November 10, 2012
Forecasting the basketball season
Vanderbilt opens its men's basketball season tonight, and VandySports.com's Chris Lee, Mike Rapp and Jesse Johnson weigh in with predicted records and their commentary on the upcoming season.
Okay, let's start with the positives. First of all, this team won't be playing under the enormous pressure of expectations that last year's team did. That may have worn on the team, but I think it almost certainly wore on coach Kevin Stallings, who seems a lot more relaxed now that anything short of a top-10 finish and an Elite Eight is no longer a disappointment.
I also think that Vanderbilt will have a better defensive backcourt than it's had in a while, between Kedren Johnson and Dai-Jon Parker (assuming Parker comes back). Johnson is going to be a terrific point guard, perhaps one unlike Vandy has seen since Billy McCaffrey. Obviously, they're different players - there's no way that Johnson will ever become the shooter that McCaffrey was - but Johnson's stocky build is going to make him tough to get around in the lane, and of course everyone knows Parker's reputation as a stellar defender that's followed him around since high school.
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