The No. 4 seed in the Raleigh Region, Vanderbilt (24-8, 10-4 SEC) is making its second consecutive trip to play its opening NCAA Tournament game in Albuquerque. Last year, Vanderbilt defeated No. 13 seed Montana and No. 5 seed West Virginia at The Pit to advance to the Sweet 16.
Vanderbilt is making its 22nd overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and its 10th consecutive trip since 2000. This year, Vanderbilt received the SEC’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament after winning the SEC Tournament for the fourth time in eight years. The SEC Tournament championship marked Vanderbilt’s sixth overall and the school’s second in the last three seasons.
Going into the NCAA Tournament, The Commodores are on a three-game winning streak and have won seven of their last ten games. They have had 10 or fewer turnovers in three of their last four games, including an SEC Tournament record three giveaways in the quarterfinals against Georgia. Vanderbilt ranks No. 1 in the SEC in turnover margin (+5.8) and steals (10.3). Vanderbilt is eighth in the nation in turnover margin, while sophomore point guard Jence Rhoads ranks third nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.53:1).
Vanderbilt has won 20-or-more games in all seven seasons under Head Coach Melanie Balcomb. The 80-64 win over Georgia gave VU at least 20 wins for the 23rd overall season, the 10th in a row for the Commodores and the 17th in the last 18 years.
The Commodores are the only team in NCAA D-I that has been ranked in the Top 10 for field goal percentage in each of the last seven years including the current 2008-09 season.
Balcomb’s Commodore teams have made 48.3 percent of their shot attempts (6117-of-12664) and ranked either first or second in the country three times.
Vanderbilt’s History in the NCAA Tournament
WCU will be facing a team tonight that has deep roots in “The Big Dance”. Below is their all time records and statistics.
34-21 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.28-8 all-time in First/Second Round Games5-8 all-time in NCAA Regional Semifinal matchups1-4 all-time in NCAA Regional Finals16-4 all-time in tournament openers and has won six in a row13-1 in First Round games since the bracket expanded to 64 teams in 19941-1 in First Round overtime games and 1-2 overall in overtimeHas scored over 80 points in a First Round game four times