If something feels familiar about this season or you feel like you've seen this before, but just can't put your finger on it, you may be on to something.
While a 1-2 record in Southeastern Conference play may have national pundits questioning Vanderbilt's 16-0 start, the 1-2 mark in league play just may not be as difficult to overcome as you think. If the last two seasons that Vanderbilt started 1-2 in the SEC are any indication at all as to how a team coached by Kevin Stallings responds to adversity, then it is an indication of good things to come.
The last two times Vanderbilt started SEC play 1-2 occurred last season and in 2003-04. How did that work out? It resulted in two trips to the Sweet 16.
If you take it a step further and compare the 2003-04 team with this year's team, the comparisons are almost uncanny.
Both teams finished non-conference play undefeated. The 2007-08 team broke the 2003-04 team's school record for the best start in school history by going 16-0.
In SEC play, both teams opened with home wins. This season Vanderbilt beat South Carolina and in 2003-04 the team beat Auburn.
After starting 1-0 in league play, both teams took their perfect records (12-0 in 2003-04 and 16-0 in 2007-08) on the road for consecutive games at Kentucky and at Tennessee. And you guessed it - both teams lost both games.
Consecutive losses this early in conference play can be deflating to any team, but few coaches understand what it takes to overcome adversity better than Kevin Stallings.
One of the first steps toward getting back on the winning track will be rekindling the offense, which has been held to season lows in each of the last two games after scoring 73 at Kentucky and 60 at Tennessee.
"We're not playing very well," Stallings said. "I do feel like we are getting better defensively. I feel like we are having more struggles offensively at this juncture actually then we are defensively."
The Commodores also must do a better job of taking care of the ball. In each of the last two games, the Commodores have committed a season-high 22 miscues.
"I've been saying this for about a week now, but to me turnovers and shot selection are two things that I attribute to the coach," Stallings said. "I think that if a team takes care of the ball, it's because the coach probably demands that they take care of it. If a team takes good shots, that is probably a reflection of coaching. We are certainly not taking care of the ball, so what's that say for me. I'm not too concerned about our shot selection, but I am concerned about our carelessness with the ball."
Senior guard Shan Foster, who has been held below his league-leading scoring average in each of the last two games agrees that the offense must improve in order for the team to get back on track.
"We just have to go back to the drawing board," Foster said. "We have to continue to fight, continue to get better, and at some point things are going to turn around and we hope that is tomorrow."
Vanderbilt's first opportunity to get back on track will be on Saturday when LSU visits Memorial Gym.
While lingering effects of losses can often last with younger teams, the leadership skills of Vanderbilt's senior class will certainly be put to the test.
Some times the best remedy for losing is returning home, which the Commodores will do on Saturday against LSU at 12 p.m.
"We look forward to getting back home and playing in front of our home crowd after two tough road games that we came out on the ladder end of," Foster said. "We have to treat (the loss) like a win and get over it quickly. The most important thing is how we respond to it."