Vanderbilt’s non-conference schedule filled with rising teams

In News by Blake Lovell

Vanderbilt has officially released its non-conference schedule for the 2017-18 season.

The Commodores will open the season against Austin Peay on November 10 at Memorial Gym in Nashville.

Beyond that, Bryce Drew’s team will endure a cross-town trip to Belmont and also head to Brooklyn two play two games in the NIT Season Tip-Off.

Other power conference games will include matchups against USC, Kansas State, Arizona State, and TCU.

Lovell’s Analysis:

Last season, the Commodores made the NCAA Tournament with the most losses of any team in history (15).

The reason that happened was because of Vandy’s impressive non-conference schedule and overall strength of schedule.

So, it’s no surprise that this year will feature another assortment of challenges for Drew and company.

In addition to the intriguing in-state showdowns against Belmont and MTSU, the Commodores will host a potential preseason Top 10 team in USC and reigning NIT champion TCU. Then there’s a trip out West to take on a rising Arizona State squad, as well as the matchup with Virginia and either Rhode Island or Seton Hall at the Barclays Center.

With question marks surrounding Vandy’s frontcourt production after Luke Kornet’s exit, these games will give players like Djery Baptiste, Clevon Brown, and Ejike Obinna valuable experience.

Judging by this schedule, this team could once again find itself in good position for making the NCAA Tournament for a third straight season.

Blake Lovell is the founder of Southeast Hoops. He hosts the Marching to Madness podcast, which features interviews with coaches around the country. He also hosts a weekly college basketball show on WNSR 560AM/95.9 FM in Nashville. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Athlon Sports, Rivals, FanRag Sports, and many more.