First stop on the 2017 #EVBFullCourtPress tour was Nashville – a city I have always wanted to visit, a city as crazy about music as I am.
I was also looking forward to reconnecting with ex-Valpo head coach Bryce Drew at his new place of work: Vanderbilt University. I was excited to see Coach Drew and assistant coach Roger Powell again after spending so much time around them at Valpo last year.
I know a Vandy vs. Mississippi State game isn’t high up on the must-see list, but it was my very first SEC conference game and I was glad to get the chance to view the changes coach Drew had made so far to the program.
The campus itself was also a point of interest. Did you know that Vanderbilt is national arboretum and features over 300 different species of trees and shrubs? Me neither. But the awesome sports information director gave me some background on the school and places I should check out nearby.
Before the SEC showdown, I wandered into the nearby Hawkins Field and caught a few innings of the Vanderbilt vs. UIC baseball game. Seriously gorgeous baseball stadium, with a fun, energetic fan base.
Memorial Gymnasium was right next door, making transition from baseball to basketball practically seamless.
The game itself was pretty straightforward: Vanderbilt defeated Mississippi State 77-48, taking the Commodores one step closer to the Big Dance and handing the Bulldogs their sixth-straight loss. Jeff Roberson had a career-high night: 23 points and five 3-pointers, all of which came in the second half during a seriously hot streak. That was kind of the theme for the night – stretches of solid shooting from Vandy complimented by staunch defensive play. All part of the Bryce Drew super system.
But will it work against Kentucky tomorrow?
After the post game, it was time to see about this downtown Nashville business.
Sadly, I didn’t make it to any of the famous neon-signed country/blues bars or venues. Hopefully I will be able to circle back to Printer’s Alley towards the end of my trip. I made it as far as the nearest, most awesome, sports bar where I proceeded to watch the BYU-Gonzaga game with rapt attention. I did get to educate some locals about West Coast basketball, which was fun.
Stayed out a little too late, but still made the drive to Louisville the following morning.
Sleep or no sleep, the show must go on.
See you on the other side.