VAUGHT: Foster likes playing against 'Cats

Vanderbilt senior guard/forward Shan Foster wishes he knew exactly why he has seemed to play so well against Kentucky the last two years when the Commodores have managed to beat the Cats four straight times, something that once would have seemed impossible for fans of either team to believe could happen.

However, he won't deny that he does get a little extra motivated to play against Kentucky.

"Kentucky is a team that you grow up watching. When you think of college basketball, you think of Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina as the top teams. When you get ready to play those games, it kind of reminds you of why you want to be there and gives you an edge on the court to know you have a chance to do something special," Foster said. "Games against Kentucky definitely are special games. You want to play against top teams and top scorers and big-time marquee coaches. It brings out the best in me."

He's also developed a friendly rivalry with UK seniors Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford.

"They are definitely great guys on and off the court. I always look at it as a challenge to go up against great players like them, especially with the talent they have around them at Kentucky each year. I just try to play to my best and I know they will, too," he said.

But why has Vanderbilt suddenly been able to beat the Cats, something Vanderbilt always had trouble doing in the past?

"It is just the way the ball has been falling against Kentucky. We have had pretty good success against them. They always play hard and play tough. They have a lot of great players on that team. We know we are in for a battle again this year, but we now think we can win," Foster said.

However, he does admit this game will be a little different without Tubby Smith on the Kentucky bench.

"I wonder a little bit about how different it will be, but by the same token they still kind of have the same nucleus of guys they have had before, so we kind of know what to expect from that. We do respect them and we expect coach Gillispie to bring his own flavor to the game. But I will kind of miss Tubby. He was someone I really liked competing against," Foster said.

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