* Note: Audio of Sunday's game is available for free on VUCommodores.com due to NCAA rules.
NCAA Tournament First and Second Rounds (Spokane Regional) #7 Louisville (20-12) vs. #10 Vanderbilt (20-11) Date: Sunday, March 20, 2011 Time: 11:10 am CT
#2 Xavier (28-2) vs. #15 South Dakota State (19-13) Date: Sunday, March 20, 2011 Time: 30 mins after
Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2 Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 Time: 6 pm CT
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio Venue: Cintas Center (10,250) Radio: 560 AM (Charlie Mattos) • Free online at VUCommodores.com TV: ESPN2 (Bob Wischusen, play-by-play; Brooke Weisbrod, analyst) Webcast: ESPN3.com Louisville Series: VU leads 8-3 • Xavier Series: Tied 2-2 • SDSU Series: 0-0 Last Meeting with Louisville: Mar. 18, 2006 (Vanderbilt 76, Louisville 64 (Nashville-NCAA 1st Rd.)) Last Meeting with Xavier: Mar. 23, 2010 (Xavier 63, Vanderbilt 62 (Cincinnati-NCAA 2nd Rd.))
Vanderbilt will begin its 24th trip to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday in the Spokane Regional when the 10th-seeded Commodores (20-11) face 7th-seeded Louisville (20-12) at 11:10 a.m. CT in their first round game played at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati. The winner of Vanderbilt's first round game will play the winner of the game between 15th-seeded South Dakota State (19-13) and tournament host Xavier (28-2), the No. 2 seed, in the second round of the tournament.
This is the second straight year Vanderbilt has been sent to Cincinnati for first and second round games. Last year the Commodores topped DePaul in the first round before losing a heartbreaker to host Xavier, 63-62, in the second round. Before being sent to Cincinnati for two straight years, Vanderbilt was sent to Albuquerque, N.M. two straight seasons in 2008 and 2009.
This is the 12th straight year the Commodores have been selected to the NCAA Tournament and Vanderbilt has won at least one game in its 11 previous trips. Louisville is making its 14th NCAA Tournament appearance and fifth in the last six years. The Cardinals have reached the Sweet 16 two of the last three years, including a national runner-up finish in 2009.
Vanderbilt is 8-3 all-time against Louisville with one previous NCAA Tournament meeting in 2006 that the Commodores won 76-64. That game was also a first round matchup and pitted the eighth-seeded Cardinals against the ninth-seeded Commodores at Memorial Gym in Nashville. The all-time series with Xavier is tied at two wins apiece and Vanderbilt has never played South Dakota State. The Commodores last played Xavier in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year with the Musketeers winning.
Sunday's game will air on ESPN2 as part of ESPN's wraparound coverage of the NCAA Tournament and will air in its entirety in Nashville. Bob Wischusen (play-by-play) and Brooke Weisbrod (analyst) have the call. Fans can listen to the game in Nashville on 560 AM with Charlie Mattos on the call. Fans may also listen for FREE on VUCommodores.com. The game is being offered for free due to NCAA Tournament rules. The game will be webcast on ESPN3.com.
Tickets to Vanderbilt's NCAA Tournament games are available for sale and fans may purchase them by calling Vanderbilt's ticket office at 615/322-GOLD (4653).
Overall Vanderbilt is 37-23 all-time in the NCAA Tournament with its best showing coming in 1993 when the Commodores advanced to the Final Four. Vanderbilt has made it to the Sweet 16 14 times in school history with the most recent appearance coming in 2009. Vanderbilt has been in the Sweet 16, six of the last 10 years. The team's last appearance in the Elite Eight came in 2002.
The Commodores finished third in the SEC and enter the NCAA Tournament having won two of its last three games and advanced to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament before losing to Kentucky, 69-56, on March 5.
Ninth-year Head Coach Melanie Balcomb coached Xavier for seven seasons before coming to Vanderbilt in 2002. Balcomb has guided Vanderbilt to the NCAA Tournament each of her nine seasons at the helm of the program and has a 12-8 record with four Sweet 16 appearances. Balcomb is 8-0 in NCAA Tournament first round games at Vanderbilt. Before coming to Vanderbilt, Balcomb took Xavier to three NCAA Tournaments, including an Elite Eight appearance in 2001.
Vanderbilt has won 11 straight first round matchups in the NCAA Tournament and is 19-4 all-time in tournament openers. Since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1994, Vanderbilt is 15-1 in first round games. In the first two rounds, Vanderbilt is 31-9 all-time.
Cincinnati Roots Vanderbilt Head Coach Melanie Balcomb spent seven seasons in Cincinnati as head coach at Xavier before coming to Nashville after the 2002 season. Balcomb guided the Musketeers to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including an Elite 8 in 2001.
Sophomore guard Gabby Smith is from Cincinnati and prepped at Mount Notre Dame High School. Smith was a part of four state championship teams and was a Cincinnati Enquirer All-Star as a junior and senior.
