A week ago, we were here wondering whether the Vanderbilt men’s basketball team had, at least in its current construction, terminally cratered. We “hope,” I wrote, this “will be its nadir.” The offending event, the school’s third-worst loss ever and worst in twenty years, felt fundamental, essential, and irredeemable. The big-time coach with the small-time record sounded like he was firing himself.
Since then, things for the Commodores hardly could have gone better, at least relatively speaking. Two home conference games in magic Memorial Gym. Two wins.
To call the first a get-right game against middling Ole Miss obscures the depths from which the team necessarily climbed to claim that victory and falsely implies a level of predicate rightness that simply did not exist. Still, it’s like when you’re standing on the South Pole: any step you take in any direction is a step north.
The second was satisfying, affirming, and, for Stackhouse, likely job-saving:
It speaks for itself, as does Tennessee’s record as a top-ten ranked team in Nashville, where the Volunteers are winless in regulation.
There’s no firm basis to believe that these two wins constitute building blocks toward an imminent future of sustained success. It sure is better than losing, though.