I'll be sure to update this post with any additional stories that I come across between now and the start. Until then, know that the game thread will go live around 10.00 CT tomorrow morning. Make sure to swing by Stat-King to weigh in on the Murray St. game.
SEC fans can’t decide whether or not Vandy should be scared of Murray State. These numbers say “not.” Vanderbilt’s offense has performed well against turnover-reliant defenses like Tennessee and Missouri, while Murray State’s offense hasn’t really shown up in most of their games against even halfway decent defenses. My system loves Vandy in this one
More after the jump...
Vanderbilt (4) Best Case: Fluid offense carries Commodores past Murray State and Butler. Then Festus Ezeli becomes the most celebrated Festus since "Gunsmoke" when his backdoor layup in the closing seconds upsets Syracuse and sends the Commodores to their first regional final since 1965. Underrated coach Kevin Stallings becomes a hero to follicularly challenged men everywhere. Captivated media wants to write about how smart Vandy players are; Vandy players want to talk about basketball. On the other side of the country, Tennessee is blitzed by San Diego State. Worst Case:: Flatlining Vandy team that has lost two of its last three games, both against nontourney teams, finds trouble against Murray. Big man A.J. Ogilvy shies away from physical stuff in the paint. Guards cannot produce enough pressure on Racers backcourt. Stallings follows 2008 first-round pratfall as a No. 4 seed (Siena then) with another one now. Players must return to class -- and class is hard. Meanwhile, Tennessee roars off to the Final Four.
#4 Vanderbilt vs. #13 Murray St. The Commodores' top post player, Aussie center A.J. Ogilvy, is coming off of the worst game of his career--a 0-4 night against Mississippi State. Happily for him, Jarvis Varnado is confined to the NIT. Murray St. doesn't have anyone with the height or bulk to contend with Ogilvy, who should be able to pair with fellow post man Jeffery Taylor to either dominate the game, or draw enough attention to get open shots for his 'mates. (That's Aussie-talk!) The Racers feature a disturbingly balanced attack--five players average between 10.3 and 10.6 points per game.