Vanderbilt Athletics



JANUARY - MARCH 2008 ARCHIVE

Return to Main Barca Blog Page



MARCH 27, 2008: WBB NCAA TOURNAMENT UPDATES FROM SPOKANE, WASH.

I am traveling to Spokane, Wash., for the NCAA Regional Semifinals this weekend. I will be posting photos from the road throughout the trip plus other news from the road at our postseason central site. Check it out!

Click for NCAA Tournament Central



MARCH 19, 2008: NCAA TOURNAMENT UPDATES FROM THE ROAD

Fans, all of my blog updates from the road during the NCAA Tournament will be done in our Postseason Central page.

Visit NCAA Tournament Central



SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 16- 12:59 PM

Well, I am parked in my media seat for the start of a big weekend on West End. The men's basketball team takes on Florida in an hour in a game that could go down as being a difference maker in an Eastern Division that has three teams locked together for second place.

And tomorrow, the women's basketball faces a Tennessee team that's coming off a home loss to LSU. We haven't beaten the Lady Vols since I started working at McGugin in the fall of 2003.. so hopefully we can break that string, so I don't have to keep blaming myself as being "the curse." A win tomorrow would tie us up with Tennessee in the conference, so as the hip hop group De La Soul once said... "the stakes is high!"

I think the Commodores need another big performance from junior standout Christina Wirth to have a shot at knocking off the Lady Vols. In four of Vanderbilt's six losses, Wirth has scored less than double digits in points. If the offense can get going early, they can put some pressure on UT, and I believe Wirth's ability to create her own shot could be the key against a talented UT defense that ranks third in scoring defense during SEC play.

Coach Balcomb chimed in on the importance of Wirth during the Commodores' red-hot six game winning streak to push VU to 8-2 in the conference standings.

"I'm seeing somebody that wants the ball. Earlier in the year, she didn't want to make the tough shot. She didn't know that was going to be her role. Now she knows that's her role. She wants the basketball. She can find different ways to score. Tonight you saw her drive. She got to the free throw line because they (Kentucky) took her three point shot away which is what she has done so well. She has been money from 3 and shooting very well. She put it on the floor, and then she also went into the paint and posted. You saw her make post moves with her back to the basket. She has all three things, and it's nice to have a player that is that complete, especially as a junior. She has other weapons to go through but also want to take and make the big shot."

Was it a matter of her being too unselfish?

"Definitely," Balcomb responded. "Christina really enjoys assists. She really enjoys the team getting assists. We were stressing so much ball movement, sharing the basketball, and running the offense. Now she has figured out that she is the best option to take it no matter where the ball is in the offense. She has been more aggressive to get more shots. That was really important early (in the season). She wasn't aggressive enough. If the shot came to her, she let the game come to her (a little too much). Now she's going out to get the game."

Good luck to both the men's and the women's teams this weekend - Go 'Dores!

A couple of other notes...

*I hope you had a chance to read Brett Hait's article in the Nashville City Paper comparing the TV ratings in Nasvhille on Tuesday between the Preds hockey game with Detroit to our MBB game with Kentucky. I am a firm believer that more fans in Nashville are not only Vanderbilt fans but college basketball fans, when compared to hockey fans. This isn't a knock on hockey fans, because I enjoy the Predators games, I just think there's more interest in Vanderbilt (of course, I'm biased). Here's the link to Brett's story - Click Here.

Sometimes we don't get the coverage we deserve, so as fans, what can you do to help? I think it means doing more things like flooding radio shows with calls to talk about Commodore sports, contacting the local newspapers and television stations about wanting to see more coverage of the black and gold.

*We had our first live online chat with Pedro Alvarez yesterday. Thanks to everyone that sent questions in on VUcommodores.com. Junior pitcher Brett Jacobson will be our guest on Tuesday from 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. CT, so get your questions in now... and make sure you stay updated on the Diamond 'Dores by visiting our baseball preseason central page.

