The SEC-leading Alabama Crimson Tide comes to town to take on the Commodores in a solid Thursday night showdown. After a so-so non-conference slate, Alabama has turned heads with a 7-1 conference start, including wins vs. Kentucky and at Tennessee. Alabama hasn't won in Memorial Gym since 1990, so I've got to believe there's some motivation there to snap a 10 game streak. Vanderbilt is waist-deep in an SEC East slugfest that has Florida with 2 losses, South Carolina with 5, and the rest with 4. If Vanderbilt has any SEC East title aspirations, pretty much every game the rest of the season is "must win." Especially games at home.
According to Kenpom, Vanderbilt has played the 49th best SOS to date. Alabama's SOS is 184th. Based on their performances to date, Alabama will be the 12th best offensive and best defensive team the Commodores will have played. Vanderbilt will be the third best offensive and sixth best defensive team the Crimson Tide will have played.
The two closest matches to Vanderbilt on Alabama's schedule are Purdue and Tennessee. Purdue scores the ball slightly more efficiently than Vanderbilt but has a much better defense than the Commodores. Tennessee is on par defensively with the Commodores, but is less effective offensively. Purdue beat Alabama 66-47 at home. Tennessee lost to Alabama 65-60 at home.
The closest match to Alabama on Vanderbilt's schedule is Nebraska. The Huskers score a bit more effectively than the Crimson Tide, but they are not quite as elite defensively. Nebraska is the only team the Commodores have played that currently have a defensive efficiency less than 90. Vanderbilt beat Nebraska 59-49 in Puerto Rico in the second game of the season.
KenPom predicts a 67-62 Commodore victory in a game with a pace of 67, and rates Alabama's chances of springing the upset at 30%.
Vanderbilt holds a decided advantage in tempo-free statistics at the starting positions and at the bench. Keep in mind that the numbers in the chart above are no adjusted for the quality of opponents.
Four Factors: Vanderbilt holds strong edges in TO%, FTRate, and eFG%. Alabama holds a strong advantage in OReb%. Prediction: I think the Commodores will control eFG% and FTRate, while the Crimson Tide takes TO% and OReb%.
Traditional Statistics -
|Charles Hankerson Jr||15||12.2||1.0||3.0||33.3||0.4||1.4||28.6||0.3||0.7||45.5||0.2||1.3||1.5||0.7||0.7||0.7||0.1||0.7||2.7|
Tipoff is scheduled for 2000 CT and the game will be televised by ESPN2 (Comcast ch. 29 or 203 HD), though the game will also be available on ESPN3.com. Rece Davis will have play-by-play duties to go along with the color commentary of Hubert Davis. Our open gamethread will go live about an hour before tipoff. Also, don't forget to head over to Stat-King to submit your predictions for the game.