The following article is essentially Vanderbilt's case for an NIT bid, weighing the best wins and the worst losses, comparing other teams that are in a similar spot as Vandy, and breaking down other variables that have impacted the season (i.e. injuries).
Overall Record: 17-16 (9-12 SEC)
So, Vandy is at this point just over .500. This isn't overwhelmingly good, but the overwhelmingly good records are for NCAA tournament teams. As far as the SEC is concerned, 9-12 is pretty good when you consider teams like Mississippi State at 8-11 (projected NIT 5 seed) and Alabama at 9-10 (and a projected 6 seed in the NCAA Tourney). Of course, Alabama has had some good wins (Gonzaga, Baylor, Tennessee), but they've also got some bad losses (Missourah, Georgia!?). And Vandy is not trying to be a 6 seed in the NCAA Tourney.
Record Divided by Quadrant*
*Quadrant based on NET rankings
Quad 1: 3-11
3 wins: Alabama (SEC Tourney), Arkansas, LSU
11 losses: Tennessee (x2), at Auburn, Kentucky (x3), at Florida, vs. Alabama, at Mississippi St., at SMU, vs. Loyola Chicago
Quad 2: 3-3
Quad 3: 6-2
6 wins: vs. Texas St., vs. Winthrop, at Pitt, at Hawaii, at Georgia, vs. Missourah.
2 losses: vs. Temple, vs. South Carolina
Quad 4: 5-0
5 wins: vs. Mississippi Valley St., vs. Alabama St., vs. Austin Peay, vs. Georgia, Georgia (SEC Tourney)
Splitting the record into quadrants helps us see our good wins and our bad losses. It would've been nice to pick up some more Quad 1 games (namely Florida, SMU, and Loyola Chicago), but for the most part, it's hard to complain too much about most of the Quad 1 losses, especially when you're competing in the best conference in college basketball. Our best wins include Alabama, LSU, and Arkansas. We're 2-7 against AP Top-25 teams, which isn't so bad. Quad 2 hurts a lot; all those losses were winnable, with late game chokes in the Florida game, and for VCU, the entire game was pretty much a choke. Quad 3 and 4 is where we took care of business. We'd be undefeated in that regard if it weren't for late game chokes such as not getting a shot off with 10 seconds left and losing to South Carolina or getting our hets wettened after hitting a buzzer-beating, game-tying three and then promptly losing in overtime to Temple. So, we've done essentially what we should be doing in Quads 3 and 4. Unfortunately, beating up on low-level programs that are barely on the brink of being D1 does not get you into postseason tournaments. We're essentially relying on our 5 Quad 1 and 2 wins here, but we're still glad that we remained consistent in the games we needed to win.
Chatman and Robbins
This might be the biggest factor in deciding whether or not Vandy gets chosen for the NIT. Does the committee consider the fact that Vanderbilt was playing shorthanded for the majority of the season? You can really see the difference Chatman and Robbins make when you take into consideration our records with and without them. (I'm excluding games that I feel are gimmes, including Austin Peay, Texas St., Alabama St., Mississippi Valley St., and Pitt.)
Vanderbilt record without both Robbins and Chatman: 2-7
Vanderbilt record with Chatman but no Robbins: 5-1
Vanderbilt record with Robbins but no Chatman: 2-4
Vanderbilt record with Robbins and Chatman: 4-3
Yeah, you can see the difference that Chatman and Robbins make when you look at this. This is probably Vanderbilt's strongest argument for an NIT at-large bid: With Chatman and Robbins together and the team at (mostly) full strength, we've gone 4-3, which doesn't sound that great until you realize those 3 losses came against AP #4 Auburn, #5 Kentucky, and #9 Tennessee. This is a very dangerous team with both of them out there. And this isn't even considering the lack of Mann and TT in certain cases.
Ultimately, it is up to the NIT committee to decide whether or not we play more this season. Personally, I feel like this team is very deserving of a postseason bid. But even in the unlikely event that Vanderbilt somehow does not get selected for the NIT, I am proud of what the team has managed to do this year. They haven't given up, they've fought hard, and they've showed the confidence that only comes from winning, something that we haven't seen in a Vanderbilt basketball team in years. Even if Vanderbilt does not get into the NIT, I'm excited to see what the future this program under Coach Stackhouse could hold. Anchor Down.
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