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Preview: Vanderbilt Travels to Saint Louis With Win #9 in Sight

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Vanderbilt can build on a solid out-of-conference resume by notching a road win in Saint Louis on Wednesday. Will an up-and-down Billiken team be able to derail the Commodores?

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When Vanderbilt and Saint Louis agreed to play in 2014, it looked like an opportunity for the Commodores to earn a road win over a quality team. However, the Billikens' auspicious start will now have Kevin Stallings trying to avoid a bad loss in Missouri.

Saint Louis's 8-4 record looks good at first glance, but the cupcake-soft schedule that is propping it up tells the story of a rebuilding program. SLU has lost games to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, South Dakota State, and Mississippi State (by 25!) to kick off a disappointing season. A defeat on Wednesday would mar Vandy's postseason resume with a black mark that the selection committee won't be able to overlook.

The Commodores will look for big contributions from their young players as they seek out their first true road win of the season. Here's what you should look for when Vandy faces off with the Billikens.

KenPom Rankings: Saint Louis is 222nd. Vanderbilt is 60th.

Key Stat: Zero. That's the number of top 150 teams that Saint Louis has defeated in their eight wins of 2014. The average RPI of the teams they've beaten this winter is 289 - and that doesn't include something called Rockhurst, who SLU beat back on December 2nd. Their best win was a 58-55 home victory over Vermont in their last game. A victory over Vandy would be the biggest line on their resume by a wide margin.

Matchup to Watch: Saint Louis vs. the Offensive Glass. Vanderbilt couldn't hold off Georgia Tech two weeks ago thanks to their inability to control defensive rebounds. The Yellow Jackets earned 22 extra shots in that win thanks to a 20 offensive boards. That's especially disappointing given Vandy's bulk up front.

The Commodores shouldn't have a similar problem against the Billikens. Saint Louis is one of the worst rebounding teams in the country. Their leading rebounder stands 6'4", and their 30.4 boards per game slates them at 323rd in the nation. Damian Jones and Luke Kornet won't just have ample opportunities to stop SLU's second chances before they begin, they'll be able to create some of their own on the offensive end.

Starters and Rotation Players:

Vanderbilt
Pos. Player PPG RPG APG
G - Wade Baldwin IV 8.4 3.7 4.8
G - Riley LaChance 12.5 2.2 2.6
F - Jeff Roberson 4.5 3.6 1.3
F - Luke Kornet 9.3 4.1 0.7
C - Damian Jones 16.5 7.1 0.8
Key Reserves
G - Shelton Mitchell 4.5 3.0 4.8
G/F - Matthew Fisher-Davis 5.6 2.0 1.1
F - James Siakam 10.4 5.3 0.4
Saint Louis
Pos. Player PPG RPG APG
G - Austin McBroom 10.9 1.7 1.8
G - Achraf Yacoubou 9.3 4.8 1.2
G - Davell Roby 3.1 2.6 2.2
F - Milik Yarbrough 8.0 4.7 1.6
C - John Manning 3.3 2.7 0.6
Key Reserves
G - Marcus Bartley 3.4 1.6 1.8
G - Mike Crawford 6.3 1.0 0.8
C - Austin Gillmann 4.6 1.8 1.0