Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The road show continues

by Barca Blog (AP Photo)

While Florida's NCAA Tournament chances took a hit Tuesday night, No. 13 Vanderbilt put another stamp on their resume with an inspiring 64-60 victory in Gainesville.

With the win, the Commodores closed their conference road slate with a 6-2 record -- its best mark since the 1992-93 season.

"That 6-2 has an awfully nice ring to it because this is a tough league to do that on the road," head coach Kevin Stallings told Joe Fisher during the postgame show.

The Dores' quiet confidence outside of Memorial Gym can be summed up by one of their mottos from the preseason: Any Place, Any Time.

"It's never too early, it's never too late," Stallings explained earlier this week. "The conditions are never too difficult. It doesn't matter if we get into a cold gym or a hot gym. New balls, slick balls, bad officials, it doesn't matter. We'll play under any circumstances and we'll expect to play well. We'll never use those things as an excuse."

The Commodores could have made excuses for their recent schedule, which included three games in six days with two of those in hostile road environments where they've had little success in the past.

But nothing was said. Just chalk up three more victories.

You can credit the 'Dores for doing something no other team has done this season: win at Thompson-Boling Arena. Not even then-No. 1 Kansas and then-No. 2 Kentucky can claim that.

They're also one of only three teams to leave Saint Mary's with a victory in the last three seasons.

Ultimately, Vanderbilt has proven it can win close games in enemy territory, something you can't underestimate the significance of when the NCAA Tournament comes around.

"It tells me our kids are tough," Stallings added. "They've got a lot of desire and determination and grit to win. I'm really proud of them for that. I'm excited about the rest of the season holds for us."

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