Hello, friends. Nice to see you today. I hope your Pope won the contest yesterday. I was really pulling for Odilo Pedro Scherer. I just really thought his refreshing brand of theological moderatism and stance toward the evangelization deficit made him a strong candidate. Of course, as you know by now, Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the new Bishop of Rome, which frankly really surprises me because sources have been telling me all along that he already accepted a position with the Orlando Magic.
Friends, I don’t need to tell you that the SEC Tournament is upon us in Nashville – or, as I like to call it, “Music City.” I call it that because of all the music. Here our beloved two-seeded Cats will make one last push to get into the NCAA Tournament – or, as I like to call that, “The Big Dance.” I sure am great at coming up with nicknames for things, I think we can all agree. But before our boys play on Friday night, they’ll need to find out who’s on the card. And for that, we’re all going to have to tune for Vanderbilt vs. Arkansas tonight. Because, let’s face it, this may be the only time in recent memory that we’ve collectively cared about who wins an Arkansas vs. Vanderbilt game. So let’s see how the two stack up, both on and off the court, shall we, in a Game Preview: Arkansas-Vandy. As always, gang, have a great weekend. And go Cats.
Vandy: 14-16, 8-10 in SEC play
Arkansas: 19-12, 10-8 in SEC play
Edge: While Vandy has a worse SEC record, splitting games with Arkansas this season and losing pre-conference games to Marist (Marist!) and Middle Tennessee State, the Razorbacks’ record is bolstered by yawner wins against Delaware State, Florida A&M and Longwood (giggity). But Arkansas lost all but one of their SEC road games this year, and last I checked, the SEC Tourney isn’t being held in Fayetteville. Not that anyone would attend even if it were. (Spoiler alert: Fayetteville is awful.)
Coaches & Players:
Razorbacks head coach Mike Anderson is noted for his “Forty Minutes of Hell” (which, coincidentally, is also how Vandy coach Kevin Stallings refers to the wait time at IHOP on Sunday morning). Stallings is at least functioning with no returning starters from last year. The Razorbacks are led by BJ (giggity) Young, but round out their roster with some of the most wonderful names in SEC play, including a DeQuavious, a Jacorey, a Kikko, an Alandise and a Fred. Vanderbilt is anchored by Kedren Johnson, who used to look like a little kid until he grew a goatee and now looks like a forty year-old.
Edge: Scoring, Arkansas. Names, Arkansas (did I mention they also have a Mardracus and an Anthlon? Because they do.)
Arkansas fans are known for the “calling of the hogs,” a tradition which dates back to early days of Arkansas sports and which consists of a unified “Woooo! Pig sooey!” to cheer on the team. Arkansas’ official website also purports that hog calls “have been known to break out in airports, malls, restaurants and hotels all across the country.” Let’s be honest, though – this is probably the norm for both Razorback fans and people from Arkansas in general. Vandy is known for the “V-U” hand sign, in which the thumb, middle finger and index finger of…oh, sorry, I fell asleep there for a minute. What was I saying?
Arkansas, as we previously mentioned, has been mighty at home this season in their home headquarters of Bud Walton Arena, which is named after the founder of Wal-Mart. The Commodores, on the other hand, play regularly at home in Memorial Gymnasium, which is a terrifying death trap of danger.
Advantage: Despite Arkansas’ record at a cost-savings-inspired home arena, Vandy’s court is like a horrible siren beckoning you to almost certain death. Vanderbilt.
Let’s face it. Both of these teams are NIT-bound. Not that that’s bad. Just want to say I’m not hating on the NIT, you know? I mean, hey, sometimes the NIT’s okay, right? It’s still a really prestigious tournament, and there are still a lot of great teams in it. There’s no shame in that. Seriously, you guys. (Ed. note: The previous comments apply only if Kentucky does not make the NCAA Tournament.)
By these completely unqualified standards of judgment, the Arkansas/Vandy game could go either way. Who to root for? Whatever. It’s Arkansas/Vandy. If you haven’t poked out your eyes by the second half, I guess, root for whoever. Let’s just hope we’re on point for whoever we see Friday night. Go get ‘em, Wildcats. Don’t listen to Lunardi; guy’s a tool.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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