MBB NCAA First Round preview: Siena
March 19, 2008
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Vanderbilt, the #4 seed in the Midwest Regional, takes on the MAAC Tournament champion Siena Saints, the #13 seed, Friday evening at 6:20 CST at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla. The game will be televised by CBS, with Tim Brando and Mike Gminksi calling the action, and the contest can be heard on the Vanderbilt-ISP Radio Network, with Joe Fisher and Tim Thompson on the call.
The Commodores are making their second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the second time a VU team has accomplished the feat in the history of the program, with the only other time coming in 1988 and 1989. Last season, Vanderbilt, a #6 seed, advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second time in four years after knocking off George Washington and Washington State in the East Region. The Commodores lost in the regional semifinals to Georgetown, 66-65, on a controversial, Jeff Green layup at Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey. The Commodores also made the Sweet 16 in 2004.
The 2007-08 edition of the Commodores was a record setter - this year's team reeled off 16 consecutive wins to begin the season, the best start to a Vanderbilt season in the history, won 25 regular season games, which tied the 1992-93 team for the most in program history, and went perfect at home with a 19-0 record, the most single-season wins at Memorial Gym in the 56-year history of the venerable facility. It was the fifth time a Vanderbilt team had gone undefeated at home, and the first time since 1992-93 a team had accomplished the feat. This year's team also set the school records for assists in a season - the 2007-08 team has 594 assists. The previous best was 577 in the 1992-93 campaign.
Vanderbilt is led by consensus SEC Player of the Year Shan Foster, who averages a league-best 20.5 points per game. The 6'6 wing from Kenner, La., also led the SEC in threes made per game (4.03) and three-point field goal percentage (.473). Freshman center A.J. Ogilvy, a second-team All-SEC selection by SEC coaches, combines with Foster to form the most formidable duo in the Southeastern Conference. Ogilvy averages 17.0 points per contest.
Senior Alex Gordon averages 11.0 points per game, and in the Commodores' last game against Arkansas, he surpassed the 1,000-point barrier with 22 points against the Razorbacks.
Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings is in his ninth season with the Commodores and has taken the Vanderbilt program to new heights. He posted his fourth 20-win season this year, and also led VU to two Sweet 16 appearances in the last four years. In 30 seasons as a player and coach, his teams have made 25 tournament appearances, including 16 NCAA berths and three Final Fours. Stallings ranks third among the winningest coaches in Vanderbilt history with 170 victories and is only the second coach in Vanderbilt history to register four 20-win seasons (Roy Skinner - six). His players have also been very successful off of the floor - all 18 of his seniors at Vanderbilt have earned their degree.
Vanderbilt and Siena will meet for the first time Friday in Tampa. The Commodores have a 3-0 record all-time against teams from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, having defeated Iona twice and Manhattan once.
Kevin Stallings has never coached against the Saints in his 15 years as a head coach.
Siena enters Friday's game as the MAAC regular season co-champs and the tournament champions in 2007-08. It will be the Saints' fourth overall appearance in the Big Dance.
Edwin Ubiles leads the Saints in scoring, averaging 17.3 points per contest. Kenny Hasbrouck tallies 15.6 points per game, and Alex Franklin also averages double-digits with 15.2 points per game. Franklin leads Siena on the glass with 8.0 rebounds per game.
In an interesting note, Siena sophomore guard Ronald Moore is the younger brother of Chuck Moore, who played four years as a guard for the Commodores before graduating in 2002. Moore was Vanderbilt's leading scorer in 2001, averaging 12.0 ppg.
Tip-off with the Saints is set for a 6:20 CST p.m. start.
Vanderbilt's History At The NCAA Tournament
Vanderbilt is making its second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and its third appearance in the last five years at the NCAA Tournament. Altogether, this will be the Commodores' 10th trip to the NCAA Tournament in school history. The Commodores have advanced to the regional semifinals in two out of the last four seasons, one of only two programs in the Southeastern Conference (Florida) and one of 16 teams in the nation to accomplish the feat.
In the 2007 edition of the tournament, Vanderbilt, a #6 seed, knocked off #11 George Washington, 77-44, the most lopsided win by a No. 6 seed over a No. 11 seed at the NCAA Tournament since the field expanded to as many as 64 teams in 1985, and #3 Washington State, 78-74, in a double overtime classic, at ARCO Arena in Sacramento, Calif. The Commodores were defeated by #2 Georgetown, 66-65, in the East Regional semifinals at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J.
Vanderbilt also advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2004 as a No. 6 seed in the Phoenix regionals, defeating No. 11 seed Western Michigan (71-58) and No. 3 seed N.C. State (75-73) in Orlando, Fla. The Commodores then lost to eventual national champion, No. 1 seed Connecticut (73-53) in Phoenix, Ariz.
