by Barca Blog
With a more experienced roster returning to the court, Vanderbilt scheduled a tougher non-conference slate in part to prepare for the rigors of the SEC schedule and to show the NCAA Selection Committee an effort to play a challenging schedule.
And it's shown.
Real Time RPI projects that the Commodores (6-3) have played the ninth strongest schedule in the country to date. VU has been tested with only three of their nine contests at home including trips to St. Mary's, the Maui Invitational, and Illinois.
The harder schedule has brought us both encouraging moments (good wins over Missouri and St. Mary's) and letdowns (last week's performances against Illinois and Western Kentucky).
"We really took on a lot of tough competition in our first nine games," head coach Kevin Stallings told the 104.5 Wake Up Zone on Tuesday. "We did so intentionally. Last week did not go the way we wanted it to.
"The Western Kentucky game is the only game that we let get away from us that should have been won from our perspective. You don't like to have any of those games on your schedule that you lost that you shouldn't have lost.
"We've had one of the toughest schedules in the country up to this point. We're a game away from where we probably should be with our team.
"What really matters the most is what we do from here. The Western Kentucky game isn't going to decide what gets us into the NCAA Tournament. What matters is how we handle what's happened to us and what we do with it from here."
While the Commodores have struggled to find their identity to this point, they'll have a chance to fix things with five straight home games before starting SEC play. And there's no better way to get back on track than by playing inside the friendly confines of Memorial Gym.