Posted: 12:03 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013
By Christian D'Andrea
Vanderbilt hasn't had much luck in the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament, winning only twice in school history. Now, they'll have a bit of home court advantage on their side.
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive announced on Tuesday that Nashville would be the primary home for the conference men's basketball tournament for the next dozen years. Bridgestone Arena will play host to the five-day league championship event from 2015-2017, 2019-2021, and 2023-2025. The city will also host the women's SEC Tournament in 2018, 2022, and 2026.
This is great news for a Commodore team that holds its home games fewer than three miles away from the downtown Nashville arena. Vanderbilt has traditionally struggled in the conference tournament, but they have advanced to the semifinals the last two times they had the advantage of playing on Broadway. Playing in their home city should help spur travel fatigue, give the 'Dores a familiar backdrop with friendly fans, and even help boost recruiting when it comes to enhancing the profile of the Commodore basketball program.
The news should also benefit the Vanderbilt's women's basketball team - a program with much more SEC Tournament success than their counterparts. The 'Dores have already won four conference tournament trophies since 2002 and have been a consistent top 25 presence over that span.
The timing should coincide with a revival in Vanderbilt basketball as well. Though the 'Dores are set for a difficult season after losing leading scorer Kedren Johnson and an entire recruiting class behind him, their future looks bright in 2015 and beyond. Vandy currently has a top 25 recruiting class, led by a trio of four-star guards, set to don the black and gold next fall. They'll join big men Damian Jones and Luke Kornet to give this team a young cache of sought-after players who can lead Kevin Stallings back to the NCAA Tournament.
Winning a conference tournament in their backyard would be a great way to punch that dance ticket. Bridgestone Arena isn't Memorial Gym, but a crowd packed with black and gold fans would go a long way in replicating some Memorial Magic.