The Vanderbilt Commodores travel to Tuscaloosa to face the Alabama Crimson Tide in a game that could go a long way towards helping determine who might be the greatest challenger to Kentucky for the SEC title. The Crimson Tide is one of the premier defensive teams in the country. Vanderbilt boasts one of the country's most efficient offenses.
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Click through the jump for a breakdown of each team's opponents thus far and a closer look at their respective personnel.
To date, Vanderbilt has played 17 total games, 11 at home, 2 on neutral courts, and 4 on the road against an average KenPom rated opponent of 135.9. Alabama has played 17 total games, 9 at home (1 being "semi-home"), 3 on neutral courts, and 3 on the road (1 being "semi-away"), against an average rated D-I opponent of 115.2. Based on their performances to date, Kenpom rates Vanderbilt to be the seventh most efficient offensive and defensive team that the Crimson Tide will have played. Alabama rates as the fifth most efficient offensive team and the most efficient defensive team that the Commodores will have played. Keep in mind that these numbers do not account for players that have missed games.
Based on previous opponents offensive and defensive efficiencies, Alabama most closely resembles Louisville or Marquette, though Bama is clearly superior to both defensively. Vanderbilt most closely resembles Purdue, Georgetown, Kansas State or VCU. Historically, probably closest to VCU, though I think Vandy is probably more similar to Georgetown with Festus getting closer to 100% (though I also think the Dores could end up improving even further with a little more time).
Looking solely at the tempo free statistics, Vanderbilt has a nice edge at the starting positions. Alabama has a strong bench advantage. Keep in mind that the individual statistics are not adjusted for the strength of the opponents and the location of games.
Four Factors: Turnover percentage and offensive rebounding look fair neutral between these teams, and I could see either team winning either category. Vanderbilt has a significant advantage in free throw rate. I would imagine that Stallings game plan will include a heavy dose of attacking the rim to exploit this. The interesting statistic will be effective field goal percentage. Alabama's defense is the immovable object, and Vanderbilt's offense is the unstoppable force. If the officials are aggressive with their whistles, I think that will be a huge boost for the Commodores. If they let them play, I would imagine Alabama will frustrate the Commodores shooters. Prediction: Vanderbilt wins eFG% and FTRate.
Ken Pomeroy predicts a 65-57 Alabama win in a game with a tempo of 63. He rates Vanderbilt's win percentage at 22%.
Traditional Statistics -- Alabama Crimson Tide
|Charles Hankerson Jr||15||10.6||1.1||2.9||37.2||0.4||1.3||31.6||0.6||1.0||60.0||0.3||1.1||1.4||0.7||0.5||0.6||0.1||1.4||3.1|
Tipoff is scheduled for 1800 CT and the game will be available on ESPN2 (as well as ESPN3). 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.