Vanderbilt travels to Mississippi in a game that pits two teams that are mirror images of each other, at least in the simple terms of offensive and defensive efficiency, Ken Pomeroy predicts that the Commodores have a 41% probability of victory (78-81 with a tempo of 73).
Now that Vanderbilt finds itself a little more comfortable with its position in the national landscape of college basketball, it will be interesting to see how they handle a road game where they are the hunted. If the team truly belongs in the conversation with Kentucky, if the Commodores have a legitimate shot to upset the team most have already penciled in as the SEC Regular Season Champion, they must go to the Tad Pad and get the win.
Ole Miss is in a different situation at this point, a situation which clearly makes them an even more dangerous opponent than they already are: beating a team like Vanderbilt pads their resume. Ole Miss is one of the five SEC teams with more than an outside chance at an NCAA bid. Beating the Commodores tonight will make Rebel fans feel a lot more comfortable about their prospects.
Both teams have players coming back from games missed. For Vanderbilt John Jenkins will be back in action after missing two games due to a stomach illness which left him briefly hospitalized. Sophomore Andre Walker, who sustained a shoulder injury during a collision with Steve Tchiengang, missed the LSU game and is questionable for a return. For Ole Miss, freshman Reginald Buckner is back from a tough ankle injury after missing four games. At this point, it's hard to tell what kind of impact either freshman will have. Both have been key components to their teams this season. Walker being unable to go would be a tremendous loss for Vandy, as he is a do-it-all type player who really facilitates the Commodore offense.
Though Vanderbilt has a higher SOS, the teams have played fairly similar teams. As you can see, Vanderbilt and Mississippi have similar offensive and defensive efficiencies, though Vanderbilt does appear to be slightly better at both. Each team will be the third best offensive club that the other has faced to date. Vanderbilt will be the 12th best defensive team that Ole Miss has faced, while Ole Miss will be the 13th best defensive team that Vanderbilt has faced.
Among the individual matchups, Vanderbilt holds the edge among tempo-free statistics. Ole Miss relies more on their bench than Vandy does due in large part to Terrico White.
Four Factors: Vanderbilt holds the edge in effective field goal percentage (eFG%) and free throw rate (FTRate). Ole Miss holds the edge in offensive rebound percentage (OReb%) and turnover rate (TO%). Prediction: Not really going out on a limb here: Vandy wins eFG% and FTRate, while Ole Miss wins TO% and OReb%. If that's the way it ends up, Vandy wins a close game. If either team can steal one of these categories from the other, it will play a big part in helping them win the game.
Traditional Statistics -
Ole Miss forward Reggie Buckner is expected to be in uniform for Thursday night's game against No. 18 Vanderbilt at Tad Smith Coliseum, according to coach Andy Kennedy.
Tipoff is scheduled for 18.00 CT and the game will be televised on ESPNU (Comcast ch. 272), though the game may also be available on ESPN Full Court and/or ESPN360.com. 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.
Margin of Victory - Vanderbilt @ Mississippi
This poll is closed
Vanderbilt by 10+
Vanderbilt by <10
Mississippi by <10
Mississippi by 10+