#9 Vanderbilt Commodores: College Basketball 111 in 111

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Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

With John Jenkins, Jeffery Taylor, and Festus Ezeli all electing to return to school rather than bolt for the NBA Draft, the Vanderbilt Commodores became a top ten team in the country since they return all five starters and eight of their top nine players.  Vandy will have to live without Ezeli for the non-conference slate but could be a Final Four contender once they are at full strength.

VANDERBILT COMMODORES
Last Season: 2nd, 12-4 in SEC, 24-9 overall
Predicted SEC Finish: 2nd

Projected Depth Chart
C: Festus Ezeli (Sr)/Steve Tchiengang (Sr)/Josh Henderson (Fr)
F: Lance Goulbourne (Jr)/Rod Odom (So)/Shelby Moats (Fr)
SF: Jeffery Taylor (Sr)/James Siakam (Fr)
SG: John Jenkins (Jr)/Dai-Jon Parker (Fr)
PG: Brad Tinsley (Sr)/Kyle Fuller (So)/Kedren Johnson (Fr)

Gone: PF-Andre Walker (transfer-Xavier), F-Darshawn McClellan (transfer-Louisiana Lafayette), Joe Duffy

2011-2012 Outlook:
Vandy will be without big man Festus Ezeli for possibly the entire non-conference schedule due to a sprained MCL and PCL.  Ezeli is a developing big man who made a huge jump during his junior campaign and could be bound for an even bigger year if he gets back to one-hundred percent.  Until Ezeli returns, the physical Steve Tchiegang will hold down the middle.  Tchiegang is more versatile than Ezeli in that he can step out to the three-point line.  Redshirt freshman Josh Henderson will backup Tchiegang early in the season but likely ride the pine once Ezeli returns to the line-up.

Lance Goulbourne plays his role well as the fifth option in the starting line-up.  He led Vandy in rebounding, grabbing more boards than points scored.  Goulbourne is capable of stepping out to the three-point line but doesn’t shoot it at a high-percentage.  Still, teams will have to respect his range which should create more room for Ezeli to operate on the block.  Rod Odom is a talented back-up power forward who gives Kevin Stallings a lot of depth up-front.  Freshman Shelby Moats likely won’t factor into the rotation.

john jenkins vanderbiltJenkins and Taylor form one of the best wing duos in the country.  Jenkins is a deadly pure shooter and improved in his ability to attack the rim but still has a ways to go in that area before he becomes a true all-around threat.  Taylor is the opposite; effective off the bounce and explosive at the rim but still honing his outside shot.  He did show growth in that area last year and is a versatile defender who can guard multiple positions.  Vandy will only go as far as this duo takes them when the calendar turns to March.

There is talent behind Jenkins and Taylor on the bench but a lot of inexperience.  Dai-Jon Parker is considered the best of the Commodores freshmen class and gives Vandy a sharpshooter off the bench.  James Siakam redshirted last season and will bring some athleticism off the bench.

Brad Tinsley returns to run the point and brings stability to the floor.  He understands his role as a distributor but can also score when needed.    Kedren Johnson is a big, physical point guard who is capable of over-taking Kyle Fuller as Tinsley’s back-up.  Johnson can also play off the ball if Stallings decides to use him in that capacity.

With experience, an inside threat like Ezeli, versatile wing like Taylor, scorer like Jenkins, and plenty of complimentary role players, it could be a very special season for Vanderbilt.  First things first those, make it through a fairly brutal non-conference slate without their starting center.

Player to Watch: John Jenkins
In my opinion, Jenkins has a little Stephen Curry to his game with the way he is able to get his shot off quickly and pull the trigger from several feet behind the line.  He is not a one-dimensional player by any means but can really take his game to the next level by improving his ball-handling and driving ability.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/11 vs. Oregon
11/13 vs. Cleveland State
11/15 vs. Bucknell
11/19 vs. N.C. State (Legends Classic)
11/21 vs. Texas/Oregon State (Legends Classic)
11/28 vs. Xavier
12/2 at Louisville
12/7 at Davidson
12/17 vs. Indiana State
12/29 at Marquette

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#10 Memphis Tigers
#11 Florida Gators
#12 Xavier Musketeers
#13 Louisville Cardinals
#14 Arizona Wildcats
#15 Wisconsin Badgers
#16 Alabama Crimson Tide
#17 Gonzaga Bulldogs
#18 Marquette Golden Eagles
#19 Texas A&M Aggies
#20 Michigan Wolverines
#21 New Mexico Lobos
#22 Temple Owls
#23 Cincinnati Bearcats
#24 Kansas Jayhawks
#25 UNLV Rebels
#26 Washington Huskies
#27 UCLA Bruins
#28 Butler Bulldogs
#29 Missouri Tigers
#30 Texas Longhorns
#31 Villanova Wildcats
#32 Michigan State Spartans
#33 Florida State Seminoles
#34 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
#35 Harvard Crimson
#36 Illinois Fighting Illini
#37 Oregon Ducks
#38 Wichita State Shockers
#39 Cal Golden Bears
#40 Belmont Bruins
#41 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#42 Saint Mary’s Gaels
#43 Purdue Boilermakers
#44 BYU Cougars
#45 Kansas State Wildcats
#46 West Virginia Mountaineers
#47 Virginia Cavaliers
#48 George Mason Patriots
#49 Old Dominion Monarchs

#50 VCU Rams
#51 Kent State Golden Flashes
#52 Arkansas Razorbacks
#53 St. John’s Red Storm
#54 Northwestern Wildcats
#55 Georgetown Hoyas
#56 Miami Hurricanes
#57 Nevada Wolfpack
#58 Detroit Titans
#59 UCF Knights
#60 Long Beach State 49ers
#61 Virginia Tech Hokies
#62 Clemson Tigers
#63 New Mexico State Aggies
#64 Tennessee Volunteers
#65 Iona Gaels
#66 Murray State Racers
#67 N.C. State Wolfpack
#68 Fairfield Stags
#69 George Washingon Colonials
#70 Indiana State Sycamores
#71 Oklahoma State Cowboys
#72 Indiana Hoosiers
#73 UAB Blazers
#74 Iowa State Cyclones
#75 Creighton Bluejays
#76 USC Trojans
#77 Weber State Wildcats
#78 Maryland Terrapins
#79 Tulsa Golden Hurricane
#80 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#81 Western Michigan Broncos
#82 Dayton Flyers
#83 Stanford Cardinal
#84 Yale Bulldogs

#85 Georgia Bulldogs
#86 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#87 Richmond Spiders
#88 Ball State Cardinals
#89 Utah State Aggies
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraska Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

 

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