MIDWEST FIRST ROUND BRACKET: Tampa, Fla. - Friday, March 21, 2008 4 Vanderbilt (26-7) vs. 13 Siena (22-10) 5 Clemson (24-9) vs. 12 Villanova (20-12)
NASHVILLE - The Vanderbilt Commodores, the number four seed in the Midwest Region, will face off against the #13 seed Siena Saints Friday at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla. The time for the game has been set for 6:20 p.m. CT.
Vanderbilt, who is making their second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1988 and 1989, will be a four seed at the tournament for the first time in the history of the school. The Commodores' highest seeding in the tournament came in 1993, when Vanderbilt advanced to the Sweet 16 as a number three seed - Vanderbilt has been a six seed twice, a seven seed once, an eight seed once, a nine seed once, and a ten seed once. This will also mark the first time Vanderbilt has faced a #13 seed in the tournament.
Friday's matchup with Siena will mark the third time Vanderbilt has played an NCAA Tournament game in the state of Florida. The Commodores advanced to the Sweet 16 out of Orlando in 2004 after defeating Western Michigan in the first round, 71-58, and North Carolina State, 75-73, in the second round. Vanderbilt lost to Connecticut, the eventual national champion, in the Sweet 16 that season in the Phoenix Regional Semifinal.
The Commodores have a 4-4 all-time record in the first round of the NCAA Tournament since the field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985, and have won the last two in 2004 and 2007. In 2007, the #6 seed Commodores knocked off #11 seed George Washington, 77-44, in the most lopsided 6-11 matchup in the history of the tournament.
This will be the tenth overall appearance for Vanderbilt in the tournament, with the Commodores sporting an all-time record of 9-10. This will mark head coach Kevin Stallings' third appearance in the Big Dance as the Vanderbilt mentor - he has a 4-2 overall record in the tournament with Vanderbilt. Including his six-year tenure at Illinois State, he has an overall record of 5-4 in four NCAA Tournament berths.
Friday's appearance in the Midwest Region marks the third time Vanderbilt has appeared in the Midwest Region. Vanderbilt also played in the Midwest Region in 1988 (2-1) and 1997 (0-1). The Midwest Regional semifinals and finals will be held in Detroit, Mich., at Ford Field on March 28th and 30th. Ironically, in 1988, #7 seed Vanderbilt reached the regional semifinals at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich., and faced #2 seed Kansas, this year's number one seed in the Midwest Regional. The Jayhawks and Commodores would meet in the Sweet 16 round of this year's tournament if seeding held form.
Siena, who finished 22-10, shared the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) regular season title with Rider and captured the MAAC Tournament title with a 74-53 win over Rider to earn the league's automatic berth. The Saints are led by sophomore wing Edwin Ubiles, who averages 17.3 points per game. Junior guard Kenny Hasbrouck adds 15.6 points per game, and sophomore forward Alex Franklin chips in 15.2 points per contest for Siena.
Vanderbilt is 3-0 against teams from the MAAC, including a 97-73 win over Iona on December 31, 2007, at Memorial Gym. The Commodores defeated Iona one other time, 92-56, in 1980-81, and knocked off Manhattan in the 1982-83 campaign, 85-71.
The winner of the Vanderbilt-Siena contest would take on the winner of the #5 Clemson-#12 Villanova matchup on Sunday.
There are still general public tickets available through the St. Pete Times Forum by calling 813-301-2500 or clicking here. Tickets for both sessions on Friday and Sunday are $198.