Vanderbilt bounced back from heartbreak to notch a big road win on Saturday. Can they roll that momentum into another conference victory when they travel to Florida?
The Commodores have already notched a 67-61 win over the Gators this winter and a second would mark the first year that they've swept UF since 2010. Vandy held a disjointed Florida team to just 36.8 percent shooting from the field and overcame a slew of turnovers to snap a seven-game losing streak in that contest. Since then, the Gators have yet to record a victory. Will they extract revenge by ending a losing streak of their own Wednesday night?
The Opponent: The University of Florida (12-13, 5-7 SEC)
KenPom Rankings: Florida is 34th. Vanderbilt is 50th.
Key Stat: 10. Florida used a pressure defense to create 10 steals and 18 total turnovers when these two teams last met. Most of the issues came from the Vandy backcourt where Shelton Mitchell, Riley LaChance, and Wade Baldwin IV combined to lose the ball 15 times. Most of these problems came against the Gators' full-court pressure, proving that even when Vanderbilt has a roster filled with ball-handling guards that they still find a way to struggle against the press.
Billy Donovan will dial up that pressure again on Wednesday night. Michael Frazier II was especially devastating against the 'Dores the last time these two teams met thanks to a six steal performance. That led to 57 Gator field goal attempts - 42 percent more shots than Vandy took in that game. The Commodores will have to have another stellar effort on the glass to counteract their protection problems if Florida is this disruptive in Gainesville.
Matchup to Watch: Michael Frazier II vs. Riley LaChance and Matthew Fisher-Davis. Frazier's impact wasn't only felt on the defensive side of the ball when these two teams last met. The junior also scored 21 points on 10 shots to lead all players in that early February meeting. He'll put Vandy's backcourt defense to the test thanks to his combination of three point shooting and a hit-or-miss ability to get into the paint and create contact. That will put pressure on LaChance and Fisher-Davis - stout defender Shelton Mitchell is questionable for the game due to lingering concussion symptoms - to stop the Gators from pulling away thanks to their perimeter scoring.
UPDATE: After being listed as questionable for the Vandy game earlier this week, Michael Frazier II will officially miss the contest due to a high ankle sprain. That's an added bonus for the Commodores.
Starters and Rotation Players:
|G -||Wade Baldwin IV||8||3.7||4.4|
|G -||Riley LaChance||12.5||3.1||2.5|
|F -||Jeff Roberson||4.8||3.5||1.1|
|F -||James Siakam||9||5.7||0.5|
|C -||Damian Jones||15.1||6.7||0.8|
|F -||Luke Kornet||8.6||3.7||0.9|
|G/F -||Matthew Fisher-Davis||6.2||2.1||1.1|
|G -||Shelton Mitchell||4.6||2.3||3.6|
|G -||Kasey Hill||7.2||2.4||4.4|
|G -||Eli Carter||8.8||2||1.7|
|G -||Michael Frazier II||13.2||4.6||1.6|
|F -||Dorian Finney-Smith||12.9||5.8||1.6|
|C -||Jon Horford||6.2||4.6||0.3|
|G -||Chris Chiozza||3.8||1.8||2.1|
|F -||Alex Murphy||4.7||2||0.2|
|F -||Jacob Kurtz||4.2||3.8||1|