How in the world is this game not being televised? How silly is it that the television networks don't extend the same kind of game selection process that they use for college football to college basketball? It is inexplicable to me that a matchup of this quality would slip through the cracks. Confounding.
The St. Mary's Gaels, freshly ranked and boasting one of the most efficient offenses in the country (they rank 1st overall in eFG%), come to Nashville looking for revenge. Last season, Vanderbilt escaped Moraga with a hard-fought 2 point victory as a warm up for the Maui Invitational. The Gaels are catching the Commodores ripe for an upset, considering the post injuries Vanderbilt is currently nursing. No doubt they are looking for another marquee victory to add to their somewhat spartan NCAA resume. This game will certain factor into NCAA Tournament seeding for both teams down the road.
St. Mary's boasts a strong 17-2 record to date, though only 1 of those 17 victories has come against a team ranked in the top 100 by Kenpom (53rd St. John's - SMC won 76-71 at home). The Gaels lost their other two top 100 kenpom games, to BYU and San Diego St., ranked 10th and 14th respectively. Those games did come back to back, with BYU winning on a neutral court 74-73 and San Diego St. winning on their home court 69-55.
Based on their performances to date, Vanderbilt will be the third best offensive and the best defensive team that St. Mary's will have played. St. Mary's will be the best offensive team and the seventh best defensive team that Vanderbilt will have played.
Of the teams St. Mary's has played, Vanderbilt most closely resembles San Diego St, with San Diego St. being a better offensive team but Vanderbilt being the better defensive team. Of the teams Vanderbilt has played, St. Mary's most closely resembles West Virginia, with St. Mary's being the better both offensively and defensively.
St. Mary's boasts a much stronger tempo-free statistics profile than Vanderbilt, with clear leads at four of the five starting positions. St. Mary's also appears to have the much stronger bench (and considering Vandy's current injury troubles, this isn't at all surprising). If there's any consolation to Vandy fans, it's that these numbers are unadjusted for competition, and the Gaels have clearly played a much weaker schedule compared to the Commodores.
Four Factors: St. Mary's holds solid edges in TO% and eFG%, and a slim edge in OReb%. Vanderbilt holds a solid edge in FTRate. Prediction: I think Vanderbilt will win FTRate and OReb%. I think St. Mary's will win TO%. I think eFG% is a toss up that I hope Vandy will win.
Traditional Statistics -
|Kenton Walker II||17||15.8||2.8||5.4||52.7||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.9||1.6||57.1||1.2||2.7||3.9||0.2||0.7||0.5||1.2||2.5||6.6|
Tipoff is scheduled for 1300 CT and the game will be available via All-Access. 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.