Wow, what a sports weekend!

The first weekend in February has shaped up to be quite a weekend for Nashville sports fanatics-- with a Vanderbilt-Tennessee doubleheader, the Super Bowl, and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame banquet.

Question: what's the only thing better than beating Tennessee? Answer: beating them twice in the same day.

Vanderbilt will have a rare opportunity to do just that on Saturday, as the "Big" Orange brings both its men's and women's teams to Memorial Gym for a Vandy-UT doubleheader. Add to that the Super Bowl on Sunday and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame banquet Friday night, and you've got quite a sports weekend.

Here's the lowdown on the weekend schedule:

 

Friday, Feb. 1

Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremony

Renaissance Hotel, 7:30 p.m.

One of Vanderbilt's all-time greatest players, Billy Joe Adcock, will be inducted into the TSHF this year. Adcock, who played from 1947-50, is Vanderbilt's first scholarship player, first All-American, and first NBA draftee.

Adcock joins former Commodore players Clyde Lee and Brant "Pinky" Lipscomb, as well as former Commodore coaches Roy Skinner and Bob Polk, as previously inducted members of the Hall. Other inductees this year include Kyle Rote, Jr. (Memphis sports agent) and Eddie Brown (former Tennessee and NFL football player).

 

Saturday, Feb. 2

Men's basketball: Tennessee at Vanderbilt

Memorial Gym, 2:00 p.m. (Fox Sports Net South)

Women's basketball: No. 2 Tennessee at No. 8 Vanderbilt

Memorial Gym, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

The Tennessee men come in fresh off a road win at LSU. Buzz Peterson's Vols (10-10, 3-4) have been a hard-luck team this year, losing a number of close games on buzzer-beaters. The Vols lost star post player Ron Slay with an ACL injury in an upset win over Syracuse, but are still talent-laden.

Vanderbilt and Tennessee are tied with South Carolina for fourth place in the bunched-up SEC East, all with identical 3-4 records. The Commodores (13-7 overall), having already lost a home game to Florida, can ill afford another home loss if they hope to stay up with the contenders.

The nightcap is a marquee matchup of two nationally ranked women's powers. Pat Summitt's Lady Vols have been almost untouchable thus far, losing only to top-ranked Connecticut. They will come to Memorial Gym with the memory of last year's SEC Tournament loss to Vandy fresh in their minds.

Both women's teams enter the game on only two days rest, so fatigue and depth could be huge factors. A national TV audience will be tuned in for this rare prime-time telecast of a women's game.

The women's game is sold out, and the men's game was almost sold out at last report. (Oh, and for you wise guys planning to just keep your seats after the men's game is over... er, sorry, you won't be allowed to do that.)

 

Sunday, Feb. 3

Super Bowl: New England Patriots vs. St. Louis Rams

New Orleans Superdome, 6:18 p.m. (Fox)

In last year's Super Bowl there was a Vanderbilt angle-- the Baltimore Ravens' Corey Harris played at Vandy, leading me to adopt the Ravens as my favorite team for the evening. This year, no Rams or Patriots happen to be former Commodores, making the choice for a Vandy fan a little tougher.

Bobby Jackson, the Rams' offensive coordinator, got his master's in P.E. at Peabody. But wait... Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick was born in Nashville.

The Rams' blue and gold color scheme is much closer to black and gold. But wait... the Patriots are big underdogs... just as Vandy usually is.

OK, two more facts: Patriots' linebacker coach Rob Ryan is the son of Buddy Ryan, who once was an assistant coach at Vandy. And the Rams have ex-Vol Leonard Little, one of my all-time least favorite players.

So I guess I'll go with the Pats. But if the game is really boring... I may just watch videotape replays of the previous day's Vandy-UT games instead.


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