Suffice it to say, Vanderbilt overmatches Middle Tennessee State. Ken Pomeroy's statistics say Vanderbilt has a 96% chance of victory today (78-60 is the predicted score, with a tempo of 68).
MTSU has "Boogie" Yates. Their offensive and defensive ratings are right around 100, which is average for all D-I programs. Their Coach is named Kermit.
Vandy has the Rally 'Stache.
Vandy has done a great job of continuing to build upon their successes over the last 4 games. Considering this is the final "tune-up" before Florida Saturday (and the SEC slate), Vanderbilt needs to continue to show improvement so that momentum is heading in the proper direction as the "new season" begins.
Through 13 outings, Middle Tennessee is scoring 70.0 ppg while allowing 65.4 ppg to opponents. In the recent victory over UL-Lafayette, the Blue Raiders managed to overcome their high total of 20 turnovers by earning a 37-24 rebounding advantage and a 21-14 edge in points from the foul line. James Washington led Middle Tennessee with 23 points and five assists, while J.T. Sulton pitched in 11 points off the bench. Yates has only played six of the 13 games thus far, but his is averaging a team-high 15.3 ppg. Montarrio Haddock checks in with 13.4 ppg, and Washington provides an additional 12.2 ppg.
Traditional Stats - Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders
|John David Little||8||4.8||1.0||1.6||61.5||0.4||0.5||75.0||0.3||0.6||40.0||0.0||0.8||0.8||0.3||0.1||0.0||0.0||0.0||2.6|
When you beat up on less-talented teams you are supposed to beat up, it can be difficult to tell how much better your team in getting. Take, for example, Tennessee State, Mercer and Manhattan. Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings was wondering that very thing before the Commodores mauled an athletic, nine-win Southern Miss squad 82-46 on Saturday at Memorial Gym. "I thought (Saturday) would give us a real good indication of how much progress we’ve made. I would say, based on what I saw, we’ve made quite a bit of progress."
That progress ranges from the play of freshman John Jenkins, who has led the Commodores in scoring the last three games and is shooting lights-out from 3-point range (6-of-6 on Saturday), to a defense that is giving up just 56 points per game during this homestand while registering 10 blocks in each of the last two games. We all know Vanderbilt is a different team at Memorial Gym, where they are 7-0 this season. But at least we're now seeing signs and a level of effort that could translate to success on any court when SEC play begins Saturday with an unpredicatble Florida club visiting West End.
"I know both teams (MTSU and Vanderbilt) didn't play as well as both coaches would like that night," MTSU Coach Kermit Davis said, referring to the Sun Belt Classic on Dec. 11 at Sommet Center. "(Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings) was disappointed in his team, and I was disappointed in our team with the Tennessee game. I thought we played hard, but we didn't execute well. But from reading (Stallings') comments in the paper, it sounds like they've become a lot better practice team. That's the same for us, and that's probably why both teams are improving."
Only three current Blue Raiders have played at Memorial Gym, so MTSU's players said they will focus on adjusting to the arena's unique layout at a shootaround today.
"I just don't like the way the court is set up," said MTSU senior Calvin O'Neil, who played in last season's loss at Memorial Gym. "I guess it's a regular gym, but it's a little weird and the baskets are poked out. But you just have to hoop. It's still just a basketball court."
That jackass sitting behind you reminding you of the way the court is set up each and every time you miss a shot is just me.
-Anchor of Gold
As always, the game thread will open about an hour before tipoff. If you can't be there, please stop by and share your thoughts during the game. If you do attend, you can comment straight from your phone over the mobile version of the site. Don't forget to head over to Stat-King to make your prediction for the game.
Margin of Victory: Vanderbilt vs. MTSU
Vanderbilt by >20 (8 votes)
Vanderbilt by 10-20 (3 votes)
Vanderbilt by <10 (2 votes)
MTSU (11 votes)
24 total votes