By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
NEW ORLEANS – In the year 1951, the 22nd Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, the term Rock N Roll was first coined, the first direct-dial coast-to-coast telephone service began in the United States, Kentucky won its third NCAA men’s basketball championship, and Vanderbilt made an appearance in the Southeastern Conference Tournament title game.
When the Commodores defeated Ole Miss 65-53 on Saturday in New Orleans Arena, they punched their first ticket to the SEC Tournament Finals since that 1951 season when the league tournament was contested at the Jefferson County Armory in Louisville, Ky.
“Our players actually informed me, because I didn’t know this, but Jeffery Taylor informed me yesterday that it’s the first time since 1951 that Vanderbilt has been in the championship of this conference tournament,” Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings said. “We appreciate that. We’re proud of that. We’re excited about that.”
In case you’re wondering, Vanderbilt won that title game, 61-57, against top-ranked Kentucky on March 3, 1951. The Commodores know it will be a tall test on Sunday against a Wildcat squad that is also ranked No. 1 in the nation and appears among the favorites for a national title.
“It’s tough in every respect,” Stallings said. “It’s tough on offense, it’s tough on defense, it’s tough on the boards. It’s tough in every way when you play Kentucky.”
And while there are a lot of similarities between the 1951 matchup and this one, it’s fun to look at how times have changed since then.
Kentucky head coach: Adolph Rupp
Vanderbilt head coach: Bob Polk
President of the US: Harry S. Truman
Average cost of a gallon of gas: 19 cents
No. 1 radio song in March 1951 (all genres): “If” by Perry Como
Kentucky head coach: John Calipari
Vanderbilt head coach: Kevin Stallings
President of the US: Barack Obama
Average cost of a gallon of gas: $3.79
No. 1 radio song in March 2012 (all genres): “Set Fire To The Rain” by Adele