When the college basketball season ended, Vanderbilt was looking forward to the arrival of a strong freshman class and the returning presence of upperclassmen Kedren Johnson and Dai-Jon Parker. Their odds to win the national title were set at 250/1 - not great by any stretch, but certainly better than they had been since 2012.
In August, we learned that Johnson wouldn't be returning to Vanderbilt and that Parker was transferring to Indianapolis. Bettors took notice as well, dropping Vandy's moneyline down to 300/1 on Tuesday.
The shift in odds shows sportsbooks' reticence to rely on the Commodores' incoming freshman class. Kevin Stallings will count on a five-man cache of first-year players to fill the void left by Parker, Johnson, and graduated seniors Rod Odom and Kyle Fuller. Three of those rookies - Wade Baldwin IV, Riley LaChance, and Shelton Mitchell - have earned four-star recruit ratings from either Rivals.com or ESPN.
They'll pair with James Siakam, Josh Henderson, and Damian Jones in order to help Vanderbilt avoid a third-straight losing season. Bovada's odds place Vandy somewhere between 60th and 70th when it comes to NCAA title hopefuls. If this mix of veterans and young athletes can outperform that expectation by even a little bit, this could be the team that brings the Commodores back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012.