On Monday, College Basketball Talk broke down the SEC heading into 2016-17, and they think Vanderbilt will be the 10th-best team in the Southeastern Conference. In basketball.
This is probably going to happen a lot this offseason, and it's probably going to happen more with national writers (who concentrate much more on the macro and have a bird's-eye view of the college basketball landscape) than it will with people who focus much more on the SEC. There's going to be a disconnect between people whose view of the SEC is "Kentucky, and then 13 other schools that supposedly field basketball teams" and people who are more tuned in to the SEC and Vanderbilt in particular. I personally think Vanderbilt should be somewhere between second and fourth in the SEC in the preseason, and while at least part of that (okay, a lot of that) is being a Vanderbilt homer, the difference between myself and Rob Dauster is that I know a lot more about the Vanderbilt program -- and, probably, the rest of the SEC, Kentucky excluded -- than he does.
The disconnect is pretty easy to figure out, actually. If you take a bird's-eye view of college basketball, Vanderbilt is a team that barely snuck into the NCAA Tournament and loses two NBA Draft picks. A closer inspection, though, reveals that Wade Baldwin IV and Damian Jones were roughly as important to the team as Jeff Roberson (whom advanced stats say was pretty damn good last year) and not that much better than Luke Kornet or Matthew Fisher-Davis. Baldwin not making first team All-SEC should really tell you more than him being potentially a first-round draft pick, but frequently for national writers, the latter is more important than the former.
There are other, side issues as well -- aside from writers probably not understanding how good Roberson, Kornet, and Fisher-Davis are, there's also the issue of people probably thinking Kevin Stallings is a better coach than Bryce Drew, which is honestly debatable.
So get ready for a lot of people who have more of a national focus to think little of Vanderbilt heading into 2016-17, and don't freak out about it, because those predictions probably aren't going to be coming from people who know much about Vanderbilt basketball.