LSU has been up and down this season. The Tigers opened with three straight wins but have since gone just 4-5. LSU's best win was a home victory over an Oral Roberts team ranked 77th in the NCAA RPI. Most recently the Tigers fell to Wake Forest 77-71 at Maravich Center.
Looking at the Tigers statistics, 6-foot-10 forward Ben Simmons is the team's top scorer. Simmons, a freshman, was considered the top recruiting prospect nationally in his class and is likely a future first-round NBA draft pick. He is leading the Tigers in both rebounding and scoring. Six-foot-4 guard Keith Hornsby, 6-foot-9 forward Craig Victor II, 6-foot-6 guard Tim Quarterman, and 6-foot-4 guard Antonio Blakeney are the other Tiger double-digit scorers. Both Hornsby and Victor II missed many of the Tiger's games earlier in the season. Hornsby, for medical reasons, and Victor II, because he had transferred from Arizona.
Hornsby is the biggest three-point shooting threat, making 10 in just five games. Quarterman, Blakeney, and 6-foot-5 guard Brandon Sampson are also threats from beyond the arc. Simmons and Victor II are the Tigers' top shooters from the field.
On the boards, Simmons leads the Tigers in rebounding. The freshman star also leads in assists while Quarterman is a capable assist man.
Looking at the Vandy-LSU stats comparison, the Tigers have a slight edge in points scored while Vandy has a clear advantage in points allowed. The Commodores are also the better 3-point shooting team and have a much stronger RPI. LSU has a big edge in steals.
This appears to be a game Vanderbilt should win fairly easily but with a superstar like Simmons playing for the Tigers coupled with some really tall and athletic teammates, the Commodores must take LSU seriously.
Saturday's game tips off at 8 pm central time and can be seen on ESPN2.
For VandyMania.com and Scout, this is Don Yates.
Additional notes from Vanderbilt media relations:
Game 13/RV/RV Vanderbilt (8-4) vs. LSU (7-5)
Nashville, Tenn. - Memorial Gym - 8 p.m. CT
TV Talent: Mark Jones (pxp), Kara Lawson (analyst)
Radio: Vanderbilt Radio Network from IMG College, vucommodores.com
Radio Talent: Joe Fisher (pxp), Tim Thompson (analyst)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 108, XM 190
Live Stats: vucommodores.com
Twitter Updates: @VandyMBB
Series Record: Vanderbilt leads, 60-52.
Last Meeting: LSU win, 79-75, in overtime on 1/24/15 in Nashville.
Record at Vanderbilt: VU leads, 34-15.
Record at LSU: LSU leads, 30-21.
Record at Neutral Site: LSU leads, 7-5.
Coach Stallings vs. LSU: Coach Stallings is 11-10 against LSU.
- Jones surpassed the 1,000-point mark in his career on Wednesday against the Broncos, becoming the 44th player in Vanderbilt history to break the 1,000-point barrier. He now has 1,006 points. Jones’ 13-point game was his 9th game of the season in double figures and the 57th of his career.
- Jones also now has 136 career blocks, which puts him fourth on the all-time Vanderbilt blocks list, and his 1.74 blocks per game average are the best by a Commodore who has played in 50 or more games.
- Baldwin’s double-double was the second of his career, and the first when registering a double-double in points and assists. He scored 20 points and 10 rebounds in a 2nd round NIT win over South Dakota State last season.
- Roberson’s double-double was his second of his career and second of the season. He posted an 11-point, 13-rebound effort against St. John’s in Maui on Nov. 23.
- The Commodores shot 51.8% from the floor while limiting Western Michigan to 37.0%. Vanderbilt is now 7-1 when outshooting an opponent, and Wednesday’s game was the fifth time this year the Commodores have shot 50% or better from the field.
- The Commodores held Western Michigan to only 11.1% from beyond the arc. In Vanderbilt’s last two games, opponents are a combined 4-for-37 from three (10.8%).
- Vanderbilt leads the all-time series with LSU, 60-52, and 34-15 in games played in Nashville, but the Tigers have won four consecutive games in the series. The Commodores’ last win came on February 8, 2012, in a 76-61 win at Memorial Gym. This will be the third consecutive meeting between the two schools that will take place in Nashville. LSU head coach Johnny Jones is 4-0 all-time against the Commodores.
- Two Commodores are averaging double figures on the season, with Baldwin leading the way with 14.7 ppg. Jones is also averaging 12.6 points per game.
- Seven of the team’s eight wins have come by 20 points or more - VU leads the SEC in scoring margin (+17.8).
- Ten players have scored in double figures in a game this season - Baldwin, Luke Kornet, Jones, Roberson, LaChance, Matthew Fisher-Davis, Cressler, Camron Justice, Josh Henderson, and Joe Toye.
- Fisher-Davis leads the SEC in 3-Point Field Goal Percentage (.481) and has made 17 three’s in his last six games.
- The Commodores have held opponents to only 61.8 points per game, 35.8% from the floor, and 27.1% from three, which all lead the SEC. VU’s FG% defense ranks third in the nation, and its 3FG% defense ranks eighth in the country. The Commodores also ranked in the top 20 in the nation in Scoring Margin (17th), Scoring Defense (17th), and 3PT FG% (17th).
- Head Coach Kevin Stallings, the school’s all-time winningest coach, is in his 17th season with the Commodores and 23rd overall as a head coach, and is now the dean of SEC coaches. Stallings has 321 career wins at Vanderbilt and 444 overall as a head coach. He has eight 20-win seasons in the last 12 seasons, with 11 total postseason appearances, six NCAA tournaments, and two Sweet 16’s (2004 and 2007). He is also one of five SEC coaches to win 300 or more games at one institution, joining Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp, Florida’s Billy Donovan, and LSU’s Dale Brown and Harry Rabenhorst, and is now in 6th place all-time on the SEC wins list.
- The Commodores have three players at seven feet or higher in their front court - Josh Henderson (7’0), Damian Jones (7’0), and Luke Kornet (7’1). LSU has two seven footers, and the rest of the league has one or fewer.
Vanderbilt and the SEC
As of December 31, The Commodores lead the SEC in scoring margin (+17.8), scoring defense (61.8), field goal percentage defense (.358), 3FG% defense (.271), and second in 3FG% (.402) and three’s made (8.4). Matthew Fisher-Davis leads the SEC in three-point FG% (.481).
Vanderbilt has made a 3-pointer in 943 consecutive games, a streak which began at the inception of the 3-point line in 1986-87. The Commodores rank second only to UNLV for the longest streak in Division I basketball. Vanderbilt, UNLV and Princeton are the only three schools in college basketball to have made at least one 3-pointer in every game played since the 3-point line was implemented.
- LSU enters conference play with a 7-5 overall record after dropping their last time out against Wake Forest, 77-71.
- Freshman Ben Simmons leads the Tigers iin scoring and rebounding, averaging 19.3 points and 13.0 rebounds per game. Keith Hornsby (16.3), Craig Victor II (14.0), Tim Quarterman (11.9), and Antonio Blakeney (10.1) also average double figures.
- Junior Damian Jones, from Baton Rouge, played with junior forward Brian Bridgewater at Scotlandville Magnet in Baton Rouge.
- LSU has won four consecutive games in the series.