*Two more "must-watch" basketball video features when you have a couple of minutes:

Fox 17 followed Shan Foster to get a feel fo what it's like to be him on a regular school day - Shan Video ... Also, Aussie Hoops America put together a nice piece on freshman sensation A.J. Ogilvy - AJ Video.

*Finally, here's what the baseball poster looks like this year. Make sure you pick one up at the games!





THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14- 5:02 AM

First off, tonight is the Vanderbilt women basketball team's annual "Pink Out" game to raise awareness of breast cancer in support of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

Not only is this a great cause, but also a big game. The Commodores have rolled off five consecutive wins and stand at 7-2 in the SEC, their best start in over a decade. Kentucky comes to town just a game behind the 'Dores in the conference at 6-3. The winner of this matchup becomes a step closer to securing a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament in early March, which is being held here in town at the GEC... err... Sommet Center. I hope to see a large turnout from the Commodore faithful at Memorial tonight wearing Pink!

Speaking of women's basketball... juniors Christina Wirth and Jennifer Risper recorded two web commercials for us a few weeks ago to promote (1) Sunday's UT game (which is officially a sellout) and (2) Girl Scouts Day vs. Alabama on March 2. You can watch the video spots at the following links:

UT Game Invite: Watch
Girl Scouts Promo: Watch


Now, there were some great outtakes from the shoot, and Tina and Jenn were gracious enough to let us post some of the footage. I think you'll enjoy the video below:



And you can view more of VUcommodores.com's YouTube videos here

Quick note on men's basketball. As important (and fun) as Tuesday's blowout of Kentucky was on national TV, the stakes are even higher Saturday as the Gators come to town. The Commodores dropped their first meeting in Gainesville a few weeks ago, and are currently tangled up with Florida and Kentucky in a battle for second in the SEC East. We all remember how magical Memorial was for last year's home game with the national champions... let's make it special again.

Oh, and word is that the students are planning a "black out" for their seating area... and the Maniacs will contribute to the promo by giving them t-shirts with the phrase "Don't tase me, bro." If you are unfamiliar with this term, then you are as old or older than myself!

Now, turning to some baseball news... we are another day closer to the start of the 'Dores 2008 campaign. I hope you've had a chance to visit our Preseason Baseball Central page to get ready for opening day next week in Tempe, Ariz., against two-time defending champs Oregon State.

We have a lot of new content coming over the next week so stay logged onto our official site. We are holding our first live online chat on VUcommodores.com this Friday and All-American Pedro Alvarez will be our guest. The chat will take place from 12:30 - 1 p.m. CT and you can submit your questions in advance by clicking here. We plan to have another player chat early next week as well.

Also, be on the look out for Q&A's with players... and check out Paul Jones' FOX17 video preview on the boys of spring. Paul and the rest of his crew do a great job of covering Vanderbilt Athletics and we are much appreciative!

Oh, and I mentioned in my last post that former Commodore pitcher David Price was being recognized twice on Tuesday.... here are two pictures from the events courtesy of Daniel Dubois and John Russell.

Nashville RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) presents him with the Butch McCord Student of the Game Award.



He's awarded the Golden Spikes trophy (best player in college baseball) during the Kentucky MBB game.



Changing subjects, the Sports Guy on espn.com had this video in his weekly web links... and I thought it was hilarious. At the time, Shaq was on a Los Angeles Lakers team that had just defeated the Sacramento Queens (as he termed his opponent back in the day, instead of the Kings) in the NBA playoffs. The Diesel came up with this freestyle to the Cheers theme song to brag about the Lakers triumph. My favorite part is how Shaq draws out the final line of the song. Just classic.



Finally, since today is Valentine's Day... what's love really got to do with it (as Tina Turner once sung)?

