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August 4, 2012Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings has announced the Commodores' 2012-13 non-conference schedule, a slate that is highlighted by the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, home games with Villanova and Butler, and the potential to play as many as seven teams that advanced to the postseason a year ago.
The Commodores, coming off of a 25-11 campaign, an SEC Tournament Championship, and the team's fifth NCAA appearance in six seasons, lost all five starters and its leading reserve player from a year ago, but return a talented and young group of players. Seniors Festus Ezeli and Jeffery Taylor were drafted in the 2012 NBA Draft, as was junior John Jenkins, and other Commodore starters Brad Tinsley and Lance Goulbourne were lost to graduation. Steve Tchiengang, Vanderbit's leading reserve, also graduated in May of 2012.
"There are a number of difficult games, high and mid-major teams, that are very, very good," said Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings. "It's a very aggressive schedule, particularly for a team that is as inexperienced as this one will be. But, I think these are the types of schedules and types of games that our players are used to playing in, and they prefer to play in. I think it will do a great job in preparing us for conference play."
The Vanderbilt men's non-conference schedule begins with a game against Nicholls State on November 10, which is also a doubleheader date with the women, who also open their season that day. Vanderbilt then heads to the west coast to close out a home-and-home series with Oregon on November 16. The Commodores knocked off the Ducks, 78-64, in the team's season opener of the 2011-12 season at Memorial Gym.
Vanderbilt then travels to the 2012 Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., and will take on Davidson Thanksgiving Day at 1 p.m. CT in a game televised by ESPN2. The Commodores are paired in the same bracket with West Virginia and Marist, with UTEP, Oklahoma, Clemson, and Gonzaga on the other side of the bracket.
Games will be played Thursday, November 22, Friday, November 23, and Sunday, November 25 at HP Field House at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. All games will be televised on the ESPN Family of Networks.
The Commodores' opening round opponent, Davidson, is a very familiar one - Vanderbilt recently wrapped up a home-and-home series with the Wildcats, with the Commodores taking an 80-52 decision in Nashville on January 2, 2011, and an 87-83 win at Davidson on December 7, 2011.
Vanderbilt has also had a recent game with West Virginia at another ESPN preseason event at the 2010 Puerto Rico Tip-Off - WVU claimed that game, 74-71, on November 19, 2010. The Commodores have never played Marist.
The Commodores return home to Memorial Gym on December 1 to play Villanova as a part of the SEC/Big East Invitational, and then travels to Atlantic 10 power Xavier on December 6. The Commodores dropped an 82-70 overtime decision to the Musketeers last season at Memorial Gym.
After the final exam break, the Commodores take on Alabama A&M on December 15 and Cornell on December 17 at Memorial Gym, and then play Middle Tennessee State in a Blue Raider home game on December 21 at Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville.
The Commodores return from the holiday break and play Butler at Memorial Gym on December 29 to begin a home-and-home series with the Bulldogs. Vanderbilt then closes non-conference play with a game against William & Mary on January 2 at Memorial Gym.
The Commodore men's non-conference schedule includes the possibility of facing five 2012 NCAA Tournament teams - Davidson, West Virginia (possible opponent, Old Spice), Gonzaga (possible opponent, Old Spice), Xavier, and Butler - and seven total teams from the 2012 postseason (Oregon, MTSU).
The Vanderbilt men will have two exhibition games which are still to be determined, as are television details and times.
Men's basketball season tickets are available for as low as $141, and can be purchased by contacting the Vanderbilt ticket office at 615-322-GOLD, or visiting vucommodores.com.