Below I'll post a couple links with a breakdown of tonight's game. I thought about trying to go in-depth, but I wanted to just share some thoughts before going to the game.
I tend to think that sports for the most part are a result of momentum. Assuming that teams have relatively the same talent and are coached equally, I think that emotion and confidence play a huge role. A decent example locally is that of the Tennessee Titans. With an overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, a preseason powerhouse rolled off a streak of six straight losses. I hold the opinion that if the Titans would have won the overtime toss and squeaked out a victory, we'd be looking at an 8-3 team. A win against the Super Bowl champs propels the team with confidence into a stretch of very winnable games.
Here is brief list of the Commodores' next four games:
Missouri (home), DePaul (home), Illinois (Road), Western Kentucky (Neutral, but in Nashville)
The amazing thing is that all four games are extremely winnable, but also will be very easy to lose. If you told me that we'd walk away with a 3-1 record, I'd take it in a heartbeat. I think any Vandy fan would.
That's why tonight's game is so important. Not specifically to beat a quality, probably NCAA tournament team; but to build on the Arizona win and propel this team through a tough stretch of games. In 10 days, we could be looking at a ranked 8-1 squad or a Commodore team that's trying to get back above .500. I'm sure I might write this again soon, but tonight's game could be a signature one for the year. If this is one of Coach Stallings' best teams, they need to show it tonight.
Like I mentioned earlier, there have already been a number of well-written previews of tonight's game. Here are a few links:
Vanderbilt Sports Line lists the keys to tonight: Fast Start/Rebounding/Take Advantage of Missouri's Inability to defend the 3 .
The Nashville City Paper discusses Missouri's fast-paced, frenetic style of play .
Anchor of Gold mentions the DeMarre Carroll connection .
The Official Vandy Site posted some good stats and info .
It should be a fun game, and I look forward to going. Thanks to ESPN, the game will be starting at 8:30 in Nashville. Looks like we're in for a late one. I'll post a recap super late tonight.
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