So, we'll close today's post with her hit single from the 80s.. especially since she's been in the news lately because of her duet with Beyonce at Sunday's Grammy's show. Apparently, Aretha Franklin didn't "respect" Beyonce for referring to Tina as "the Queen."

By the way.. check out Tina's hair in this video. It definitely could have won her "Best in Show" at the Westminster Kennel 132nd Annual Dog Show earlier this week.





MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11- 4:59 PM

Happy Monday to all.

Just wanted to hit quickly on some news and notes around the building.

First, we just added a clip of Jermaine Beal's winning jumper at South Carolina that lifted the Commodores to a thrilling 66-65 victory in Columbia. I loved the play call... notice how everyone just splits into different directions off of the inbounds play, sending the Gamecock defense into mass hysteria. Watch it below:



Also, you can watch more videos on our VUcommodores YouTube page. Make sure you subscirbe to the page so you will be notified when videos are added.

Second, we launced a website so fans can keep track of Shan Foster's race to break Matt Freije's all-time scoring record at Vanderbilt. The senior sharpshooter is only 119 points away from first place. The site also has some other cool things like new desktop wallpaper of number 32. Check it all out at www.vucommodores.com/shanfoster.

Third, Tuesday is another big day for David Price. In the morning, the No. 1 overall draft pick in last spring's Major League Draft, will receive the first annual "Butch McCord Student of the Game Award." The award is being presented by Nashville RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) in recognition of his achievements on and off the field and the positive example he has set for Nashville-area kids. Later that night at the men's basketball home game against Kentucky, he will be presented with the Golden Spikes award for the first time during half time. Eric Campbell and Matt Titus from USA Baseball will be at the ceremony as well as R.J. Harrison from the Tampa Rays. Make sure you stay in your seats for this special recognition.

Finally, another video clip to end today's post. This is for those of you going through withdrawal because there have been no new episodes of The Office due to the Writers Guild of America strike. Yes, things may seem awful, sorta like Michael Scott trying to get over his breakup with Carol, but there will be a brighter day.. one day. (well, as long as we have iTunes songs to click on repeatedly without purchasing).





FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 8- 3:42 PM

Melanie Balcomb, pictured with Vice Chancellor David Williams, was recognized prior Thursday's game for achieving her 300th career victory last Sunday at Georgia. (Photo/Neil Brake)

Ask most fans of the game, and they'll tell you they'd prefer a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat thriller over a lopsided blowout any day. But following Vanderbilt's 78-48 dismantling of South Carolina Thursday night at Memorial Gym, head coach Melanie Balcomb explained that victories are satisfying to her under any circumstances.

"I just like to win and it doesn't matter how," said Balcomb, who was honored prior to the game for picking up her 300th career victory at Georgia Sunday.

And the Commodores have done just that of late.

Featuring a roster full of youth and only three upperclassmen, the Commodores (17-6, 6-2 SEC) have jumped out to their best SEC start since the 1997-98 season to once again put the conference on notice that they are a team to be reckoned with down the stretch.

This might have been tough to envision after Vanderbilt suffered four losses during the non-conference schedule, its most defeats prior to SEC play since the 1998-99 season.

Instead of packing it in after early season struggles that resulted in falling out of the national rankings for the first time in several years, Vanderbilt used the situation to come together and find its identity.

"I think we learned our lessons and it's helped us to mature," said junior Christina Wirth. "We went through some hard times and it's helped us find out who we are and that makes us more determined to show what we can do."

So what has been the difference in the turn around?

Previous Vanderbilt squads thrived off their offense's ability to score at will, and while the Commodores still stand near the top of every SEC offensive category, this year's team prides itself with buckling down on the other side of the ball to win games.

"I thought this team could be the best defensive team that we've had and we just weren't doing that early," noted Balcomb. "I think we really can play a very high level of defense and rebound, where our teams in the past were known to outscore people. I think we've changed. We're just different."

During its four-game winning streak, the Commodores' defense has been able to:

Hold opponents to an average of 27% shooting from the field in the opening 20 minutes of play, resulting in half time leads in each game.

