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Preview: Lipscomb at Vanderbilt

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Lipscomb hasn't beaten a major-conference opponent since 2008. Can they find a way to upset the young and rebuilding Commodores on Thursday?

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt kicked off their 2014-15 season with a resounding win on Sunday - but it came against an overmatched Division II opponent. Now, they'll face a stiffer test when Lipscomb makes the trek across Nashville to challenge the 'Dores at Memorial Gym. The Bisons are coming off a 15-15 season, but they've already suffered one humiliating defeat to an in-town rival when Belmont rolled them by 25 points on Monday.

Lipscomb will put up more of a challenge than Trevecca Nazarene did, but Vanderbilt is still a heavy enough favorite to keep oddsmakers from even setting a line on this one. The Bisons haven't beaten a major conference opponent since 2008 (a six-win Indiana team) and ate an 11-point loss when they met the Commodores last season. As such, they're a suitable early-season opponent for a Vandy team that is breaking five true freshmen into their rotation.

Those newcomers had an up-and-down opener against Trevecca on Sunday. Riley LaChance showed off his shooting range in the second half, but he started that game on a 1-5 clip that included several open misses. Matthew Fisher-Davis took seven three-pointers and missed all but one. Shelton Mitchell also made just one field goal on the afternoon.

Now, those Commodores will have the chance to show that Sunday's mistakes were just the result of big-stage jitters.

Key Stat: 27.3%. That's the low figure that Vanderbilt - a team that specializes in three-point shooting - connected on from long range against Trevecca in their season opener. Luke Kornet missed both his three-point attempts. Matthew Fisher-Davis made just one of his seven tries. The Commodores can beat their early season opponents despite lines like that, but they'll struggle to do the same against SEC foes if their long-range shooting doesn't improve.

Matchup to Watch: Damian Jones vs. Chad Lang. Chad Lang is a large man. At 6'11" and 310 pounds, he's difficult to move from the block. Unfortunately for him, his gravity-bound body is no asset when it comes to defending the NCAA's more athletic centers. That's where Jones comes in. The sophomore scored 24 points against Trevecca Nazarene but could have sprung for 40 if he'd wanted to embarrass his overmatched opponent. The All-SEC big man showed off an explosive post game that will power the Vandy offense this winter.

It only took Lang six minutes to foul out against Division II Berry in Lipscomb's season opener. Things will be much more difficult for him against Vanderbilt.

Starters and Rotation Players:

Vanderbilt
Pos. Player PPG RPG APG
G - Shelton Mitchell 6.0 3.0 4.0
G - Riley LaChance 13.0 2.0 2.0
F - Jeff Roberson 8.0 6.0 0.0
F - Luke Kornet 10.0 10.0 0.0
C - Damien Jones 24.0 12.0 2.0
Key Reserves
G - Wade Baldwin IV 9.0 3.0 3.0
G/F - Matthew Fisher-Davis 5.0 2.0 3.0
C - Josh Henderson 2.0 5.0 0.0
Lipscomb
Pos. Player PPG RPG APG
G - J.C. Hampton 4.5 2.5 1.5
G - Josh Williams 22.5 4.0 1.0
F - Martin Smith 13.0 5.5 2.5
F - Brett Wishon 10.0 4.0 1.5
C - Chad Lang 2.0 2.0 2.0
Key Reserves
G - Talbott Denny 4.0 8.0 2.0
G - Nathan Moran 9.0 3.5 2.5
C - George Brammeier 2.0 3.5 0.0