’Dores again lamenting lack of respect

Friday, March 21, 2008 at 2:01am

TAMPA, Fla. – Here we go again, Vanderbilt says.

Another basketball season. Another NCAA Tournament. More lack of respect.

Many analysts around the nation this week have pegged the No. 4 seed Commodores as an upset victim against No. 13 seed Siena in tonight’s first-round Midwest Region game at the St. Pete Times Forum.

VU hears the chatter.

“All you have to do is turn on ESPN,” senior guard Alex Gordon said.

Or any other network or media outlet, apparently. Seth Davis of CBS picks a Siena upset, as do all five prognosticators from Sports Illustrated.

Meanwhile, the Commodores scratch their heads in bewilderment. A year ago, as a No. 6 seed pegged by many for an early flameout, VU crushed George Washington 77-44 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

This season, Vanderbilt comes in as a No. 4 seed, its highest in 15 years, and is fresh off winning 26 games. It is also No. 12 nationally in the latest Ratings Percentage Index [RPI].

The Commodores are 4-2 in their past six NCAA Tournament games and have advanced to the Sweet 16 in each of their past two tournament appearances.

“We’re kind of confused as to why we keep getting picked,” senior forward Ross Neltner said.

“We probably don’t get the respect we’re due based on 26 wins and playing in the Southeastern Conference,” added VU coach Kevin Stallings said.

Siena, a small school from Loudonville, N.Y., appears to have become a media darling as it prepares for its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002.

The Saints were greeted by a press horde when their Southwest Airlines flight from Albany, N.Y., landed in Tampa on Wednesday. The Tampa Tribune dedicated a column and photo essay to the team.

The staff at Siena’s hotel in Tampa even greeted the squad with a round of applause. Everyone, it seems, loves an underdog.

The sudden attention has surprised the Saints, winners of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament championship.

“A lot of people can’t even spell Siena or know where it’s at,” guard Tay Fisher said.

Rest assured, Vanderbilt knows how to spell Siena now.

In preparation for tonight’s game, Stallings has reminded his team that few expect it to win and advance to Sunday’s second-round game.

“That’s the coach’s job, to challenge his team,” Gordon said. “That’s what he’s been doing.”

Still, the Commodores can’t figure why their success is perceived to have been accomplished with smoke and mirrors.

“That’s something I haven’t been able to understand for four years,” Foster said. “You know, we’ve won 26 games. We’re not a 4 seed by a miracle.

“We’re confident that we’re going to go in and execute, give it all we’ve got and come out with a victory. Really, that’s all that matters.”

Siena admitted Thursday it relishes this David vs. Goliath opportunity. The Saints’ 1989 NCAA Tournament upset of No. 3 seed Stanford is still often discussed around campus, and it flames the hope of a similar knockout.

“We feel we have a legitimate chance to win,” Siena coach Fran McCaffery said.

Apparently, so does everyone else.

Vanderbilt vs. Siena

NCAA Tournament

Tonight, 6:20

St. Pete Times Forum

Tampa, Fla.


Filed under: Sports
By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Go Vandy! Shut the naysayers up!

By: Cowboy84 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Just one win on the road would help get them some respect.

By: frank brown on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Cowboy 84, you are red hot today!

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

frank brown, the troll.

By: vejaneksela on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Lets go Foster, make me proud!

By: courier37027 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

C'mon Brett, is this your excuse for not doing your homework? How many times can someone play, and a journalist write about, the "no respect" angle? Please bury this non-issue, cliche-filled, paper waste of an article. Vanderbilt obviously played well enough this season to make the tournament as an at-large. Did everybody (including Siena, bracket fillers, analysts and coaches) ignore the 'Dores' record? 20-plus wins? Shan, you can fire up your team better than the "no respect" card.

By: OneTimer on 12/31/69 at 6:00

From what other angle should he have written this story? There isn't one.

By: courier37027 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

I would have enjoyed an x's and o's discussion, much like today's Tennessee versus American pregame. Will this be Kevin Stallings' final season at Vanderbilt? How will Vanderbilt defend a quicker lineup? However to imply that Vanderbilt is somehow "dissed" is a lame basis for this story.

By: BHait on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Courier, we have all the Xs and Os on this game you could want in the accompanying notebook that appears in today's City Paper. You can read it on the EPaper or pick up a copy of the paper.

By: BHait on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Also, Courier, how would a discussion about the future of Kevin Stallings been relevant to today's NCAA Tournament game against Siena? I'm not following you here.Most in the national media are picking Vanderbilt to lose today. That's the story of the day from the Nashville perspective.

By: courier37027 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Brett, is it "most" or "everyone"? You are chaning pluraity from article to comments section.Stallings as a potential Indiana head coach candidate can stri up more headlines. See Bill Frieder and 1989 Michigan, although Frieder committed to the Arizona State job. Stallings plays it close to the vest. You need to pry.My main point is, if the tournamant ran out of story lines where lack of respect articles are trotted out, 'tis better not to wrote at all. I get a laugh out of the NFL players who say "no respect' . My goodness these are the best athletes in the world and more than well compensated. It just rings hollow.Will check out the tournament breakdown section. Thanks.

By: courier37027 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

wrote = write, chaning = changing

By: courier37027 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Brett, Vanderbilt sports reporting has not been the same there since Anthony Lane left. His style was not that of current NCP or goodship lollypop The Zone, where maintaining friendship and cronyism prevent the discouraging word from reaching print.

By: BHait on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Courier, you obviously have not been reading my work on a regular basis for the last three-plus years if you somehow think I'm a Vanderbilt homer. I've had VU coaches threaten to try to ban me from games. Is that enough "prying" for you?The Stallings-Indiana thing is a non-issue right now. There's nothing to report and nothing to "pry" into. On that same topic, it seems you've forgotten that The City Paper was the ONLY media outlet in Nashille last summer to actually get comment from Stallings and shed light on the subject when he was speaking with Iowa and Michigan. Was that not enough "prying" for you?I'm not sure what you're so angry about today and why you feel the need to sling personal attacks, but thanks for reading.