Clamp down on three-point baskets allowed, limiting the opposition to 9-of-62 (14%) from behind the arc.

Force 20+ turnovers per game, turning the takeaways into an average of 23 points scored per game.

"We're spending more time practicing defense then we ever have and that's because it's something I thought would be the strength of our team," said Balcomb.

As the Commodores begin to regain national attention with each victory, Balcomb seems perfectly okay with her team going unnoticed until tournament time.

"Nobody's talking about us, and with a young team, it's not a problem," she stated. "It's a good thing.

"Our goal is to keep improving all season and to be the best team we can be in March... I know the potential is there and right now the attitude and effort are there and we're just building confidence."


AND TO CLOSE OUT TODAY'S POST...

A little REO Speedwagon to rock out to for the weeknd. I picked the classic song "Roll with the Changes". Turn your office speakers up to 11 for this one.






MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4- 4:14 PM

Somebody wake Tom Petty up for the second half of the Super Bowl.

I haven't updated the ol' blog in a while... so today will be a mix of some Vanderbilt notes as well as my random thoughts of the Super Bowl.

*First, hats off to Coach Balcomb on getting her 300th SEC victory yesterday with a win at No. 14/17 Georgia.

And get this stat... the team currently holds a 5-2 record in conference, Balcomb's best start in SEC play during her six seasons at Vanderbilt. This really stood out to me, especially since we have a young team and she has had some very talented squads in the past.

Also, another impressive number to chew on courtesy of our WBB sports info wiz Chris Weinman... VU held UGA to 3-for-19 from three-point range Sunday. In the last four games, Vanderbilt has held its opponents to a combined 8-of-62 from long distance (12.9%).

So, congrats to the team on the midseason turnaround and best of luck during the second portion of SEC play.

One final WBB note... if you haven't purchased your tickets to the home game with Tennessee on February 17, you better hurry up. Tickets are almost sold out, so call 615.322.GOLD or click here.

*It was a good weekend overall for the basketball program, with the men's team getting back on track against Auburn. In case you missed it on VUcommodores, I posted a YouTube clip of Jermaine Beal's spectacular half court shot... Click here to see it.. and be sure to take a look at all of the other videos on our YouTube page!

*One of our biggest days of the year on VUcommodores is Wednesday... Football's official national signing day. Bookmark this page to keep track of everything as it unfolds. We'll start announcing the names of the signees early that morning, and will carry Coach Johnson's press conferece live in All Access (free) at 4 p.m. CT that day.

*A baseball note. Saturday's baseball banquet may be sold out, but we are planning to webcast the event live in All Access at 7 p.m. CT that night. Stay tuned. (Also, we just added a "countdown to first pitch" button of the baseball home page - only 18 days away!).

Okay.. now for my random notes about the Super Bowl, in no particular order.

1) That was an incredible ending and I was thrilled to see it unfold that way. The first three quarters were about as exciting as Tom Petty's half time performance (I'll get into that later)... but the final 15 minutes were truly amazing. From Eli coming through in the clutch, to some "no names" making big time catches on the grandest stage, to the Pats defense failing multiple times to kill the final drive... it was truly memorable. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate the Patriots. I like Tom Brady and the team, I just have no love for Bill Belichick.

2) Speaking of Belichick, my brother sent me this ESPN article about "Spy Gate" ... it's worth the read and makes it seem like NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has a lot of questions to answer.

3) I think it's safe to say that the Tom Brady and Joe Montana comparisons can be put to rest for now. In what was considered to be Brady's most prolific offense in his four championship games, he could only muster 14 points, easily his worst SB performance.

