansas City or Baltimore at Pittsburgh (CBS), 3:30 p.m. CT
    NFC: Seattle or New Orleans or Green Bay at Atlanta (FOX), 7 p.m. CT

    Sunday, Jan. 16
    NFC: Philadelphia or Seattle or New Orleans at Chicago (FOX), 12 p.m. CT
    AFC: Kansas City or Baltimore or N.Y. Jets at New England (CBS), 3:30 p.m. CT

    (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)