March 11, 2010
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TV: SEC Network | Radio: 104.5 FM | XM: 199 Sirius: 213
#20/23 Vanderbilt begins its quest for its first SEC Tournament title since 1951 when the Commodores take on Georgia on Friday night in the last quarterfinal matchup at Bridgestone Arena. Tip off is scheduled for 8:45 p.m. CT, and the game can be seen live on the SEC Network, ESPN360.com, and ESPN Full Court. The radio call can be heard on the Vanderbilt-ISP Radio Network and vucommodores.com, with Joe Fisher and Tim Thompson courtside with all of the action.
Vanderbilt enters Friday night's contest with a 23-7 overall record and 12-4 record in SEC competition, its best mark in league play since the 1992-93 season, and as the number two seed in the SEC East. Vanderbilt is 1-1 against Georgia this season.
VU's first round bye is its first since the 2007 season and only their third since SEC divisional play began in 1992. The Commodores claimed the SEC East championship in 1993 and was the number one seed in the East, but lost its quarterfinal game to LSU. The 2007 team also lost in the quarterfinals (to Arkansas). Despite the tough time at the SEC Tournament, both the 1993 team and the 2007 team advanced to the Sweet Sixteen that season. Vanderbilt will receive a bye into the quarterfinals for the first time since the 2007 season and for the third time since the tournament split into divisions in 1992. The Commodores byes came in 1992 - when the Commodores won the overall crown with a 14-2 record in 1993, and in 2007, when Vanderbilt was a number two seed after finishing 10-6 in league action.
Vanderbilt owns a 29-47 all-time mark at the SEC Tournament. In last year's tournament, the Commodores dropped a first-round matchup with Alabama, 82-75, on March 12 in Tampa. In all, Vanderbilt is making its 49th appearance in the SEC Tournament. VU has reached the semifinals nine times and the finals once. The lone trip to the finals resulted in Vanderbilt's only SEC Tournament Title, which came in 1951 with a 61-57 win over Kentucky.
Vanderbilt's SEC Tournament record against eachopponent follows: Alabama (4-4), Arkansas (0-3), Auburn (2-6), LSU (3-6), Ole Miss (2-3), Mississippi State (7-4), Florida (2-5), Georgia (4-1), Kentucky (3-4), South Carolina (0-0), Tennessee (1-7).
This will be the fifth time the city of Nashville has hosted the SEC Tournament, and the third time the event will be held at the Bridgestone Arena. The other two times the tournament was held at Memorial Gym on Vanderbilt's campus. The Commodores are 1-2 in SEC Tournament games at Bridgestone Arena, and 1-2 in tournament games at Memorial Gym. Vanderbilt is 3-3 all-time at the downtown Nashville facility, with a split with Western Kentucky (W, 80-75, 12/2/01; L, 69-76, 12/11/09) and a win over South Florida (71-52, 12/16/08) on neutral floors, and a win (Auburn, 76-71, 3/9/06) and two losses (Alabama, 59-78, 3/8/01; 73-92, LSU, 3/10/06) at the SEC Tournament.
Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings is 5-9 all-time at the SEC Tournament, and has advanced to the semifinals one time during his 11-year tenure. The Commodores advanced to the semifinals in 2004 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
The Commodores are coming off a 77-73 loss last Saturday on Senior Day at Memorial Gym, the 10th time in the last 11 tries Vanderbilt has dropped a season finale. Senior point guard Jermaine Beal led the Vanderbilt effort with a 21-point performance. A.J. Ogilvy scored 15 points and Jeffery Taylor tallied 13 points for the Commodores, who were outrebounded by the Gamecocks, 33-28, and committed 16 turnovers against a South Carolina full-court press.
Senior Jermaine Beal, who was a unanimous selection to the All-SEC First Team, leads a very balanced Commodore offensive attack with 14.7 points per game. Sophomore Jeffery Taylor and A.J. Ogilvy, both All-SEC Second Team members, each average 13.9 points per contest, and John Jenkins, who was named to the All-Freshman team and was named the league's Sixth Man of the Year, also averages double figures with 10.5 points per game.