Since both QB's have played in four title games, let's look at the numbers: Montana has thrown 13 TD's to Brady's 7, he has 142 more passing yards in 34 less attempts, and the biggest number, he has four rings in four tries which outdoes Brady's three out of four. Throw in the fact that Montana led the Niners to first half blowouts in two of his wins against Denver and Miami, keeping him from piling up even more stats. Sure, Joe Cool was known for performing under pressure, but he also had the ability to put opponents away early, something Brady hasn't done. In his previous three SBs, Brady did find a way to come through in crunch time, which is admirable, but to be honest, he wasn't able to do it Sunday, something Montana would have never let happen.

Okay, enough of that.

4) Kudos to Tom Petty for the half time show. Look, I celebrate his entire catalog, but did he make an actual movement during his performance? Is he really still alive because I couldn't tell. I love the guy and his music, but it's a live performance... Do something, Tom!

I really think you could have just played his greatest hits CD over the loudspeakers and it would have been the same thing. He didn't spice up the original versions, and didn't try to work the crowd.. nothing.

They should have just played his CD and had a few guys up on stage playing the video game 'Guitar Hero.' That would have been electric, my friends. (By the way, I am addicted to that game.. and by gosh, I'm a showman when I play. I don't care about the accuracy of the chords I hit.. I just care about rocking out, plain and simple).

5) Did you know Frank Caliendo does a John Madden impression? You'd never know it by watching Fox or TBS over the last few years.

6) Carlos Mencia... still not funny. Not even in a beer commercial, which is the cheapest way to get a laugh. Well done, Carlos. I've got Carrot Top on speed dial.

7) Speaking of beer, does Jeremy Shockey get a ring for drinking alcohol in the sky box? I loved that camera shot of him during the game with three drinks in front of him.

8) Oh, and congrats to Tiki Barber on his first championship. Errrr, wait.

9) Who decided that Joe Buck needs to be the "funny" guy in all of his commercials? I missed that board meeting. How about a commercial reuniting Deion Sanders and Tim McCarver instead (can we make that happen?)

10) Best commerical? That's Easy. Nascar's Carl Edwards and his spot for Claritin.
"Even if you don't drive a 180 mph like I do, it's still risky driving with an allergy medicine that can cause drowsiness."

Nicely done, Carl. Maybe that explains your four "DNFs" in 2007.

11) With everything sponsored throughout the game, I was shocked to see that Fox didn't take advantage of slapping a corporate sponsorship on the "Peyton Cam" they showed after every play. Did you know he's related to Eli?

12) Best line of the night goes to my friend C, who predicted New England would win by three touchdowns:
"That was superb. I was wrong and it was worth it. I always liked Boston people better when they felt bitter and unlucky."

13) Best line from a message board (found by my brother):
"I just realized that Jared Lorenzen is going to own a Super Bowl ring. He can also use it as a cookie cutter."

Ouch, that's just wrong. I thought a ring would be better to cut doughnut holes, instead. I should know.

14) One random TV side note... I was really enjoying all of the air time for the Baldwin family.

First, the writer's strike ended Alec's run on "30 Rock" for the time being, Daniel just left VH1's "Celebrity Rehab," plus it looks like Stephen will quit Trump's Celebrity Apprentice next week (at least, that's what I gathered from the preview).

What's the world coming to? First, the Patriots do the unthinkable and ruin a perfect season, and now this.

15) Finally, the best reason for watching Fox right now is that American Idol is back in full swing. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the audition episodes. They never get old. This clip has been the highlight of the season so far. I will dedicate it to Eli and Peyton... "Brothers Forever"





MONDAY, JANUARY 14- 2:02 PM



Sometimes as fans we forget that sports aren't the only things happening in the lives of Vanderbilt's student-athletes. I'm always fascinated with finding out about some of the other stuff they're involved in around campus, outside of the typical box scores and game recaps. Here's another great example:

The Vanderbilt Commodore Steel Band program, under the direction of instructor Mat Britain, was formed in the Fall of 2004 at the Blair School of Music. In only a few years, the program (open to all students) has grown into three bands including the creation of the First and Ten Steel Drum Band, which consists of student-athletes on the Commodores' football team.

