Bryce Drew's first game as head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores won't come against a low-major cupcake at Memorial Gym. Instead, his team will face Big East power Marquette in Annapolis, MD at the 2016 Veterans Classic.
VUCommodores.com broke the scheduling news on Monday. Here's what Drew had to say about his first season opener.
Our program is very thankful for this opportunity to play in Annapolis. We are looking forward to personally thanking the men and women at Annapolis for their sacrifices and hard work to help keep our great country free. This will be a memorable experience that will influence our student athletes for a lifetime.
Vanderbilt and Marquette will square off on November 11th at the U.S. Naval Academy. Ohio State and Navy will follow them with the late game. The game will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.
Marquette will provide a tough matchup for the Commodores. They'll only lose two players from a roster that went 20-13 in 2015-16. However, they'll be without dynamic big man Henry Ellenson, who declared for the NBA Draft last week. The freshman had led the Golden Eagles in scoring (17.0 ppg), rebounds (9.7), and blocked shots (1.5).
Drew and his Vanderbilt team could be even more ravaged by the draft. The Commodores have already lost sophomore guard Wade Baldwin IV to the lure of a pro contract. All-SEC center Damian Jones hasn't made an official announcement on his status, but appears to be leaning towards joining Baldwin at the 2016 NBA Draft.
These two teams last met in 2011 when Vanderbilt starched Marquette in Milwaukee, 74-57. The Commodores are 3-3 all time against the Golden Eagles.