Road vs. home - Vandy visits Ole Miss

Two teams that need wins meet at Tad Smith Coliseum tonight. Ole Miss, ranked 22nd, and 18th-ranked Vanderbilt, the last of the SEC's unbeatens this season, have both lost three games since SEC play began. All on the road.

"We're not a very good basketball team at the moment," said Vandy head coach Kevin Stallings after his team lost 86-64 at Florida Sunday.

"We were embarrassed and it was a really disappointing performance," the Commodores coach continued. "Hopefully we can play more competitively Wednesday."

The Commodores' top two scorers, senior Shan Foster and freshman A.J. Ogilvy, were held to seven and nine points respectively in the loss to the Gators. Foster's seven-point output ended a 23-game double-digit scoring streak, and Ogilvy had his first non-double digit scoring game of his career.

Vanderbilt will venture into hostile territory again tonight in Oxford, where the Rebels have won 9 of 10 SEC games under Andy Kennedy and all of its non-conference games this season and last.

Six of Vandy's first nine league games this season are on the road. They have a stretch later with four straight games at home.

"I'm sure a lot of teams would struggle at Kentucky, Tennessee, and Florida with those teams," said Stallings, whose team lost at UK 79-73 in double overtime and 80-60 at UT prior to the trip to Gainesville. "We certainly drew the short end of the stick on the (road) schedule. They (Ole Miss) have also been an outstanding team at home."

But it isn't quickly over, this road stretch for Vandy. After hosting Auburn on Saturday, the Commodores travel next week to Georgia and South Carolina.

"We've probably played in three of the toughest road environments in our first three league road games," Stallings said. "We haven't scored as well or rebounded as well. Those two things kind of jump off the page at you. There's been some slippage in a lot of areas. Some of our key guys aren't playing with the same aggressiveness and confidence as they were earlier."

Stallings said he tries to do everything within his power to come up with ways to keep his team positive. Winning a game on the road would help. Until then, he says it's tough.

"You have to weather the storm and keep your team up," he said. "It's a pretty interesting proposition the way our schedule is broken down."

Kennedy said playing at home is always more conducive to winning, but the Commodores are a formidable foe for the Rebels tonight.

"It's another huge challenge for our team," said Kennedy, whose Rebs also play at home Saturday, hosting South Carolina at 4 p.m.. "Vanderbilt has certainly had an outstanding year to this point. Both of us were taken to the woodshed a little bit in our last games. I'm anxious to see which team is able to get up off the mat."

Kennedy is hopeful being at home and regrouping for this two-game stretch in Oxford will help his team bounce back after two straight tough road losses – at Auburn and Mississippi State. And he hopes to see improvement along with wins.

"Our guys continue to make some of the same mistakes," he said. "I'm trying to continue to be as patient as possible."


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