Memorial Gym was only at half capacity when Vanderbilt hosted South Dakota State in the second round of the NIT. Even with fewer butts in the seats, it was as loud as it has been all year. That effect wasn't lost on the players, including one who was playing his final game in the Southeastern Conference's finest auditorium:
It was so loud tonight! I couldn't even hear KS calling plays! I Love me some Memorial Magic #CommodoreNation #juststopit! #AnchorDown— James Siakam (@Bamba35_) March 21, 2015
Head coach Kevin Stallings took notice as well. One day after Vandy defeated the Jackrabbits 92-77, he penned a letter to explain to the fans how much that extra noise helped motivate his team. Here's the message, which was posted to Twitter by @VUVandyFanatics late on Saturday evening:
A message from Coach Kevin Stallings. pic.twitter.com/H3SnS5aj6S— Vandy Fanatics (@VUVandyFanatics) March 22, 2015
The Commodores will face the winner of today's matchup between Stanford and Rhode Island in the regional final of their NIT bracket. Since both potential opponents are seeded higher than Vanderbilt, it's unlikely that the team will get a chance to open the doors at Memorial Gym again this spring. Even so, Friday's big win over the Jackrabbits will stand as a strong way to send off the team's graduating seniors.