Five reasons the SECT can be good for Vandy

After being swept by rival Tennessee, while most Vanderbilt fans are relieved that their team still made it to postseason play, some fans are wishing the Commodores could just skip the trip to the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Hoover, Ala. However, although losing to the Vols at anything just plain stinks, there are five good reasons for the boys in Black and Gold to head south.

Vanderbilt deserves to be in the field. The fact is, Vanderbilt has the eighth best record in the SEC and meets the standard to be in the tournament field. What if, instead of finishing so poorly against UT, Vanderbilt had finished their season with the superb sweep at Arkansas? Or the series win against Florida? How about the great performance at Georgia? By the way, this same "terrible" Vol team took a road series from Vandy's next opponent, the regular season champion LSU Tigers.

Keep the streak going. This will be the fourth consecutive SEC tournament appearance for the Commodores. Vanderbilt attended five straight tournaments from 1992 until 1996. However, from 1993 to 1995 the conference had two divisional series and every team made tournament. It's very possible that this very young, talented, but un-fine-tuned bunch could become a formidable team over the next couple years and build this streak to an all-time Vandy high of six or seven straight appearances.

Practice makes perfect and game experience is priceless. The only way for this young team to get better is through experience. Even the previous dismal series performance against UT likely taught this young team a few valuable lessons and they can learn more in Hoover. They can learn more lessons now or wait until next season. I say learn them now.

Sports can be crazy. For instance, take the 1980 Vanderbilt baseball team. That team finished the regular season with an unspectacular 30-18-1 (13-9 SEC) record but made the SEC tournament field. After a close, 3-2, loss to Auburn in the series opener Vandy got things on track. The ‘Dores beat host Florida, 11-7, and then pounded Ole Miss 21-0 on the second day of the tournament. On the final day Vandy dominated the Auburn Tigers in two games, 16-3, and 13-0 to claim their first conference baseball tournament championship.

This team has bounced back all season. After a stagnant, 3-6 SEC start the Commodores were up and down all season. The poor showing at South Carolina was followed up with a super effort in Athens against the Bulldogs. A dominating sweep of Mississippi State followed a terrible series against hard-hitting Alabama. The Commodores responded with a series win over eventual eastern division champion Florida after a series loss at lowly Auburn. If you have followed the up and down curve of Commodore success this season, you have to be excited about Vandy's prospects in this tournament after a bad series. While no one is predicting VU to run the table, don't be surprised if these young Commodores break a few hearts of their SEC brethren.

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