Last fall's First and Ten Steel Drum Band participants were Marcus Buggs, Kyle Fischer, Justin Green, Theo Horrocks, Cassen Jackson-Garrison, Dom Morais, Steven Stone, Sean Walker and David Whittington. They practiced throughout the semester to prepare for an end-of-semester performance at Ingram Hall.

I thought you would enjoy seeing some photos (courtesy of Stan Jones) from their show in December.

VIEW PHOTO GALLERY BY STAN JONES

Also, here's a great video from 2006 that documents how the First and Ten Steel Drum band originally came together. The piece was produced by Emily Pearce and Pat Slattery fron Vanderbilt's News Service department (in the Public Affairs division). It's even nominated for a Midsouth regional Emmy in the Advanced Media Arts/Entertainment category.





FRIDAY, JANUARY 11- 11:55 PM



This post is a couple of days late.... but better late than never, right?

We all know by now that the men's basketball team, ranked twelfth in the nation, started off conference play on the right foot with an 80-73 win over South Carolina on Wednesday night at Memorial Gym.

But for fans outside of Nashville, you missed something special prior to the game... something called "Memorial Madness."

Memorial Madness was created this year by the Vanderbilt Student Government and Vandy Fanatics as a way to get students excited about the start of conference play.

And man were they excited!

Over 1,000 students started forming a line outside the Gym three hours before tipoff just to see what the "madness" was all about. The line extended so far that it wrapped all the way around the right field foul pole at the baseball stadium.

The first 500 were treated to Shan Foster replica jerseys (they were in such demand that I didn't even get one!). Everyone could also register for cool prizes like a chance at winning a semester of free books. To top it off, one student would be selected randomly to have a chance to shoot a half-court shot for $30,000 at half time of the men's game later that night (unfortunately, the student missed the shot).

Once everyone made it into the gym, an hour-long program was hosted by former Commodore and current Cleveland Indians pitcher Jensen Lewis. The program consisted of:

*Video highlights and interviews with the men's basketball team on the jumbotron

*Performances by the Spririt of Gold, VU Danceline, and Cheer squads

*An introduction of the women's basketball team accompanied by a t-shirt toss

*Baseball player Brett Jacobson put his girlfriend as well as Coach Corbin to the test in a game show to see who knew him better.

*And free pizza!

I was told the goal of this pep rally was to create an atmosphere similar to a midnight madness event, which is typically held by most schools prior to the start of the season. With the team off to its best start ever and the students just returning from winter break, holding the event after non-conference play ended up working out much better.

Actually, it was perfect. You couldn't have scripted it better. In my five years here, I have never seen a student section packed that early. When South Carolina walked out to the court an hour and a half prior to the game for warmups, they were greeted by a rowdy south side of the Gym.

Big props to our kids for creating a buzz in Memorial... and it was definitely noticed and appreciated by the players and coaches. Let's hope they can keep the energy going at our next home game against LSU!

Check out this photo gallery from the event so you can get a better idea of what I'm talking about. Almost all photos were taken by Steve Green, with a couple by Dwayne Elliot and myself.

VIEW MEMORIAL MADNESS PHOTO GALLERY

Well, I am off to Lexington in the morning with some other staff members to see the undefeated Commodores take on Kentucky. I have never been to a game at Rupp, so let's just say I am looking forward to it.

Which leads me to my video of the day. Since I have heard so much about "the Blue Mist," it made me think of a video from Eiffel 65 (another one-hit wonder). Like the lyrics, I have a feeling that this represents what I'll be walking into when I arrive at Rupp...

"I have a blue house with a blue window...
Blue is the color of all that I wear...
Blue are the streets and all the trees are too."


I think you get the point. Have a great weekend!





WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 9- 1:14 PM



Good afternoon, Commodore fans. I had a chance to catch up with men's basketball senior swingman Shan Foster at Monday's practice as the No. 12 Commodores prepare for tonight's conference opener against South Carolina. Foster has had an unbelievable start to his final year. He leads the league in scoring (21.1 ppg) and is shooting 53 percent from behind the arc. He's also averaging a career-high 5.1 rebounds per game and Coach Stallings recently praised him as the team's best defender.

At the same time, he's making his climb to the top of the Commodore record books. With one three-pointer tonight, he'll become the school's all-time leader in three-pointers made (Ronnie McMahan made 296 from 1992-95). He's also closing in on Matt Freije's scoring record, standing eighth on that list with 1,637 career points. Freije holds the record at 1,891.

But before I get to that.. here are a couple of links with some nice pub for the undefeated 'Dores:

Vitale: Surprise Undefeated Teams
ESPN Weekly Watch: Foster POW
Parrish: Foster Serious Candidate

Okay... here's the interview with Shan:

Heading into Wednesday's conference opener undefeated, you have to feel good about the position that the team is in right now. "It's a great honor to be 15-0 right now, but we still haven't played our best game yet. That's something we have to strive for. The UMass game was a great game, but we still had 20 turnovers. We had some defensive breakdowns hear and there, so that definitely gives us something to work towards and continue to get better at."

Even though the team is undefeated, you guys sound like you're still focused on what you need to improve on. "Our main goal is to stay humble and hungry. We need to realize that although our record is perfection, that's not the way we're playing unfortunately. In a way, it's good because we're able to win in situations where we're not playing our best basketball. As a senior, I've been here when we haven't played our best basketball, and we lost. It's definitely a humbling experience, and it makes us strive for perfection."

It's apparent that this team is very confident on the court, especially down the stretch. Did the ups and downs of last year help to build that confidence? "I think last year taught us that if we stay together, then anything is possible. Especially with four seniors and everyone that was on last year's team, we take a great deal of confidence from winning in late game situations. We feel like we're the best team in the country whenever the game is close, and that gives us confidence. Even when we're not playing our best basketball or blowing opponents out, we have a great deal of confidence we're going to win."

Last year, Vanderbilt turned the season around by knocking off several ranked teams early in the SEC schedule. This year, the role is reversed and you're ranked 12th nationally heading into conference play. Everyone else will be gunning for you every night. How does it feel to be in that position? "I think it's good for us because it will force us to continue to get better and bring our `A' game every night. Whenever you have teams going to play their best every night, it forces us to be better, both as a player and as a team."

What steps do the more experienced guys like yourself take to help the younger guys adjust to conference play? "We keep on them and make sure everyone stays humble and keeps their eyes on our goals we set for our team. We need to keep getting better every single day. As long as we do that like we did last year, we will reach our potential whatever that may be. Things are looking pretty good so far."

What do you tell them about the difficulty of playing in the SEC? "They can look back in previous years. For the last two years, the NCAA champion has been Florida. That should tell you right there how strong our conference is. It's one of the toughest conferences in America. Every night is going to be a fight. There are no easy games or giveaways. Everything is going to be a grind from here on out."


And now it's time for my video of the day. This one is from Miley Cyrus, better known by the youngsters as Hannah Montana.

To be honest, I usually like the videos I post no matter how bad they are, but don't really care for this one (especially the part near the end where it looks like they're doing a cheap rip off of the Macarena... or better known as the "Barca-rena" by people in my circle because of my twin brother's dance moves in high school. No video of that though... sorry!)

I picked this song since we are technically starting our second season today for men's hoops. We may be 15-0 right now, but if we don't have a good conference record, then our postseason dreams could fade away.

So here's Miley Cyrus with "Start All Over."

(Don't you love how I tie in these meaningless videos to one of our current storylines in athletics? Oh, and I'm really looking forward to being at Memorial tonight. See you there.)




CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE NEXT PAGE




Proud Sponsors of Commodore Athletics