Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Kentucky vs Vanderbilt....A Preview

Kentucky vs Vanderbilt….1/10/13 (Thursday 9PM) TV-ESPN
UK leads series 136-45

Vanderbilt Commodores

Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Enrollment: 6,879
Arena: 14,316

Head Coach: Kevin Stallings
Career Record: 384-222 (63.7%) 19 seasons
At Vanderbilt: 261-159 (62.1%) 13 seasons

2011-12 Record: 25-11
2011-12 SEC Record: 10-6
2011-12 Postseason: 1-1 (Lost in round of 32)

2012-13 Record: 6-6

Vandy 80 Nicholls St. 65
Oregon 74 Vandy 48
Davidson 75 Vandy 62
Marist 50 Vandy 33
Vandy 73 UTEP 49
Villanova 62 Vandy 52
Vandy 66 Xavier 64 (OT)
Vandy 71 Alabama A&M 46
Vandy 66 Cornell 55
Middle Tennessee St. 56 Vandy 52
Butler 68 Vandy 49
Vandy 64 William & Mary 50


3 PT%-35.5%
RPG-31.6 (-2.3)

Probable Starting Lineup

Rod Odom-F 6’9” Jr………………………..9.6 PPG
Shelby Moats-F 6’8” Soph…………………3.5 PPG
Kedren Johnson-G 6’4” Soph………………16.6 PPG
Kyle Fuller-G 6’1” Jr……………………….11.9 PPG
Kevin Bright-F 6’5” Fr……………………...6.6 PPG

The past 3 years Vandy has been to the NCAA with records of 24-9, 23-11 and 25-11 only to lose early in the NCAA tourney. Last season was arguably the Dores best team in ages….it included John Jenkins, Jeffery Taylor, Brad Tinsley, Festus Ezeli, Lance Goulbourne and Steve Tchiengang…a terrific team that defeated UK to win the SEC championship. Unfortunately for coach Stallings that was last season and now all those players are gone.

So like UK, Vandy lost all their starters and have had to replace them with some freshmen and inexperienced returning players. However, unlike UK….Vandy didn’t bring in a #1 recruiting class loaded with superb talent….so the Dores are faced with both lesser talent and inexperience,

This season, thus far, has been a nightmare for Vandy fans with embarrassing losses to Davidson, Marist and Middle Tennessee St…..and in the Marist game the Dores scored only 33 points losing by 17 points. The result has been poor fan attendance with Vandy averaging only 9,554 in a 14,316 arena….5,000 empty seats is very unusual for Vandy!

The stats tell the story….Vandy has trouble scoring averaging only 59.7 points per game. The Dores are only hitting 42% from the field and their FT shooting has been terrible hitting only 59.7%. In fact, no player is hitting more than 66% of his FT’s.

Vandy is led in scoring by Kedren Johnson who also leads the team in assists and steals. Johnson has hit 27-69 from the perimeter for a solid 39.1%….also, Kevin Bright is shooting a red hot 17-33 for 51.5% from long range. As a team, the Dores like to shoot the 3 ball…as they are 89-251 thus far for the season. Hence, they are averaging 21 perimeter shots PG and have made 7.4 PG.

So far it appears that coach Stallings and the Vandy fans are in for a very long and disappointing season.

Although UK was a big favorite over E. Michigan, these young Cats played their best game of the year with terrific defense. Unquestionably, camp Cal with all the extra tough practices along with a number of individual practices has resulted in a far improved UK team. Also, an important key to UK’s improvement is the terrific play of PG Ryan Harrow. Ryan continues to improve both his PG responsibilities and his shooting. Ryan is getting the Cats into their offense and handling the ball with very few TO’s. Importantly, Harrow is now meeting expectations in his shooting as well.

Noel continues to play hard and with great energy and is a huge force on defense in the paint in grabbing rebounds and blocking or altering shots. WCS is improving every game….rebounding and playing solid defense. It was nice to Poythress show improvement in his energy on the floor, but Alex still has a ways to go to even approach his great potential.

The Cats two long range shooters, Wiltjer and Mays, both had good shooting games against E. Michigan….and it was particulary great to see Mays hopefully break out of his slump.

Importantly, UK has another week of intense practices before starting SEC play at Vandy. Despite Vandy struggles this season, winning on the road is seldom easy…. and almost always exceedingly difficult in Nashville where the Dores have always had a great advantage with their very unusual gym. You can bet that despite poor attendance thus far, Vandy fans will pack Memorial Gym in Nashville as they always do when UK comes to town.

I see a 15 point UK win if they continue their great defense and energy on the court. GO CATS!

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