After losing three of their top four scorers from last season the Vanderbilt Commodores will be a young basketball team in 2013-14. Head coach Kevin Stallings has just three seniors on his roster, and among the backcourt players expected to contribute the majority of them have yet to play a game of college basketball.
That can impact the way in which a team fills out its non-conference schedule, with the goal being to prepare for conference play while also avoiding the possibility of overwhelming the younger players on the roster. Monday afternoon Vanderbilt announced that its non-conference schedule has been completed, with the Commodores beginning regular season play against new Division II member Trevecca on November 16.
Prior to that game the Commodores, who finished 15-16 last season (7-11 SEC), will play exhibition games against Illinois-Springfield (November 6) and Sewanee (November 11).
“We’re excited about our non-conference schedule this year,” Stallings said in the release. “We have a good variety of games against high-level conferences which will prepare us for a rigorous 18-game league schedule. I’m also excited to play against some teams from Nashville. We always try to add a local angle to our non-conference schedule, and this season we begin our regular season with three teams from Nashville. Our young team is ready and eager for the challenge that awaits us.”
With their first four games of the season at Memorial Gym, Vanderbilt won’t leave Nashville until a November 25 meeting with Rutgers at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Depending on the results in that weekend’s Barclays Center Classic, Vanderbilt could run into a Virginia (the Cavaliers play La Salle in the other half of that doubleheader) team that won the ACC and should once again factor into the ACC and national conversations.
Outside of those two games Vanderbilt will play away from Memorial Gyn just once before they get into SEC play, as they visit Saint Louis on New Year’s Eve. Vanderbilt’s most productive returnees are senior James Siakam (7.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and sophomore Damian Jones (11.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg), and they’ll be joined by a talented crop of freshmen led by 6-foot-2 guard Wade Baldwin IV.
Vanderbilt opens SEC play January 6 against Auburn, with their first league road game scheduled for January 10 at Arkansas.