Eyes on the Prize

Commodores open NCAA Championship on Friday in Las Vegas

by Rod Williamson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt has reached the NCAA’s Final Four and will play Arkansas State at 11 a.m. CT Friday in the first round of the double-elimination competition.

Nebraska, the defending national champion, and McKendree meet in the other semifinal at the same time on the other side of the bracket. The second round matches are at 5 p.m. CT.

The tournament is being held at the South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas.


Tickets are $10 for Friday and $10 for Saturday, available at the site purchased by credit card only.

Livestream and live television

All matches up to the championship final will be livestreamed on NCAA.com. There will be a live link on the front page of NCAA.com. The national championship match will be televised live by ESPNU at 8:00 p.m CT Saturday.

Final Four Seeds

McKendree is the No. 1 seed, Vanderbilt has the No. 2 seed, Arkansas State the No. 3 and Nebraska the No. 4 seed. Seeds can become significant as the higher seed has lane choice in the seventh and deciding game if the teams are tied after six games in the best of seven.

Vandy’s NCAA Championship History

The format until 2021 included eight teams in the final field. This year marks the 10th time in the program’s 19-year history that Vanderbilt has been one of the last four teams standing.

Here is how Vanderbilt has fared through the years at the NCAA Tournament finals:


2010New Brunswick5th1-2
2015St. Louis7th0-2
2016North Brunswick7th0-2
2017Baton Rouge3rd2-2
2018St. Louis1st4-1
2020No eventN/AN/A
2021Kansas City5th2-2


Dores Repeat in Lansing Regional

Vanderbilt arrived in Las Vegas on the strength of a regional championship in Lansing, Michigan. The Dores defeated sixth-ranked Youngstown State there for the right to advance. Vandy also won the Lansing Regional a year ago.

Mega Match Tournament Format Until Finals

NCAA Championship matches will be decided by a 2-point mega match. One point will be awarded after a traditional game, another after a 5-game Baker set and, if the teams split points, a best-of-seven Baker to break the tie.

National television prefers a more compact format so the championship match is simply a best 4 of 7 Baker games.

Travel Plans

Vanderbilt will fly nonstop to Vegas on Wednesday to get settled in prior to Thursday’s various scheduled events.

Thursday Practice

All four teams will practice 11 a.m.-1 p.m. CT Thursday. Practices are closed to the public.

NCAA Championship banquet

The four participating teams will gather at 7 p.m. CT Thursday for an awards dinner and program on the eve of play. Among the items on the agenda will be the annual National Ten Pin Coaches Association’s announcement of its All-America team and a question-and-answer panel with two student-athletes and the head coach from each school.

Elite 90 Nominee

Another of the banquet highlights is the announcement of the NCAA Elite 90 Award.

The NCAA presents an award to the student-athlete at each national championship with the highest grade point average. Jennifer Loredo is this year’s Vanderbilt nominee—Loredo carries a 3.781 GPA.

Kristen Quah, who had a 3.98 grade point while double majoring in electrical and biomedical engineering, won the award twice representing Vanderbilt.

Four Dores Named All-Region

Vanderbilt had four student-athletes named to the NTCA Central All-Region Team.

Mabel Cummins, Caroline Thesier, Alyssa Ballard and Paige Peters all made the 16-person team. Cummins was named to the first team, Thesier to the second team and Ballard and Peters were honorable mentions.