Vanderbilt Men’s Basketball coach Kevin Stallings sat alone in his office Sunday evening.
He did not have the television on. He did not want to watch the NCAA Tournament Selection Show. His son would text him updates on which teams were seeded. Other than that, he was not interested.
“I wasn’t watching,” Stallings told the media in a press conference. “The thought of not getting in was too painful.”
Luckily, Coach Stallings did not have to worry about being spurned from the tourney.
“But from the floor below me I heard an eruption that can’t be mistaken. That’s when I knew we were in .
— VandyMBB (@VandyMBB) March 13, 2016
The Commodores (19-13) will face off against the Shockers of Wichita State (24-8) on Tuesday night (8:10 p.m./TruTV) in the first round in a First Four round in Dayton, OH. The at-large bid came as somewhat of a surprise to most, as Vandy underachieved for most of the season, ending in a 67-65 loss to Tennessee in last Thursday’s second round of the SEC Tournament in Nashville.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi projected that the Commodores would miss the Big Dance following that loss. Coach Stallings was quick to address that matter in his press conference following the team recieveing their tourney slot.
“This whole notion of ‘if they win this game, they’re in,’ that we all read and buy into and accept as fact, is garbage. This whole media creation of ‘they have to win this game or they’re not in,’ much to my delight, was absolute nonsense,” said Stallings, who went on to say that “ESPN has created Joe Lunardi as a God.”
Vandy will tip off against Wichita State in less than 48 hours, leaving the team little time to prepare. The team held a meeting directly after last night’s press conferences to begin game-planning for the Shockers.
“We’ll have them [the team] prepared,” Stallings said. And, what of the Shockers? “You’ll notice I said I didn’t know a lot about them, but my staff does already and we’ve only had about an hour or two,” since the announcement was made.