Scouting Report: Davidson

The Davidson Wildcats (7-5) venture into the hostile confines of Memorial Gymnasium for a Sunday (4 p.m. CT/ No TV) matchup with the 10-2 Vanderbilt Commodores. Just two players remain from the 2007-08 Davidson squad that advanced to the Elite 8 before falling by two points to the eventual nation champion, Kansas. The current Wildcat squad is young but talented. Look inside to find out more.

Vanderbilt was able to win its tenth game of the season with a harrowing 77-76 win over Marquette on Wednesday. The Commodores were able to pick up the victory despite a dismal shooting night by guard John Jenkins who connected on just 2-of-13 attempts from beyond the arc. Andre Walker made an excellent move in the final seconds to score a winning layup for the Commodores. It was Walker's first game back after missing four games with mononucleosis. Vanderbilt should have Lance Goulbourne back against Davidson. The NCAA had Goulbourne sit out two games because he gave a student manager money to pay for his parking pass. It will be interesting to see how the Commodores do with the full cast of players available.

The Commodores have already picked up quality wins this season over Nebraska, North Carolina and Marquette. While a win over Davidson will not qualify as a quality win as much as the aforementioned three have, beating the Wildcats would be more creditable with the NCAA selection committee than earlier wins over Presbyterian, Grambling State, MTSU, Southeastern Louisiana and Appalachian State. Davidson has a respectable basketball history. The Wildcats have been to 10 NCAA tournaments, one less than Vanderbilt. Davidson has an all-time record of 8-11 in the Big Dance while the Commodores sport a 9-12 record.

DAVIDSON AT-A-GLANCE

Bob McKillop (390-253) is in his 22nd season at Davidson and is one of the more respected coaches in college basketball. Vanderbilt and Davidson could have played each other earlier in the season when they were both participants in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Despite not facing each other the two teams had a pair of common opponents in San Juan. Davidson lost to West Virginia 84-70 while Vanderbilt was also defeated by the Mountaineers, 74-71. The Wildcats beat Nebraska 70-67 while Vandy handled the Huskers, 59-49. The two teams have one other common opponent in Western Kentucky. Davidson beat the Hilltoppers 64-51 in San Juan while Vanderbilt defeated WKU 82-62 in Nashville on Dec. 1. In Davidson's most recent action they dominated NCAA Division III St. Joseph's of Maine, 108-39. When the Commodores face the Wildcats they'll be playing a very young team. Four of five starters are freshmen or sophomores. Several of the top Davidson reserves are freshmen as well.

STARTING LINEUP

Forward - Jake Cohen - Sophomore, 6-10, 220; 2010-11: 14.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg Plays hard and runs the floor well and can hit the three. Cohen led Davidson with 16 in its recent 108-39 victory over St. Joseph (Maine). As a freshman Cohen was name to the Southern Conference All-Freshmen team. Heavily recruited out of high school, Cohen was offered by the likes of Northwestern, Penn State and Nebraska in addition to Davidson.

Forward - Clint Mann - Sophomore, 6-7, 225; 2010-11: 8.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg Mann transferred from Iowa State after his freshman season. Recently he had a career high 15 points in a win over St. Francis.

Guard - JP Kuhlman - Sophomore, 6-4, 190; 2010-11: 12.6 ppg, 3.1 apg Last year Kuhlman was named Southern Conference Freshman of the Year by the league's head coaches. He's hitting 41 percent from 3-point range.

Guard - Brendan McKillop - Senior, 6-1, 173; 2010-11: 11.3 ppg, 1.1 apg Mckillop, who is the son of the head coach, is the only remaining player on the roster that played during the 2008 NCAA run. Suffering an ankle injury, McKillop sat out the recent blowout win over St. Joseph's of Maine (Nik Cochran filled in for him). His status for Vanderbilt is uncertain. In mid-December McKillop was named the Southern Conference Player of the Week. He tied his career high with seven made 3-pointers in the win, going 7-of-12 from the floor with all of his shots coming from 3-point range.

Guard - Tom Droney - Freshman, 6-6, 194; 2010-11: 4.3 ppg, 2.3 apg 3.2 rpg Droney is a big guard who can shoot and handle the ball well. He chose Davidson over offers from Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Davidson, Virginia, West Virginia and Penn State.

BENCH

Freshman 6-foot-7 forward De'Mon Brooks has played in all but two games and averages 8 points per contest. Guard Jordan Downing, another freshman, is averaging over 12 minutes per contest and has made 8-of-20 from 3-point range. Guard Tom Droney is yet another freshman who averages 4 points a game. He's playing about 25 minutes a game and at 6-6 gives the team some rebounding help. Guard, Nik Cochran, who recently filled in for the veteran McKillop, averages about 12 minutes a game and less than 2 point per game. Senior forward Ben Allison (2 ppg) is the only other player remaining on the roster from that impressive 2008 team; he was redshirted that year. Allison sees limited action and averages 2 points a game.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Get physical. Vanderbilt has one of the more physical teams in college basketball and will need to use its power to overwhelm the younger, less athletic Wildcats. Remember the days when Vanderbilt had less athletic teams like Davidson? Remember that the Commodores used to pull out wins over more athletic teams. Vanderbilt cannot play finesse, lazy ball with the Wildcats or it could be a long game.

Shut down McKillop. Mckillop is the leader and glue that holds this young team together. He's a deadly 3-point shooter that can quickly turn the game sour for the Commodores. Look for Kevin Stallings to use Jeffery Taylor to guard McKillop and keep him under wraps.

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