Valparaiso Crusaders (0-0)
Vanderbilt Commodores (0-0)
Nov. 27, 2020 • 6 p.m. CT
Memorial Gymnasium • Nashville, Tenn.
Richard Cross (play-by-play), Mark Wise (analyst)
WQZQ 830 AM • 93.3 FM
Joe Fisher (play-by-play), Tim Thompson (analyst)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The 2020-21 Vanderbilt men’s basketball season will officially begin Friday inside Memorial Gymasium.
The Commodores are scheduled to host Valparaiso at 6 p.m. in a season-opener for both teams.
“We’re excited,” Vanderbilt head coach Jerry Stackhouse said. “These guys have been working hard and policing themselves and following all the (COVID-19) protocols and keeping themselves and everybody safe to get to this point. We’re really ecstatic.
“They’re ready to get after somebody else so I’m excited to see how they come out.”
Vandy is beginning its second season with Stackhouse at the helm and there are plenty of reasons for optimism for the former NBA All-Star.
Vanderbilt welcomes back a core group of impactful returners off the 2019-20 squad and has added a trio of eligible transfers as well. The program has welcomed in five freshmen as an influx of more talent and depth moving forward.
Friday’s contest, televised by the SEC Network, will be the first of nine scheduled nonconference games for the Commodores before the start of Southeastern Conference play Dec. 30.
“We have so many new pieces that we’re trying to figure out more about ourselves more than anything else,” Stackhouse added. “We’ve had a good camp so far and I think our guys are eager and ready to play. I think there’s parity on our roster and a lot of guys deserve minutes and deserve playing time, but it’s on us to try to manage that and come up with the best groups and the best lineups that we feel give us the best chance to win.”
No Fans Just Yet
Vanderbilt will begin its basketball season without spectators in attendance until further notice.
The decision to continue limiting attendance at athletic events was based on the advice and guidance of Vanderbilt’s public health partners, including the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and local public health officials.
Vanderbilt and Valparaiso will be meeting for just the third time.
The two programs first matched up in 1996 as part of the preseason NIT in Nashville. The Commodores came away with a 74-86 victory led by Billy Di Spaltro’s 22 points and nine rebounds.
In 2007, also at Memorial Gymnasium, Vandy came away with an 87-78 win. A.J. Ogilvy scored 21 points and Ross Neltner had a 16-point, 10-rebound performance.
Pippen Made Easy
Vanderbilt sophomore Scotty Pippen Jr. was named preseason All-SEC.
Pippen, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound point guard, was selected to the second team. He played in all 32 Vandy games in 2019-20 and averaged 12 points and 3.6 assists per game.
A product of Los Angeles, Pippen scored a career-high 21 points twice – once against Austin Peay and once against South Carolina – and registered eighth assists in a win over South Carolina State. Pippen also attempted 189 free throws and 952 minutes.
Five Fab Freshman
Vanderbilt welcomes five true freshmen to the fold for the 2020-21 season.
Max Adelman, Tyrin Lawrence, Akeem Odusipe, Myles Stute and Trey Thomas could all make their debuts for the Commodores are some point during the campaign. Stute signed with the program in November while Lawrence, Odusipe and Thomas joined the program in the spring.
Adelman came to Nashville as a walk-on.
Harvey, who began his career at Notre Dame, and Millora-Brown, who started his college career at Rice, were both with the program in 2019-20.
McBride came to West End from Kansas in the spring.
Improving The Practice Place
As part of a $5 million gift from Seattle-area businessman and Vanderbilt alumnus George B. Huber, BA’79, and his wife Cathy, Vanderbilt’s basketball practice facility underwent extensive upgrades this summer.
Originally built in 2002, the practice facility had its latest updates installed beginning in June and completed prior to the campus arrival of the basketball student-athletes Aug. 3.
New aspects of the basketball practice facility include branded paint and graphics throughout the gym, environment-conscious LED lighting and an all-new playing surface.
Worth The Wait
Vanderbilt’s season-opening date of Nov. 27 is the latest beginning to a season in 31 years.
The Commodores began the 1989-90 season by facing Southern Methodist on the same Nov. 27 date. They have started every season since earlier than that date.
Vanderbilt is scheduled to travel to Uncasville, Connecticut, to take part in the Roman Legends Classic.
The Commodores will begin the two-game event with a matchup against Connecticut at 4 p.m. CT Tuesday on ESPN. The Huskies have three starters back for a team that finished 19-12 a season ago.
Vandy will then take the court at 6 p.m. (ESPN) or 8:30 p.m. CT (ESPN2) on Dec. 3 against either Southern California or Brigham Young. The Trojans of USC are coming off a 22-9 campaign while the Cougars of BYU have two starters back after going 24-8 last season.