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Vandy’s Stallings Would Pull For His Son Over Vandy At CWS

Vanderbilt grads should be among the sharpest folks in the SEC.  So here’s hoping they’ll understand why Commodore basketball coach Kevin Stallings will be pulling for North Carolina should the Tar Heels and ‘Dores meet at the College World Series.

Jacob Stallings is a catcher for the Tar Heels and his father was in Chapel Hill Saturday as UNC clinched its CWS berth.  Vanderbilt has also booked a trip to Omaha.

“There is no dilemma,” Kevin Stallings said of a possible UNC-Vandy matchup.  “It’s a little awkward.  But my two favorite baseball teams have made it to Omaha.  It’s the best kind of dilemma… if you want to call it a dilemma.  It’s a case of two things that I was really hoping would happen, happening.”

While the father danced around the “who would you pull for” question, his son did not.  “I’m sure he’ll be rooting for the Heels in this one,” Jacob Stallings said.  “It will be a fun week for him.  I’m sure he’ll have some interviews, and I hope Vanderbilt fans understand why he’ll be cheering for Carolina.”

We hope so, too. 

Last year, legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley turned off a few Georgia backers when he said he admitted that he would be staying home and pulling for Tennessee — and his son Derek — when the Vols battled Georgia in Athens.  As if any man would pull against his own son.

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SEC Headlines – 4/21/11 Part Two

1.  Steve Spurrier said yesterday that South Carolina needs to oversign because of the state’s poor academic record.

2.  Spurrier also said, “We have complete confidence Connor Shaw can run this offense,” if Stephen Garcia isn’t back with the team in the fall.

3.  A lesson learned while coaching at LSU helps Derek Dooley reamin calm after Tyler Bray’s bad spring game at Tennessee.

4.  Here’s a look at whose stock is up (and down) after the Vols’ Orange and White Game.

5.  Vanderbilt will return all five starters from Kevin Stallings’ 2010-11 squad.

6.  Former NFL coach Brian Billick breaks down the issues facing Cam Newton in the pros.  (Interesting stuff.)

7.  Gene Chizik says if freshman Kiehl Frazier is the best man for the job, he’ll be the starting QB at Auburn this fall.

8.  Nick Saban swears he’s got no problem playing both AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims “until somebody separates.”  (We assume he means from one another… and not just until one guy blows apart.)

9.  As we suggested earlier today, if Harvey Updyke really was attacked yesterday, it could gain him some sympathy.

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VU’s Jenkins, Ezeli, Taylor To Return

Vanderbilt announced yesterday afternoon that basketball stars Festus Ezeli, John Jenkins and Jeffery Taylor will all return to Nashville for the 2011-12 season, bypassing the NBA draft.

“Obviously, we are very excited that those three guys have all decided to return to our program next season,” Kevin Stallings said via press release.  “All three carefully, thoughtfully, and diligently acquired information, with my help, about their draft status for the upcoming NBA draft.  After receiving the information, all three decided individually that it was their desire to return to Vanderbilt.  I comment and applaud them for the intelligent and diligent way they approached this process in making their decision.  Their return certainly positions our team for an exciting  season next year.”

Indeed it does.  Vanderbilt will likely go into the season ranked in the nation’s Top 15.

Now if they can just win a first-round NCAA Tournament game…

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VU’s Stallings Says ’11 Gators Not The Match Of ’07 Gators

Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings lost both meetings with Florida this year, including a game Saturday in Nashville that could have given Vandy an SEC Tournament bye.  So he knows how good the Gators are.  And how good they’re not.

“With all due respect, and I like this team a lot, this doesn’t look like that 2007 team (that won a second national title in a row).  That team was one of the best teams I’ve seen in all my years of college basketball so I would not compare this team to that team.  They are good.  They’re tough.  They play together.  They are obviously very well-coached.  But I don’t know if they have four or five NBA guys like that other team had.”