Vanderbilt is 9-10 all-time at the NCAA Tournament. Since the tournament expanded to at least 64 teams, the Commodores have advanced as far as the regional semifinals four times (1988, 1993, 2004, 2007). Vanderbilt made the regional finals of the 1965 tournament that consisted of a 23-team field.
Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings owns a 5-4 mark in the NCAA Tournament. He is 4-2 in his third appearance at Vanderbilt (2004, 2007) and 1-2 in two appearances (1997, 1998) during his six-year tenure as head coach at Illinois State from 1994-1999. Stallings served an assistant under Roy Williams at Kansas from 1989 to 1993, helping lead the Jayhawks to four NCAA appearances (1990-1993) and two Final Four showings (1991 and 1993). Stallings also worked as an assistant to Gene Keady at Purdue from 1983 to 1988 with the Boilermakers making six NCAA Tournament appearances. Stallings played for Keady for three seasons (1980-82), including 1980 when the Boilermakers advanced to the Final Four.
NCAA Tournament Tip-Ins
Vanderbilt's highest seed at the NCAA Tournament was a No. 3 in 1993.
Highest seeded team Vanderbilt has defeated in NCAA Tournament: No. 2 seed Pittsburgh, 80-74 in overtime (3/20/88).
In nine previous NCAA appearances, Vanderbilt has played four teams that advanced to the tournament title game:
1965 - Michigan (85-87, Regional Finals). Michigan eventually lost to UCLA in title game, 91-80
1974 - Marquette (61-69, Regional Semifinals). Marquette eventually lost to N.C. State in title game, 76-64
1988 - Kansas (64-77, Regional Semifinals). Kansas went on to win title over Oklahoma, 83-79.
2004 - Connecticut (53-73, Regional Semifinals). Connecticut went on to win the title over Georgia Tech 82-73.
Highlights From The Big Dance
1965 - Vanderbilt advanced to the Elite Eight before losing to No. 1 ranked Michigan, 87-85. The Vanderbilt-Michigan game featured consensus All-Americans Clyde Lee of Vanderbilt and Cazzie Russell of Michigan.
Lee scored 28 points and played the entire second half with four personal fouls.
Lee also grabbed 20 rebounds (all-time NCAA single-game high by Commodore) in the loss vs. Michigan.
Lee's 24-point, 15-rebound effort led Vanderbilt's overtime win over DePaul, 83-78, to advance to the Michigan game.
Lee was named All-South Region Most Outstanding Player while Vanderbilt guard Keith Thomas also earned All-Region honors.
1974 - Vanderbilt hits 21 of 22 free throws in loss vs. Marquette (61-69, March 16) - tied for sixth best single-game performance in NCAA Tournament.
Vanderbilt's Jeff Fosnes was named All-South Region Team.
1988 - Led by All-SEC center Will Perdue, Vanderbilt advanced to the Sweet 16 behind the shooting touch of junior guard Barry Goheen. Seeded No. 7, Vanderbilt defeated No. 10 Utah State in the first round to meet No. 2 seeded Pittsburgh. With the Commodores trailing by three in the closing seconds, Goheen launched a 25-footer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. Goheen helped clinch the victory with four free throws and an assist in overtime.
National Player of the Year Danny Manning scored 38 points to lead eventual national champion Kansas over the Commodores.
1993 - While advancing to the second Sweet 16, Commodore guard Ronnie McMahan puts on a3-point shooting exhibition, hitting 13 of 19 (68.4 percent). It ranks as the eighth best performance ever in NCAA tournament history.
As a team, the Commodores hit 47.1 percent of their 3-point attempts (32-68), tied as fifth best team effort in NCAA tournament history.
Guard Billy McCaffrey puts on a show for the Commodores in 85-68 victory over No. 6 seeded Illinois. McCaffrey sets Commodore single-game NCAA mark with 29 points in the victory.
2004 - In one of its most memorable NCAA Tournament games in recent history, Vanderbilt overcame an 11-point deficit with 3:45 remaining as Commodore all-time leading scorer Matt Freije poured 31 points, including 11 in the final 3:28 to help Vanderbilt rally for a 75-73 second-round win over N.C. State. Mario Moore hit Corey Smith with a backdoor pass that Smith converted for a conventional three-point play with 23 seconds remaining to help seal the victory.
2007 - Vanderbilt dropped a heartbreaking, 66-65, decision to #2 seed Georgetown in the East Regional semifinals on March 23 behind a controversial, acrobatic layup by Hoya star Jeff Green with 2.5 seconds remaining in regulation. The Commodores knocked off #11 George Washington, 77-44, in the first round, and defeated Washington State, 78-74, in double overtime at ARCO Arena in what many consider the best game of the 2007 tournament. Derrick Byars made five three-pointers in the second half to lead Vanderbilt to victory.
SIENA'S PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
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