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Preview: Kevin Stallings Leads Vanderbilt Against His Alma Mater - Purdue - in Nashville

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Kevin Stallings takes on his alma mater when Purdue and Vanderbilt face off for the first time since the Vietnam War. Can All-SEC center Damian Jones outplay a Boilermaker team that will have a size advantage on Saturday night?

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Kevin Stallings will face a familiar opponent on Saturday, even if Vanderbilt hasn't played Purdue since 1966.

That's because Stallings is a Boilermaker himself. He played for the program from 1980 to 1982 and roamed the sidelines in West Lafayette as an assistant coach from his graduation day until 1988. He'll face his alma mater for the first time since his days as Illinois State's head coach when Purdue makes the trip to Nashville this weekend.

The Boilermakers have been a bit of a mystery this fall. They've got solid wins over major conference opponents like Missouri (by 21 points!), BYU, and North Carolina State. They also have a three-point loss to a North Florida team that has recorded 1/3rd of their victories over non-Division I opponents. As such, it's tough to get a good read on just how tough this Big Ten opponent will be against the 'Dores.

Vanderbilt may have difficulty matching up with Purdue's size on Saturday. The visitors have four players who are currently averaging double-digit scoring this season. All four are at least 6'6", including centers Isaac Haas (7'2") and A.J. Hammons (7'0"). That means that Vandy reserves Josh Henderson, James Siakam, and Shelby Moats could be in for a boost in playing time if Matt Painter leans hard on his big lineup. Let's take a closer look at Saturday's matchup.

KenPom Rankings: Purdue is 42nd. Vanderbilt is 81st.

Key Stat: 0. That's how many true road games the Boilermakers have played so far. Vanderbilt will have the home court advantage, but Saturday's game is coming at the tail end of final exams - a period so serious that the 'Dores gave the team nine days off to study. Will Memorial Gym be loud enough to rattle a Purdue team that has yet to be tested on the road? Or will everyone be too busy burning the excess stress of finals by drinking until they can't feel feelings?

Matchup to Watch: Isaac Haas vs. Damian Jones. Jones sees his name come up in these key matchups often, but that's because the Commodores have seen a slew of quality big men in 2014. That includes Haas, who is averaging 11.4 points per game while making over 65 percent of his shots. He'll have a tough time replicating that against Jones, who was most recently seen holding Baylor big man Rico Gathers to just four points in 31 minutes. Haas is 7'2" and nearly 300 pounds, so he'll have a distinct size advantage against the 6'10", 248 pound Vandy center. Can Jones use his athleticism and skill to shut down the Boilermakers' effective freshman?

Starters and Rotation Players:

Vanderbilt
Pos. Player PPG RPG APG
G - Shelton Mitchell 4.1 2.4 4.1
G - Riley LaChance 10.0 2.4 2.7
F - Jeff Roberson 3.6 4.1 1.6
F - Luke Kornet 12.4 4.9 0.4
C - Damian Jones 17.7 7.9 1.1
Key Reserves
G - Wade Baldwin IV 8.9 4.7 5.6
G/F - Matthew Fisher-Davis 5.0 1.8 1.3
F - James Siakam 7.7 5.2 0.3
Purdue
Pos. Player PPG RPG APG
G - Jon Octeus 6.9 4.5 2.8
G - Rapheal Davis 8.8 2.3 2.5
G - Dakota Mathias 5.3 2.1 1.4
F - Vince Edwards 10.9 6.5 2.3
C - Isaac Haas 11.4 5.4 0.5
Key Reserves
G - Kendall Stephens 12.4 2.6 1.8
C - A.J. Hammons 10.1 5.5 1.1
F - Basil Smotherman 1.8 2.0 1.3