Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Presbyterian Blue Hose Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 7th 2023

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Vanderbilt, fresh off back-to-back NIT appearances, hopes to start a successful march towards an NCAA Tournament bid when it opens its season against Presbyterian on Tuesday night in Nashville, Tenn.

The Commodores were 10-12 on Feb. 1 of last season after being demolished, 101-44, at Alabama. They won 10 of their next 11 games — which included five victories over eventual NCAA tournament participants — before they settled for the NIT and bowed out to UAB in the quarterfinals.

Vandy returns guards Ezra Manjon (10.5 ppg, 3.8 apg) and Tyrin Lawrence (13.1 ppg), who led much of that charge down the stretch.

To that, coach Jerry Stackhouse added Lehigh transfer Evan Taylor (14.2 ppg) along with freshman Jason Rivera-Torres, who starred in the Apple TV show “Swagger.”

“I think that it’s more shooting,” Stackhouse said about his newcomers. “I think that there’s more guys that you feel comfortable when the ball leaves their hand and you got a really good shot of it going in.”

Vanderbilt was picked 11th of 14 by the media in a loaded Southeastern Conference featuring five teams ranked in the AP preseason Top 25 and four other teams that received votes.

Presbyterian, which lost its last 18 contests and went 5-27 last season under fourth-year coach Quinton Ferrell, was picked ninth of nine teams in the Big South’s preseason poll.

The Blue Hose lost their two leading scorers to the transfer portal, but added eight new players to a returning foundation that includes returning guards Crosby James (9.3 ppg last year) and Marquis Barnett (9.0 ppg).

Presbyterian clobbered Division II Carolina Christian College in an exhibition game by a 126-57 score on Nov. 2.

Returnee Kobe Stewart (7.0 ppg) led the Blue Hose with 17 points, while Barnett, James and Houston Jones (2.5 ppg) each scored 12.

“I think that’s got a chance to be a strength of ours,” Ferrell said. “On any given night, we’ve got multiple guys that can score double figures.”

–Field Level Media

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