Vanderbilt Still Outside Of NCAA Tournament Bubble

By Robbie Marbury
Jim Brown-USATODAY Sports

The Vanderbilt Commodores got an NCAA resume-boosting win on Wednesday night over the Tennessee Volunteers, which is really impressive considering this Vandy team only has seven scholarship players. The job that Kevin Stallings has done this season is amazing, but his work isn’t over just yet. The Dores have nine games remaining, with five of those games against teams ranked higher than them in the RPI.

If Vanderbilt is going to show that they are truly back to form as they were three and four seasons ago when they were making tournament runs, then they are going to have to go out and prove it.

Winning at home over a team like Tennessee that struggles on the road isn’t as impressive as it appears. Sure, the NCAA Selection Committee will pay attention to that as a “good” win, but getting a few good wins all at home will not impress the Selection Committee. The Commodores have not won a single road game this entire season over a team ranked inside the top 125 of the RPI. In fact, they only have two road wins all season, at Texas A&M (127 RPI) and at Georgia (142 RPI).

Also, Vandy’s three top-100 wins are by a combined total of 13 points; it’s not like they are blowing the competition away.

Those three big wins that Vanderbilt got over top-100 teams are against the previously mentioned Vols that are 2-5 on the road this season, Missouri (3-3 on the road) and Georgia State. Yes, I said Georgia State. For some reason, they are a top-100 team despite only having one win against a team ranked 150 or better in the RPI, and having two losses to teams ranked outside of the top 150.

If you are looking at just the number next to the teams in the RPI, then Vandy has a shot at the NCAA Tournament, but that is not what the Selection Committee does. They are going to look at where they won their games, who are the teams they beat, and who have those teams beaten. Numbers and rankings are fine and all, but there is more than just numbers at work here. The numbers can be picked apart, and that is what the Selection Committee will do.

Why do you think it takes these guys hours to narrow down the list? If it was just the numbers next to a team’s name in the RPI, then it wouldn’t take so long.

The Commodores technically still have a shot at making the NCAA Tournament this year, but that technicality can be disproven using numbers. Vandy still has to play five teams that are ranked higher than it in the RPI, and have to play five more games on the road. History tells us the Dores will be lucky to win two of those five road games, and one of their remaining home games is against Florida.

By my calculations, that is four more losses for an eight-loss team. Sorry to break it to you, Vanderbilt, but 12-loss SEC teams do not make the NCAA Tournament.

Robbie Marbury is a College Basketball writer for Follow him on Twitter @rmarbury, and add him to your network on Google+

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