On Thursday in Denver, the No. 12 seed Richmond Spiders of the Atlantic 10 will take on the five seed Vanderbilt Commodores of the Southeastern Conference in a 2011 NCAA Tournament Southwest region first-round match up. Before brackets could even be posted to the internet (which they are now), fans were falling all over themselves to choose this game as a first round upset, fulfilling the annual 12/5 legacy.
It's a logical pick. Richmond is a balanced and senior-led team brimming with confidence after an emotional conference tournament victory. They're led by the inside-out tandem of 6'10" forward Justin Harper (18 points per game, seven rebounds per game) and 6'0" senior guard Kevin Anderson (16 ppg, 3 assists per game). Coach Chris Mooney has a team primed to pull the upset.
But if I may make an awkward cross-sport comparison here for a moment and channel Lee Corso, "Not so fast, my friend." The Vanderbilt Commodores are no slouches, as wins over North Carolina and Kentucky earlier in the season prove. John Jenkins (20 ppg, 3rpg) and Jeffrey Taylor (15 ppg, 5 rpg) lead a group that averages 76 points a game (30th in the NCAA). Vanderbilt has impressive depth as well, with nine players averaging 15 minutes or more a game.
But no matter what the result of this first round match up, I can be sure of one thing - @buster_espn is disappearing for a few minutes during a split squad spring training game to watch some of Spiders/Commodores.