About Louisville Louisville is making its 14th NCAA Tournament appearance and fifth in the last six years. The Cardinals have reached the Sweet 16 two of the last three years, including an appearance in the title game in 2009. Louisville is coached by Jeff Walz, who is in his fourth season at the helm of the Cardinals. Walz is making his third trip to the NCAA Tournament and boasts a 7-2 record in the Big Dance. During his first year at Louisville, Walz led his team to the Sweet 16 and was named the 2008 WBCA Rookie Coach of the Year.
Louisville Connections Vanderbilt and Louisville have many connections. Sophomore guard Tia Gibbs played her freshman year for the Commodores before transferring to Louisville, which is also her hometown. Gibbs has started every game for the Cardinals this year and averages 8.1 points.
Current Louisville graduate assistant and former Vanderbilt center Liz Sherwood ('08) (recorded four points and two rebounds in 11 minutes in the 2006 NCAA Tournament first round game between the two schools. Sherwood is in her first season at Louisville.
Louisville assistant coach Stephanie Norman served under Melanie Balcomb as the recruiting coordinator at Vanderbilt, working five seasons for the Commodores beginning in 2002. Norman helped the Commodores sign the No. 1 recruiting class in 2003 that produced two first-round picks in the 2007 WNBA draft.
Louisville Series This marks the 12th time the teams have squared off with Vanderbilt holding an 8-3 overall record and a 5-1 record when playing in Memorial Gym. The teams have split the series at two games apiece when playing in Louisville. The one neutral site game took place at the Reebok Classic in Boston, Mass., where the Commodores won 63-60 on Nov. 24, 1996.
The last time the teams faced one another was in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament in Nashville, marking the only time the teams have played each other in the postseason. That game was also a first round matchup and pitted the eighth-seeded Cardinals against the ninth-seeded Commodores at Memorial Gym in Nashville.
Louisville Postseason Series Vanderbilt's lone game against Louisville in the postseason took place on March 18, 2006 in Nashville, Tenn., during the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Caroline Williams recorded six 3-pointers and 21 points to lead the Commodores to a 76-64 victory over the ninth-seeded Cardinals. The teams went into the half tied at 36 but Vanderbilt was able to score on its final 10 possessions and end the game on a 13-0 run.
Junior Carla Thomas added 20 points and nine rebounds to seal Vanderbilt's seventh-straight victory in first round games. The win also gave the Commodores a 15-0 record when playing tournament games in Memorial Gym.
Current Louisville graduate assistant and former Vanderbilt center Liz Sherwood recorded four points and two rebounds in 11 minutes in the 2006 NCAA Tournament first round game.
About Xavier Ranked No. 5 in the country, Xavier finished 28-2 overall and earned its highest ever seed in the tournament. Xavier has made the NCAA Tournament 10 times and advanced to the Elite Eight last season before losing to Stanford.
The Musketeers are led by post players Amber Harris and Ta'Shia Phillips, who are both on the Wooden Award Final Ballott. Harris was the A-10 Player of the Year.
Xavier is coached by Kevin McGuff, who is in his ninth year.
About South Dakota State South Dakota State is making its third straight NCAA Tournament appearance and has won eight straight games and 11 of its last 12. The Jackrabbits lost to Oklahoma 57-68 in the first round of last year's NCAA Tournament.
SDSU is coached by Aaron Johnston, who is in his 11th season. Three players average in double figures, led by Kristin Rotert (13.3) and Jennie Sunnarborg (13.2).
Vanderbilt in the NCAA Tournament Vanderbilt is making its 24th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and 12th in a row. The Commodores are 37-23 all-time in the tournament and have won at least one game in the NCAA Tournament the last 11 seasons.
The Commodores have advanced to the Sweet 16 in 14 seasons, including six times in the last 10 years. Vanderbilt's last Sweet 16 appearance came in 2009. VU last made it to the Elite Eight during the 2002 season. Vanderbilt's only Final Four appearance came in 1993 out of the Midwest Regional.
• VU is 37-23 all-time in the NCAA Tournament • VU is 31-9 all-time in First/Second Round Games • VU is 5-9 all-time in NCAA Regional Semifinal matchups • VU is 1-4 all-time in NCAA Regional Finals • VU is 19-4 all-time in tournament openers and has won 11 in a row • VU is 15-1 in First Round games since the bracket expanded to 64 teams in 1994
Vanderbilt in the first round Vanderbilt is 19-4 all-time in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1994, Vanderbilt is 15-1 in first round games. Vanderbilt has won 11 straight first round games. In the first two rounds, Vanderbilt is 31-9 all-time.
Vanderbilt as a 10 seed This is just the second time in school history Vanderbilt has been a No. 10 seed (1991). The Commodores have never been seeded any lower than a No. 10 seed. In 1991, Vanderbilt won two games before losing in the Sweet 16 against Auburn. The lowest previous seed under Melanie Balcomb was a No. 8 seed in 2006.