Wait! More Basketball!

Just when it looked like the Vanderbilt men’s basketball season had ended with a whimper it was suddenly brought back to life. Despite the ‘Dores not being able to pick up a win in the SEC Tournament, the run of form Vanderbilt found itself in at the end of the season was apparently enough to win over the NIT selection committee committee who extended a bid in the direction of Nashville on Sunday.

The bid may come as a surprise to some who thought the Tennessee loss had been too damaging to the ‘Dores post season hopes, but a closer look reveals Vanderbilt actually stacked up fairly well against the rest of the NIT field. With wins over NCAA Tournament squads like Mississippi and Purdue, Vanderbilt are battle tested against proven teams. In addition the ‘Dores are the second highest ranked team which didn't make the tournament according to basketball God Ken Pomeroy and his Kenpom rankings. The only squad higher is SEC rival Florida.

Weirdly Florida isn't among the SEC teams selected for the NIT. Instead the ‘Dores find themselves in the field alongside Texas A&M and Alabama. This means the Gators will be missing basketball’s postseason for the first time in 18 years.

The Commodores were given a fifth seed spot in the field, meaning they will have to go on the road to face their opening opponents on Wednesday night. This isn't a little road trip along the East Coast or out into the Midwest either, as Vandy was paired in the bracket with St. Mary’s of California. The Gaels play in the Sacramento area and will prove to be a tough out given their recent tournament history and influx of experiences, foreign players.

The last time these two faced each other was in 2011 when Vandy won by 19 in Morgan, CA. If a similar result were to occur this week then the ‘Dores could look ahead to a game with either #1 Colorado State or #8 South Dakota State in the second round.

The NOT may be looked down on by many, but it is a chance for these players to bond and practice together in a tournament atmosphere. The best example of how the NIT can be used to further a program is by looking at the story of Wichita State who won the 2011 NIT at the start of this great run which includes an NCAA Final Four appearance and an undefeated regular season last year.

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