Optional Musical Accompaniment
It’s a double dose of Vanderbilt sports tonight! At 6:00 PM CT, the baseball team plays Belmont in its annual game at the Nashville Sounds’ First Horizon Park downtown, its final tuneup before opening SEC play on Thursday. That game will be streamed on ESPN+. Belmont comes in with a 7-10 record and got swept by NC State in a weekend series earlier this season.
Then, at 8:00 PM CT on ESPNU, the basketball team opens the NIT hosting Yale. The game notes indicate that this is only Vanderbilt’s second 20-win season in the last 11 seasons (the other: 2014-15, which... also ended in the NIT), and a win tonight would match that season’s 21 wins. Win again after that, and Vanderbilt will have its highest win total since 2012 in spite of the fact that two seasons since then have ended in the NCAA Tournament.
Notably, Vanderbilt will be without Myles Stute, who entered the transfer portal last night. The fact that Stute is skipping the NIT has been something of a topic on Twitter, so I’ll just say that I view the NIT about the same as like the Independence Bowl. It’s nice to win, but the bigger factors are getting extra practice time for next season, and if a guy’s hitting the transfer portal and won’t be on next year’s team, it doesn’t make sense to play him anyway because you’d rather let guys who will be on next year’s team get some experience. In short, I don’t care.
As far as further thoughts since last night, I don’t think Stute is a bad player, but a real factor here is that he lost minutes down the stretch to Colin Smith, who’s a freshman and is basically a better version of Stute (probably a slightly worse three-point shooter at his peak, but he offers more in addition to shooting.) Stute’s departure does clear up a bit of a logjam for minutes next year at the four spot, with Smith, Malik Dia, and incoming freshman JQ Roberts all potentially competing for minutes there (though one or more of them could technically play the three.) I’ll have further thoughts when the offseason hits and I start doing player report cards, but there might be even more of a logjam in the backcourt (albeit that one can probably be cleared up by playing a smaller lineup.)
And finally, lacrosse lost 12-10 to Rutgers on Monday.
A bit of housekeeping: I’ll be doing open threads for NCAA/NIT action every day except today, when we already have baseball and basketball game threads coming and between those two, none of you are watching the First Four. Okay, maybe you’re watching the First Four. Hell, I don’t know.
College Basketball Schedule
- 5:40 PM: NCAA First Four: (16) SE Missouri State vs. (16) Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (truTV)
- 6:00 PM: NIT: Hofstra at Rutgers (ESPNU)
- 6:00 PM: NIT: Toledo at Michigan (ESPN2)
- 6:30 PM: NIT: Southern Miss at UAB (ESPN+)
- 8:00 PM: NIT: Villanova at Liberty (ESPN2)
- 8:10 PM: NCAA First Four: (11) Pitt vs. (11) Mississippi State (truTV)
- 8:30 PM: NIT: Bradley at Wisconsin (ESPN)
- 10:00 PM: NIT: Eastern Washington at Washington State (ESPNU)
- 10:00 PM: NIT: Seton Hall at Colorado (ESPN2)
Sports on TV
All times Central.
- 12:00 PM: MLB Spring Training: Nationals at Mets (MLB Network)
- 3:00 PM: MLB Spring Training: Angels at Guardians (MLB Network)
- 6:00 PM: NHL: Capitals at Rangers (ESPN)
- 6:30 PM: NBA: Nuggets at Raptors (NBA TV)
- 8:00 PM: MLB Spring Training: Reds at Royals (MLB Network)
- 9:00 PM: NBA: Bucks at Suns (NBA TV)
NBA: Pistons 117, Pacers 97 ... Timberwolves 136, Hawks 115 ... Heat 119, Jazz 115 ... Grizzlies 104, Mavericks 88 ... Rockets 111, Celtics 109 ... Warriors 123, Suns 112 ... Bucks 133, Kings 124.
NHL: Avalanche 8, Canadiens 4 ... Sabres 4, Maple Leafs 3 ... Stars 5, Kraken 2.