Vandy secured a first round bye in the SEC Tournament, which is huge, with a 64-60 victory over Florida in the O-Dome at Gainesville. Really thought it would be tough for the 'Dores, but they're a special team. Coach Kevin Stallings said that freshman John Jenkins is the best pure shooter he's ever recruited and that's saying a lot with guys like Shane Foster and Dan Cage on that list. Jenkins was amazing sinking six trifectas and putting dagger after dagger into the Gators. He really is something special and is going to give Vandy fans a lot to cheer about in the next three and a half years. Jenkins finished with 18.
But I thought the key guy for the 'Dores was A.J. Ogilvy. Sometimes I've questioned his passion in games, but last night he played like a man on a mission. He poured in 16 and pulled down eight boards, hustled after loose balls and just put maximum effort into that game. If A.J. plays that way from now on, which I think he will he's got to be energized from last night, I see the 'Dores making a deep run in March.
And Jermaine "Dollah" Beal was clutch as usual sinking two-of-two free throws with six seconds left to secure the victory for Vandy. He's a leader on the floor more by his actions. He finished with 13 and six assists.
An amazing stat that ESPN flashed up was Florida's record in games this year when they were leading with five minutes left. It was 19-0. In games they were not leading they were 0-7. They led Vandy at the five minute mark, but couldn't hold on this time.
Florida's tourney hopes are still up in the air as they head to Lexington this weekend to face UK and then gear up for the tourney. They are really on the bubble. If they beat KY, which will be extremely hard, they would probably get in. If they don't beat KY, they will need a couple of wins in SEC tourney one of them being a quality win. The pressure is on the Gators.
Great win for 'Dores. They close out the season Sat. at 1 against South Carolina on ESPN2. Need to keep that momentum going for the tourney. Will be senior day and Beal is the only senior. He should be applauded by Vandy fans for his commitment to the program for the past four years. Great guy. He was the starting frosh point guard on Vandy's great 2006-07 team that was a Gtown walk away from going to the Elite Eight. It was late in the game, seconds left, but the Georgetown player definitely walked before he sank his basket. That was a heartbreaker for a special team. But this could be another very special team.