The Vanderbilt Commodores square off against the LSU Tigers in Memorial Gym Wednesday night. This might have been considered a classic trap game -- Kentucky coming to town this coming weekend, ESPN bringing the College Game Day crew to Nashville as a part of the festivities -- if it weren't for the fact that the Commodores have lost two straight. Coach Stallings also let it be known that Festus Ezeli, Skynet incarnate, re-aggravated one of this knees (left?) and has been missing practices since before the Arkansas game, which has an obvious impact on team cohesion (and might account for some of the slippage the team experienced last week).
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 23 total games, 14 at home, 2 on neutral courts, and 7 on the road against an average KenPom rated opponent of 110.3. Louisiana State has played 22 total games, 11 at home, 3 on neutral courts, and 8 on the road, against an average rated D-I opponent of 134.5. Based on their performances to date, Kenpom rates Vanderbilt to be the fifth most efficient offensive and seventh most efficient defensive team that the Tigers will have played. LSU rates as the twentieth most efficient offensive team and the fourth 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, Louisiana State most closely resembles Tennessee. Vanderbilt most closely resembles Marquette. Neither of those are perfect matches.
Looking solely at the tempo free statistics, Vanderbilt has a strong edge at the starting positions. LSU 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.
If I'm Stallings, I might look to rest Festus against LSU if I think he has a chance to get over the hump, pain-wise, which might let him get a few practices in before Saturday's looming matchup with Kentucky. Vanderbilt absolutely needs a healthy Festus Ezeli to be the team that was picked seventh in the preseason. Here's what we're missing:
Four Factors: LSU has a strong edge in the turnovers. Vanderbilt has strong edges in getting to the foul line and is the better shooting team. Neither team has a significant edge in offensive rebounding. Prediction: If Festus plays, I think Vandy wins OReb%, FTRate, and eFG%. If Festus doesn't play, I think LSU takes TO% and OReb%.
Ken Pomeroy predicts a 69-60 Vanderbilt win in a game with a tempo of 66. He rates Vanderbilt's win percentage at 80%.
Traditional Statistics -- LSU Tigers
|Johnny O`Bryant III||17||20.1||3.2||8.1||39.1||0.1||0.7||16.7||1.6||2.5||64.3||2.9||3.6||6.5||0.3||2.3||0.4||0.8||1.8||8.1|
|Andrew Del Piero||4||3.0||0.3||1.5||16.7||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.3||1.0||25.0||0.5||0.0||0.5||0.0||0.5||0.0||0.3||0.3||0.8|
Tipoff is scheduled for 2000 CT and the game will be available on CSS (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.