December 21, 2019
Vanderbilt’s nonconference schedule this year was designed to build confidence and pad the record with a few wins, but the last such game is on tap tonight as the Commodores host the UNC Wilmington Seahawks.
Wilmington made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2016 and 2017; then, Kevin Keatts left for NC State. Since Keatts left, the Seahawks have a 26-51 record under current coach C.B. McGrath. This year, their record is 5-7, with three of the five wins coming against non-Division I outfits, and you’ll be damned if I don’t acknowledge that one of their wins is over an ODAC team (the Emory & Henry Wasps, by a score of 122-66.) They’ve lost four games in a row entering this contest.
Wilmington’s leading scorer is 6’6”, 190-pound sophomore Jaylen Sims, who’s averaging 14.4 ppg on the season after averaging 5.7 ppg a year ago. 6’8”, 240-pound Valpo transfer Marten Linssen is the only other Seahawk averaging in double figures at 10.4 ppg.
Vanderbilt has lost two in a row, and importantly, this is the last game the Commodores will play this season against a team that’s ranked outside the KenPom Top 200 — and, actually, after tonight, Vanderbilt only has three more games against teams outside the Top 100 (a home game against Texas A&M, and two games against South Carolina.)