Many UF fans will no doubt take offense to what they’ll see as a put down.  But what Stallings says is true.  Which is why Billy Donovan will likely finish first or second in this year’s Coach of the Year voting in the SEC.

This year’s Gators are not powered by stars.  They’re powered by chemistry… and that can be every bit as dangerous come tournament time.  Florida has been remarkably consistent from December forward.  For that reason — even though they don’t have a gaggle of lottery picks hitting the floor each night — fans should pencil in the Gators for a deep NCAA tourney run when the brackets are released next Sunday.

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SEC Headlines – 3/2/11 Part Two

1.  Kentucky finally won a close one, topping Vanderbilt 68-66 at Rupp Arena last night.

2.  This writer says last night’s game was fit for March.

3.  UK senior Josh Harrellson is glad he stuck it out through the Billy Gillispie years.

4.  Tennessee needs “to just grow as a team” heading into tomorrow’s game with South Carolina.  (Too bad no one has written a thing about the game from Carolina’s point of view.)

5.  The Vols’ biggest inside man, Brian Williams, has missed two days of practice with a tight back.

6.  Bruce Pearl has gotten away from the system that brought him success.

7.  Vanderbilt fumbled away — literally — a chance to wrap up the East Division’s #2 seed.

8.  But overall, Kevin Stallings “really, really liked” how his team competed and fought on the road.

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SEC Headlines – 1/6/11

1.  Normally we’d post this story on the Recruiting Page, but since Mark Richt is in such hot water, we thought the decision by two Georgia blue-chippers to not sign with UGA merited homepage coverage.

2.  Richt will make tweaks to his program inwardly, not publicly.

3.  The Pitt Panthers say they’ll be focused and ready for Kentucky in the BBVA Compass Bowl.

4.  Bruce Pearl says his team beat Memphis last night because of its practice sessions earlier in the week.

5.  Kevin Stallings is having to call on walk-ons to add depth at Vanderbilt.

6.  This longtime SEC writer says the league might not be as bad as advertised in basketball.

7.  A pair of “mad scientist” coordinators will face off when Auburn meets Oregon Monday night.

8.  Auburn’s Nick Fairley has done some growing up this season.

9.  ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit believes Oregon’s quarterback will be the X factor in the BCS title game.

10.  Ryan Mallett and a number of his Arkansas teammates need to make their minds about the NFL.

11.  The Sugar Bowl drew monster ratings for ESPN.

12.  Scott Rabalais of The Baton Rouge Advocate believes Les Miles would like to land the Michigan job.

13.  LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis is a good player on the field and a better person off it.

14.  Houston Nutt has announced no changes to his staff… but several coaches’ names have been connected to UM via the rumor mill.

15.  Ole Miss pulled away from SMU for 75-57 road win last night.

16.  Mississippi State AD Scott Stricklin has no problem with Manny Diaz’ decision to go to Texas.  (And neither should State fans.)

17.  MSU’s basketball team is ready to move on from recent controversies, but now the Dogs’ backup point guard is transferring.

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Audio: 104.5 FM with Kevin Stallings

Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings was a guest on the 104.5 Wake Up Zone Tuesday to discuss the latest in Commodore basketball. Download the entire interview for free on VUcommodores.com.
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Video: Post-Belmont press conference

Men’s basketball head coach Kevin Stallings, forward Jeffery Taylor and center Festus Ezeli answer questions from the media following the Commodores’ 85-76 win over Belmont.
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Joe Fisher’s postgame show, Belmont

The Voice of the Commodores, Joe Fisher, talks with men’s basketball head coach Kevin Stallings following Vanderbilt’s 85-76 win over Belmont Saturday. Plus, Tim Thompson’s interview with VU’s player of the game, and his radio call of the play of the game. Download the audio for free on VUcommodores.com.
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Video: Post-WKU press conference

Men’s basketball head coach Kevin Stallings, guard John Jenkins and center Festus Ezeli answer questions from the media following the Commodores’ 82-62 win over Western Kentucky.
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