Vanderbilt Commodores Basketball Preview: Kentucky Wildcats

The 11-7 Vanderbilt Commodores hope to win their fourth straight game when the travel to Lexington, Kentucky to face the 24th ranked Wildcats. Here is your preview of the game.

The 14-4 Wildcats have wins over Duke, Arizona State and Louisville which should look good on an NCAA resume.  Losses at UCLA and a home loss to Ohio State are the only blemishes on the Wildcat's pre-conference slate. UK, like Vandy, was surprised by LSU.  Recently the Cats were stunned at Auburn but bounced back with a solid win at Arkansas.  

Kentucky has three different players that average in double figures.  Jamal Murray is the team's scoring leader.  He had 19 points and seven rebounds in the win at Arkansas.  Tyler Ulis is the Cat's top ball handler.  The very quick sophomore had 24 points in the win over the Razorbacks. 

Looking at the Kentucky shooters, Murray and 6-9 forward Derek Willis are the team's best 3-point shooters.  The Wildcats have three different players that are hitting over 50 percent from field goal range.  

Veteran forward Alex Poythress and forward Marcus Lee lead the Wildcats in rebounding.  Ulis has over twice as many assists as Kentucky's second leading assist man.  Lee has 31 blocked shots to lead the Cats. 

Looking at the Vanderbilt-UK stats comparison, slight edge for Vandy in scoring offense and defense. The Commodores have a significant edge in 3-point shooting and assists. The Wildcats have forced way more steals and have a stronger RPI.  

This is a game Vanderbilt can win but it won't be as easy as it was at Tennessee.  Face it, Vandy is a team that lives and dies on its 3-point shooting.  To win, the Commodores need a continued 3-point barrage in Lexington along with smart inside play and a hard-nosed defensive effort.  

Saturday's game tips off at 3 pm central time and can be seen on ESPN.

For and Scout, this is Don Yates. 

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