Vanderbilt Men's Basketball 2016 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Vanderbilt Commodores
SEC (19-13, 11-7)
At one point Vanderbilt was 8-7 and any postseason appearance seemed like a long, long way away. The nonconference losses were not bad, but the Commodores started SEC play with a home loss to LSU and away losses to Arkansas and South Carolina. That left Vanderbilt seemingly out of the SEC title picture, but they made a great late push. After the home loss to LSU, the Commodores were perfect at home and picked up some nice road wins along the way too.
Big Wins: 2/4 Texas A&M (77-60), 2/23 at Florida (87-74), 2/27 Kentucky (74-62)
Bad Losses: 1/2 LSU (82-90), 1/5 at Arkansas (85-90), 2/16 at Mississippi State (74-75)
Coach: Kevin Stallings
Why They Can Surprise:
It has been the defense that spurned the turnaround. The return of Luke Kornet, who missed most of December with an injury, made a huge difference. The 7-1 forward averages 3.0 blocks per game and adds 8.9 points and 7.2 rebounds. He makes it tough for anybody to score in the paint, but Kornet gets plenty of help from 7-0 center Damian Jones. Jones is not quite as effective blocking shots, but his presence alone keeps players out of the paint. While Kornet is a big guy who can shoot, Jones dominates the paint, averaging 14.2 points per game. Vanderbilt has one of the best field-goal percentage defenses in the country, but it gets even better when those two are on the floor together. And it is not like teams can avoid the paint and jack up three’s against Vanderbilt either. The perimeter defense is great and the Commodores allow the opposition to shoot just 29.1 percent from beyond the arc, which is fourth in the nation. Guards like Wade Baldwin and Matthew Fisher-Davis are not going to get a lot of steals, but they play solid defense. Baldwin also averages 14.3 points and 5.2 assists per game and Fisher-Davis is a great outside shooter.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Vanderbilt makes their opponent work hard for points, but they have to work hard too. This is not a team that is going to get breakaways and they rarely even try to get second chance points. They get back on defense instead. So when shots are not falling, it is important for the Commodores to remember to work through Jones in the paint. One player to keep an eye on is sophomore forward Jeff Roberson. He has had an up and down season and has a habit of getting into foul trouble, but when he is being aggressive and attacking the basket, Vanderbilt can score in bunches. If Roberson is passive and settling for outside shots and getting into foul trouble, it takes away from Coach Kevin Stallings’ offense. There is not a lot of depth to work with either so Roberson has to spend quite a bit of time at the four spot when the seven-footers need a rest and it is imperative that he stays on the floor.
Probable Starters:
Wade Baldwin IV, Sophomore, Guard, 14.3 ppg, 5.2 apg, 4.0 rpg
Matthew Fisher-Davis, Sophomore, Guard, 9.9 ppg, 1.1 apg, 3.6 rpg
Jeff Roberson, Sophomore, Forward, 9.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg
Luke Kornet, Junior, Forward, 8.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 3.0 bpg
Damian Jones, Junior, Center, 14.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.6 bpg
Key Roleplayers:
Nolan Cressler, Junior, Guard, 4.9 ppg
Riley LaChance, Sophomore, Guard, 6.8 ppg, 2.4 apg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.1 (79th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.4 (73, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.1 (69, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.6 (8, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.4 (56, 2)   
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.0 (19, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.0 (163, 5)
Rebound Margin:  1.3 (144, 7)
Assists Per Game:  14,9 (79, 4)
Turnovers Per Game:  11.7 (79, 5)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2015    NIT      First Round win over St. Mary's
2015    NIT      Second Round win over South Dakota State
2015    NIT      Quarterfinal loss to Stanford
2012    NCAA Second Round win over Harvard
2012    NCAA Third Round loss to Wisconsin
2011    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Richmond
2010    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Murray State
2008    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Siena
2007    NCAA Round of 64 win over George Washington
2007    NCAA Round of 32 win over Washington State
2007    NCAA Regional Semifinal loss to Georgetown
2006    NIT      First Round loss to Notre Dame
*all team stats through 3/6