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Anchor Drop, January 28, 2020: This Is Depressing

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On the current state of Vanderbilt men’s basketball (and football.)

Vanderbilt Commodores Photo by Vanderbilt/Collegiate Images via Getty Images

Good morning.

You might have noticed (or maybe you didn’t, but I like to think you guys notice these things) that there hasn’t been much on Anchor of Gold lately. And that’s because frankly, at the moment, Vanderbilt sports — or, specifically, football and men’s basketball, the two sports that are widely considered to be “revenue” sports — are very, very bad, to the point that it’s actually depressing.

It’s one thing to have a team that’s having a bad year. That was the basketball team in 2018-19, or the football team in 2019 — to a point. Because that kind of bad year is usually followed by the sweet, sweet release of a coaching change. And so it was with the basketball program, but the football program ... didn’t. And we’re not entirely sure why. Because Malcolm Turner says that Derek Mason hasn’t gotten the support that he needs to win.

And frankly, the talk about the football facilities is equally depressing to me, because it seems that people want to boil college sports down to nothing more than a facilities arms race, and I have no interest in a facilities arms race. I have an interest in sports, by which I mean the games on the field. I care about recruiting only because which high school players we get affects how we do on the field. I do not care what the locker rooms look like, and I definitely don’t care if Vanderbilt has a football-only facility. (And I really, really don’t care about your thoughts on Vanderbilt building new dorms.)

Of course, Malcolm Turner has been on the job for a year, and we still haven’t heard anything about what they’re going to do with facilities. So, if you said that we need to give Derek Mason what he needs to win, and then you don’t give him what he needs to win... what then?

Meanwhile, basketball is in a Year Zero situation, but it’s a hell of a Year Zero, what with two of the team’s three best players — and perhaps its two best when you consider Clevon Brown’s defensive value — out with injuries and the rest of the team consisting mostly of guys who, at this stage in their careers, are bench players anywhere else in the SEC and can’t shoot a lick. The basketball team right now is akin to a baseball team that loses two of its starting pitchers and is suddenly having to throw relief pitchers in the rotation. That never goes well.

Of course, there’s not going to be a coaching change after this season (nor should there be), because it’s Jerry Stackhouse’s first year. Basically the only thing we can do is give it time. And I understand why people don’t want to watch the current product on the floor.

I also understand that everybody is going to deal with the current state of Vanderbilt athletics in their own way. Personally, I’m rubbed the wrong way by all the talk of another winless season, not because I don’t think it can happen — obviously, it can, though it’s still rather unlikely (Ken Pomeroy puts the chances at about five percent) — but because i have to watch this, and I can’t deal with it if I’m going in thinking the next twelve games are all going to be losses. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt is a trip to Rupp Arena away from breaking Sewanee’s record for the longest SEC losing streak. Yay!

So, anyway, I will try to get back to the Anchor Drop being an everyday thing. But this is hard to watch, and write about, at the moment.

Bad Gambling Advice

Texas A&M at Tennessee (5:30 PM CT, SEC Network): Texas A&M +11.5, Under 123.5

Mississippi State at Florida (6:00 PM CT, ESPN2): Mississippi State +5, Under 134.5

Georgia at Missouri (7:30 PM CT, SEC Network): Missouri -4, Under 139.5

Auburn at Ole Miss (8:00 PM CT, ESPNU): Ole Miss +5.5, Over 142