If you didn't know that this game could decide who ends up as the East's second seed, you haven't been paying attention. Vanderbilt travels to Lexington, KY to take on the Kentucky Wildcats in Rupp Arena. It also happens to be Senior Night. Normally this would be cause for concern. Thankfully, I don't really see Josh Harrellson, "Jorts" as they call him, exploding for 42 points tonight including draining his final 9 consecutive three pointers. Still the greatest individual performance I have ever witnessed. (It's a shame that the ESPN/SEC TV deal wasn't in effect until the following season)
A win by Vanderbilt tonight clinches the East's 2 Seed (and the precious bye) for the Commodores. A loss and things get a lot more difficult (we would need to beat Florida and either Kentucky and Georgia to both win or simply Kentucky to lose in Knoxville). Tonight is the last opportunity where Vanderbilt is in full control of its destiny.
Sometimes senior nights can have adverse effects on the home team. Hopefully that is the case tonight. Can the Commodores spoil "Jorts Day?"
According to Kenpom, Vanderbilt will be the third best offensive and eleventh best defensive team that the Wildcats will have played. Kentucky will be the best offensive and sixth best defensive team that the Commodores will have played.
Based purely on the tempo-free statistics in the table above, Kentucky holds a slim edge over the Commodores at the starting positions. Vanderbilt makes up for it with a clear edge at the bench. These teams are very evenly matched, though the Commodores have a depth advantage.
Four Factors: Vanderbilt has a clear advantage in FTRate and slim edge in eFG%. Kentucky has a clear advantage in TO% and a slim edge in OReb%. Prediction: If the Commodores win tonight, they will probably beat Kentucky at OReb%, FTRate, and eFG%. Kentucky will most likely control TO%. If Kentucky wins any of those three, it will be very difficult for the Commodores to win tonight.
Traditional Statistics -
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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