Tonight should provide the Commodores another opportunity to get themselves right, as Vanderbilt takes on the Lafayette Leopards, its third opponent in five days in Memorial Gym. As a Commodore fan, I will be looking for the team to build upon the full, forty minute effort they put in against Longwood on both ends of the floor. Hopefully Jeffery Taylor is somewhat recovered from his bout of food poisoning (though perhaps the effort he registered vs the Lancers Monday night -- 29 points in 23 minutes -- will be the bigger challenge there). Bench development will be another key, as the starters seemed to relish having built a lead large enough against Longwood that the reserves were given a bit more playing time than they had seen over the previous four games.
Click through the jump for a breakdown of the team's opponents thus far and a closer look at their personnel.
To date, Vanderbilt has played 11 total games, 7 at home, 2 on neutral courts, and 2 on the road against an average KenPom rated opponent of 117.5. Lafayette has played 10 total games, 4 at home and 6 on the road, against an average rated D-I opponent of 187.0. Based on their performances to date, Kenpom rates Vanderbilt to be the most efficient offensive and fourth most efficient defensive team that the Leopards will have played. Lafayette rates as the seventh most efficient offensive team and the eleventh most efficient defensive team. Keep in mind that these KenPom numbers are still reliant on preseason projections.
Based on previous opponents, Lafayette most closely resembles Longwood, though they are much better defensively than the Lancers (although this is not saying much). Vanderbilt is closest to La Salle on Lafayette's schedule, though the Commodores are in a different universe when it comes to offense.
Looking solely at the tempo free statistics, Vanderbilt has the edge at the starting positions. Lafayette has the edge at the bench. Keep in mind that these statistics are not adjusted for the strength of the opponents. Vanderbilt has played the much tougher schedule thus far.
Four Factors: Vanderbilt is the better rebounding team. Lafayette has statistical minor edges [on paper] in turnover percentage and getting to the free throw line. Prediction: Vanderbilt wins eFG%, FTRate, OReb%, and TO%.
Ken Pomeroy predicts a 84-66 Commodore win in a game with a tempo of 68. He rates Vanderbilt's win percentage at 93%. Based on commentary from Stallings earlier in the week on the radio, it is not anticipated that Festus Ezeli will play tonight, as he continues to rest his sore, non-injured-earlier-this-season-but-injured-last-season-and-which-received-offeseason-surgery-for-a-patella-tear knee (left?).
Traditional Statistics -- Lafayette Leopards
Tipoff is scheduled for 1907 CT and the game will be available on FSN South and ESPN3.com. Our open gamethread will go live two hours before tipoff. Also, don't forget to head over to Stat-King to submit your predictions for the game.