Show Me My Opponent: Vanderbilt I

If you squint just enough and lose all built-in filters to your brain, you can pinpoint the day that both Tennessee and Vanderbilt’s seasons to a massive swing to the negative:

The difference here is that Vandy was pretty much always going to be this bad. Since their somewhat miraculous NCAA Tournament run in 2016-17 – which wasn’t all that impressive, considering they finished with a 19-16 record – the ‘Dores are 29-51 since, 6-33 in conference play. They’re in the midst of a 21-game conference losing streak, which is the longest streak in SEC basketball history by six full games. It’s a terrible time to be a Vanderbilt basketball fan, and this was before All-SEC lock Aaron Nesmith went down with a foot injury.

Per KenPom, this Vandy program is an underdog in all 15 of their remaining games. Given that teams rarely win every game they’re favored in or lose every game they’re not, the likelihood of a second-straight winless SEC season is just 1.2%. Pomeroy says they’ll win about 3.67 of these games; undoubtedly, 3-15 or 4-14 in the SEC would represent improvement of some sort.

My point is this: rarely, if ever, do we see programs stay this bad for multiple seasons in the SEC. It’s easier to dig out of the bottom in basketball than football, and I like thinking of LSU, who ranked 172nd in KenPom in 2016-17 but 66th the next season. It’s not all that hard to at least get out of the basement. And yet: this is like watching Kim Anderson Missouri teams all over again. In that sense, Vanderbilt basketball is probably worth your time.

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