Vanderbilt basketball coach Jerry Stackhouse has no qualms rooting for his team’s SEC rivals to make deep runs in March Madness.
After the Commodores (22-14) beat several teams that made the NCAA Tournament, including Kentucky (twice), Tennessee, Auburn, Arkansas and Mississippi State, Stackhouse said those teams’ success in March proves the success of the league – and perhaps vindicates the idea that Vanderbilt should’ve been in the NCAA Tournament.
The Commodores defeated Michigan, 66-65, on Saturday to advance to the quarterfinals of the NIT for the second straight year.
“I never thought I would cheer for Kentucky, but I was cheering for Kentucky last night,” Stackhouse said. “I’m cheering for the whole SEC right now. I want all of our teams to win, but I feel like again, we’re the best best league in the country. And hopefully we continue to showcase that and it just makes it even more an argument for us because we kicked a lot of their (expletive) this year and so it feels good to sit back and and watch the SEC have success. … Right now I’m Big Blue Nation. I’m Arkansas, woo sooie, whatever they call it. But I want our teams to have success and hopefully they’re cheering for us the same way.”
Kentucky, a No. 6 seed, defeated Providence in its first-round matchup, while Arkansas, a No. 8 seed, defeated Illinois. No. 4 seed Tennessee is also still alive after beating Louisiana, while No. 7 seed Missouri defeated Utah State and No. 9 seed Auburn defeated Illinois.
No. 7 seed Texas A&M fell to Penn State in its first-round game and No. 11 seed Mississippi State lost in its First Four game against Pittsburgh.
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