March 6, 2012
Taylor & Ezeli | Stallings
Vanderbilt's basketball team met with the media one final time on Tuesday before departing for this week's SEC Tournament. The third-seeded Commodores will play either sixth-seeded Mississippi State or 11th-seeded Georgia at 9 p.m. CT on Friday in the SEC quarterfinals.
Vanderbilt heads to New Orleans with a 21-10 overall record and 10-6 mark in league play. With a first-round bye, the Commodores need to win two games to reach the SEC Tournament Championship game to be played on Sunday.
The Commodores have not won the SEC Tournament since 1951, which is something Vanderbilt Head Coach Kevin Stallings said was one of the team's goals when the season began.
"It's been a very long time," Stallings said. "That is something we would like to make happen. That was one of our goals at the beginning of the season to put ourselves in position to play for the SEC Tournament Championship. Whether or not we can do that remains to be seen, but we are certainly going to go give it our best."
The SEC Tournament will also offer a final tune-up before the NCAA Tournament brackets are announced on Sunday (5 p.m. CT). With the season winding down, Stallings added that there is beginning to be a sense of urgency for this senior-laden squad. A strong SEC Tournament could not only improve the team's seed, but also provide a good momentum boost come next week.
"I think there is a sense of urgency," Stallings said. "I don't know how that will manifest itself. I thought we had a sense of urgency last year and it turned into making us very tight at the end of the Richmond game. I thought that urgency turned into tightness. I think they've had urgency all season long, albeit, it seemed to come and go at times. But hopefully it won't really be about urgency, it will be about good play and consistent steady play that is good enough to help us advance."
Note: Freshmen Kedren Johnson and Shelby Moats missed practice on Tuesday due to illness. Johnson has been battling a stomach virus and Moats underwent tests for mononucleosis.