SKYNET RETURNS? Festus Ezeli could see a few minutes of action tonight as Vanderbilt travels to face the Davidson Wildcats. I was going to write a longer intro, but I'm too busy generating James Franklin memes. Forgive me.
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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 8 total games, 5 at home, 2 on neutral courts, and 1 on the road against an average KenPom rated opponent of 109.4. Davidson has played 7 total games, four at home and three on the road, against an average rated D-I opponent of 156.2 (they have played one non-D-I opponent). Their only loss came to highly ranked Duke at Cameron. Based on their performances to date, Kenpom rates Vanderbilt to be the second most efficient offensive and defensive team that the Wildcats will have played. Davidson rates as the third most efficient offensive team and the sixth most efficient defensive team. Keep in mind that these KenPom numbers are still highly reliant on preseason projections.
Based on previous opponents, Davidson most closely resembles Oregon. Vanderbilt is closest to Richmond (ugh) on Davidson's schedule, though the Commodores are much better than the Spiders offensively and a tick better defensively, despite missing Festus.
Looking solely at the tempo free statistics, Vanderbilt has a slight edge at the starting positions. Davidson 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, especially considering this number does not account for Davidson's having played Guilford.
Four Factors: Vanderbilt is the better shooting team. Davidson has statistical edges [on paper] in offensive (and defensive) rebounding, turnover percentage, and getting to the free throw line. Prediction: Vanderbilt wins eFG%, FTRate, and OReb%. Davidson wins TO%.
Ken Pomeroy predicts a 75-74 Commodore win in a game with a tempo of 70. He rates Vanderbilt's win percentage at 50%. Will Festus play (a few minutes) tonight? How will that impact the Commodores? I don't really envision the Commodores picking up a third loss in a row.
Tennesseean: Vanderbilt may get help at center from Festus Ezeli tonight
"It's tough. I feel like I'm very good at helping them in the paint, especially on defense and protecting the rim and stuff like that. I feel like I could have helped a lot, especially in the last two minutes of the games - both games in overtime."
Nashville City Paper: Vanderbilt's Ezeli could return Wednesday, then again maybe not
"It is just hard being on the bench and not being able to help because I know I can help a lot," Ezeli said. "It is tough for me. I can't sleep comfortably with losses like that."
Tipoff is scheduled for 1800 CT and the game will be available on 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.