The Vanderbilt Commodores ruled the world for a night. May we all give propers where propers are due. They deserve a pat on the back, a very complimentary article churned out by a local AP journalist and a good jump in the RPI.
But do they really deserve the "Wow! They're a force to be reckoned with!" treatment?
With a 17-0 home court record going into the game, was anyone surprised that the Commodores won?
Here is the problem: Is last night's Vanderbilt team a different team than the one that lost to Florida and Mississippi by an average of 19 points? Does a seven game winning streak with a cherry-on-top win over Tennessee warrant an uproar? It's all up for debate.
Let's break it down...
Vandy played true road games twice in non-conference play. They beat DePaul by six in overtime and Toledo by seven. Impressed?
They've also played six conference road games. In those games, they have a record of 2-4. The four losses have come by an average of 16 points. The two wins? An eight-pointer at Georgia and a one-point surviving at South Carolina. Impressed?
The Commodores' schedule also lacks an away date against Mississippi State and a home date with Arkansas. Although, judging by the way Vandy plays at home, the Razorbacks probably wouldn't win. Let's be honest though: They'd give Vandy a tougher game than Memorial Gym victims LSU and Georgia.
But would the Commodores beat the Bulldogs in Starkville? If you can't answer that question, then you might not want to get too excited about Vandy's win against Tennessee.
When it comes down to games away from Nashville, Vandy hasn't shown they can throw down with good teams. They may be able to win one or two in the SEC tournament. They may be able to win one or two in the Big Dance. They are a good team. They've got a great 1-2 punch with Shan Foster and A.J. Ogilvy. But are they ready for and deserving of a spot in the national spotlight?
My jury is still out until Saturday, when Vandy heads to Fayeteville. If they capture their first road win against a team with a record on the positive side of .500, then we'll take this conversation from there.