Unless Florida loses two of its three games between now and their trip to Memorial for Senior Day in Memorial Gym (and the end of the SEC regular season), I stand by my earlier proclamation that Tennessee's trip to Nashville is the biggest home game on Vandy's basketball schedule this season. Between the in-state hate, the juxtaposition in what most Commodore fans would consider "ethical differences" in the way each school's athletics departments are run, and general disdain between the coaches, not to mention the whole "Bruce Pearl situation" that has been told and retold more than any other collegiate scandal I can remember, the crowd's hostility at Memorial is probably going to reach an intensity not seen since Matt Walsh, Joakim Noah, or Renaldo Balkman. Don't be surprised if it easily surpasses those recent benchmarks. Hopefully it doesn't go full blown Dwayne Schintzius.
As a reminder, Vanderbilt went up by 17 late in the first half against Tennessee in their matchup earlier this season, only to see the double-digit lead it held largely throughout melt away at the end of the game, leading to a 3 point Tennessee come-from-behind victory. Ugh.
Since then, Vanderbilt has won eight of its last ten. Tennessee? Only 5.
According to Kenpom, Vanderbilt will be the third best offensive and thirteenth best defensive team the Vols will have played. Tennessee will be the tenth best offensive and eleventh best defensive team the Commodores will have played.
Based solely on the tempo free statistics in the chart above, Vanderbilt has a large advantage at the individual starting positions as well as at the bench. Keep in mind that these individual statistics are not adjusted for the quality of the opposition, though that factor is probably negligible based on the relative proximity of each team's SOS.
Four Factors: Vanderbilt holds large edges at FTRate and eFG%, as well as a slim edge in TO%. Tennessee has a large edge in OReb%. Prediction: Vanderbilt wins FTRate, eFG%, and TO%. Tennessee wins OReb%.
Traditional Statistics -
Rocky Top Talk is the SB Nation affiliate for the Tennessee Volunteers. I'll add their game preview later tomorrow when it's posted [added, obviously]. Until then, check out their answers to the SEC Hoops Power Poll Roundtable.
Tipoff is scheduled for 2000 CT and the game will be televised by ESPN (Comcast ch. 11 or 202 HD), though the game will also be available on ESPN3.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.
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