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Preview: Vanderbilt Travels to Georgia Tech to Continue Budding SEC/ACC Rivalry

Vanderbilt will face their first real road game of the season when they travel to Georgia Tech on Saturday. Can the Commodores come away with their second straight win over a major conference opponent?

Minutes later, Siakam had eaten 78% of LaChance's left arm.
Minutes later, Siakam had eaten 78% of LaChance's left arm.
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Vanderbilt is 1-2 against major conference competition so far this season. Can they even their record by toppling Georgia Tech on the road Saturday afternoon?

The Commodores have won two games in a row after suffering a narrow loss to Baylor two weeks ago. That includes a win over Purdue that established freshman Riley LaChance as a legitimate scoring threat from both outside and inside the three-point arc. They'll need him to continue his hot streak to give the 'Dores their first legitimate road win of the season.

Vandy and Georgia Tech have recently rekindled the rivalry between big conference nerd schools that are located in culturally relevant Southern cities (tm). Vanderbilt has won three of the five gamed between the two teams in the modern era. That includes last year's 76-63 win at home. However, 50 of the team's points came from since-departed players - Rod Odom, Eric McClellan, Dai-Jon Parker, and Kyle Fuller. Saturday's game in Atlanta will look significantly different than that 2013 affair.

Here's what you should look for when Vandy faces off with the Yellow Jackets.

KenPom Rankings: Georgia Tech is 93rd. Vanderbilt is 67th.

Key Stat26.0. That's Riley LaChance's scoring average in his past two games. One was against a legitimate opponent (8-3 Purdue), and the other against a not-so-legitimate foe (3-7 Western Carolina). LaChance's breakout has been the product of teams keying in on Damian Jones in the paint. Their reliance on double teams near the rim has given the freshman some extra space with which to operate, and he's made them pay as a result. He's shooting 66.7% (8-12) from three-point range in that span, but he's also shown off the ability to put the ball on the floor and score in the paint as well. Will Georgia Tech make a similar mistake and challenge LaChance to beat them from outside? Or will they focus on Vanderbilt's suddenly-hot newcomer?

Matchup to Watch: Marcus Georges-Hunt vs. Vanderbilt's wing defense. Georges-Hunt is Tech's leading scorer and the team's strongest draft prospect. He also plays a position that has given the Vandy defense fits lately as a scorer on the wing. In their last game, they allowed Western Carolina leading scorer Rhett Harrelson to do his best Rotnei Clarke impression en route to 22 points on just nine shots.

Georges-Hunt won't be able to keep Vandy honest from behind the line like Harrelson did on Tuesday. He's making less than 20 percent of his three-point attempts so far this season - though he's a better shooter than that indicates. However, his ability to get into the paint could cause problems for an inexperienced Commodore backcourt.

Starters and Rotation Players:

Pos. Player PPG RPG APG
G - Wade Baldwin IV 8.1 4.2 5.2
G - Riley LaChance 13.6 2.4 2.7
F - Jeff Roberson 3.8 3.9 1.3
F - Luke Kornet 10.7 4.4 0.8
C - Damian Jones 17.2 7.2 1.0
Key Reserves
G - Shelton Mitchell 4.7 2.3 4.4
G/F - Matthew Fisher-Davis 6.0 2.0 1.1
F - James Siakam 9.8 5.4 0.4
Georgia Tech
Pos. Player PPG RPG APG
G - Travis Jorgenson 2.5 1.6 2.3
F - Quinton Stephens 8.2 4.3 0.6
F - Marcus Georges-Hunt 11.4 4.8 1.6
F - Charles Mitchell 9.6 7.2 0.6
C - Demarco Cox 10.3 6.4 0.4
Key Reserves
F - Robert Sampson 5.7 6.4 0.8
G - Josh Heath 6.0 1.6 4.3
G - Tadric Jackson 7.0 1.7 0.7