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Vanderbilt Basketball: Kevin Stallings' Job Could Be in Jeopardy

Chad Minton@@chad_mintonCorrespondent INovember 15, 2011

Kevin Stallings has 237 wins over 11 seasons at Vanderbilt
Kevin Stallings has 237 wins over 11 seasons at VanderbiltKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

There's no denying that Kevin Stallings has done great things for the Vanderbilt basketball program since becoming head coach in 1999, but things eventually will turn sour in Nashville if these talented teams continue to under-perform.

The Commodores have never had higher expectations heading into a season, with some experts even predicting a possible Final Four appearance.

Despite having all five starters returning this season, the Commodores have hardly looked like their No. 7 preseason ranking with a 1-1 start.

Even though the Commodores held serve in their season opener over Oregon with a double-digit win, there were times where it looked like the Commodores were just going through the motions and had very little passion for the game.

A more experienced team would've made the Commodores pay, but instead their talent took over in the end for the win.

Their last game against Cleveland State did not end in the same fashion.

Once again the Commodores looked like a team full of players that had little desire to defend their lofty preseason ranking and in the end that has to fall on the head coach.

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The biggest knock on Stallings has been his inability to take the Commodores past the first round in their last three NCAA Tournament appearances despite having very favorable seeds.

This season could be the last straw for Stallings if this team falls short. Your long coaching tenure can only get you so far if you continue to fall short of expectations with all the talent he has at his disposal.

On the flip side, if the Commodores do live up to their expectations and make it deep into the NCAA Tournament, then Stallings could very well end up coaching the Commodores for many years to come.

The importance of this season is way higher than ever before for Stallings' job security.

We'll find out real fast if the Commodores learned their lesson as they take on yet another dangerous mid-major in Bucknell, who are the reigning Patriot League champions.

That means Jeffery Taylor has to stop turning the ball over. He has eight over the first two games.

Furthermore, it means that the Commodores, as a team, have to start hitting their free throws at a better rate. As a team, they're currently shooting just 62 percent from the line, meaning they're leaving a ton of points off the scoreboard.

These are things that head coaches have to preach to their players before the season even starts, especially when you're dealing with as talented of a team as this one.

The Commodores challenged themselves big time in their non-conference schedule as they still have three ranked opponents remaining on schedule before SEC play begins in January.

If the Commodores don't play with more passion and effort than they have during the first two games then they'll never survive the non-conference schedule, and Stallings may not survive past this season.

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