Vanderbilt Hopes to End 61-Year Drought
That attitude doesn’t fly with Vanderbilt, which, after downing Ole Miss 65-53, enter the weekend’s final game with hopes of ending the Wildcats’ stranglehold on the tournament. In a jubilant post-semifinal locker room, despite the fact that they knew the NCAA tournament awaited in just five days, the Commodores insisted to a man on the importance of a tournament title.
The reason? The last time Vanderbilt was on this stage was 1951, the date of their lone tournament championship — a full eight years before (John) Calipari was born.
With history like that on the line, Commodores coach Kevin Stallings said it’s easy to get motivated.
“You play to win. That’s why you play. Our players actually informed me, because I didn’t know this, but Jeffery Taylor informed me yesterday that it’s the first time since 1951 that Vanderbilt’s been in the championship of this conference tournament,” Stallings said. “We appreciate that. We’re proud of that. We’re excited about that.”