Adams: Despite loss things looking fine

It's hard to be too upset about Vanderbilt's 85-72 loss to Kentucky. They simply ran into a buzz saw. The second South Carolina knocked off the Wildcats, you knew the ‘Dores would be in for a long night. Coach Stallings bluntly said it the best in his post-game news conference:

"They got their butts beat Tuesday night," Stallings said. "What do you think when you are the opposing coach coming in here? John Calipari has been on their rear ends since Tuesday. We knew they would be cranked up."

Not only were they cracked up, they were hitting everything they put up from behind the arc. There is literally no chance somebody is going to beat this Kentucky team in Rupp Arena when they hit 12-23 from three-point range. With DeMarcus Cousins dominating inside, John Wall running the show, you have to hope their complementary players are ice cold.

That wasn't the case on Saturday. A couple other players helped carry the load. Darnell Dodson scored 16 points, including a number of daggers to stop mini-runs by Vandy. To be honest, I had no idea that Patrick Patterson was even capable of shooting from outside. He hit three 3's! Patterson has seen his role diminish with the influx of the capable freshman. If he can contribute much of anything in the tournament, they'll be a hard to knock out.

Coach Stallings had a humorous way to sum up the day.

"They had a bunch of guys making perimeter shots," Stallings said. "What, were they 29 percent (three-point shooting) in league play going into the game? You hope that when the crushing comes it's not against you, but it was."

You hope the crushing doesn't come against you. Now that's honesty.

There are issues that this game raised to the surface: Rebounding, scoring inefficiencies against athletic and big teams, and the disappearance of A.J. Ogilvy and Jeffery Taylor in big games.

For now, let's move on and give the team the benefit of the doubt.

Before league play got under way, I said that Vandy needed to get to 9-7 in the conference to secure a spot in the NCAA field. That's looking like it should be very easy to attain. I had originally broken down where the nine wins would come from. Here is that same list, with the Commodores current record in parentheses. The record in italics is what Vandy would need to reach nine wins.

Two home and away games with both Georgia and South Carolina: Vandy 3-1, (1-0)

Two home games against LSU and Auburn: Vandy 2-0, (1-0)

Home and away with Florida: Vandy 1-1, (1-0)

Two home and away games with both Kentucky and Tennessee: Vandy 1-3, (1-1)

Two road games against Alabama and Arkansas: Vandy 1-1, (1-0)

Two games against Mississippi State and Ole Miss: Vandy 1-1, (0-0)

On the heels of the bad loss to Kentucky, that list should be very encouraging. It doesn't require that much out of the ‘Dores. Sitting at five SEC wins (three on the road), is a good place to be. Vanderbilt should easily be able to get three wins out of LSU, South Carolina, and a home/away with Georgia. That gets them to eight wins in conference.

Their ninth conference win and number 20 overall shouldn't be THAT hard to come by. They only have to win one of the following five games: Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi State, @Florida, or @Ole Miss. That's the elite of the SEC, but if the ‘Dores can't win one or two of those, they don't deserve to be in the Big Dance anyway.

Vanderbilt plays host to Mississippi State on Wednesday with a chance to regain momentum. Vandy should remain in the top 25 with their win against Tennessee. The Bulldogs will be desperate for a win, after losing back-to-back road games against Alabama and Arkansas. Their win against LSU on Saturday doesn't help their NCAA resume that much. They need a quality road win, and will be looking for it in Nashville.

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