Commodores look for third win vs. UT-Martin

Fresh off a stirring victory over Indiana, Vanderbilt goes for its third win of the season Saturday vs. the University of Tennessee at Martin. The Commodores (2-0) face the Skyhawks (2-2) at 7 pm CT at Memorial Gym (no TV, 95.5 WSM-FM). VeeMan breaks down Coach Bret Campbell's UT-Martin team and makes a prediction.

The Vanderbilt Commodores are coming off their best non-conference win since defeating Notre Dame 87-85 in South Bend, Ind., December 4, 1999. The 73-60 win over Indiana last Monday was not a great surprise, but was more decisive than expected. Matt Freije's career high of 32 points was backed up by the solid performances of Ted Skuchas, Scott Hundley, Jason Holwerda, and others. Holwerda worked like a trojan to hold Bracey Wright of Indiana to 18 hard won points.

The Skyhawks of Tennessee-Martin have played four games so far this season, losing to San Francisco 73-62 and beating Western Illinois 96-67 in Guardian's Classic games played in Springfield, Mo., losing to Mississippi State 90-74 in Starkville, Miss., and defeating Central Baptist College 105-78 in Martin, Tenn. They belong to the Ohio Valley Conference and have played Vanderbilt twice before, losing decisively both times. They are coached by Bret Campbell (right), whose record in just over four seasons is 51-70.

6-1 senior Earl Bullock was the leading scorer on the team last year (16.6 ppg). He is a shooting guard who scored 21 points in the first two games, but has not played since. Presumably he suffered an injury, but the Tennessee-Martin site does not mention his condition or when he might get back in action.

6-3 junior Justin Smith (18.7 ppg) has taken over at shooting guard. After not scoring in the San Francisco game, he poured in 26 points against both Western Illinois and Mississippi State and 24 against Central Baptist. He played at Hamilton HS in Memphis and then spent two years at Chipola JC in Florida, and has just been named OVC newcomer of the week. He is the team's major three point threat.

The point guard is 5-9 junior Tyler George, who is a transfer from Vincennes JC in Indiana, but did not play in 2002-03. He is averaging 6.7 ppg and the same number of assists per game. He scored 10 points in the Mississippi State game. Although he has started the last two games at forward, 6-4 sophomore Jeremy Kelly (10.5 ppg) will also probably be the main help at guard if Bullock does not play against the Commodores. Freshman Lamar Mooneyham (6-4), sophomore Aaron Ferrell (6-0), and freshman Courtney Smith (6-0) give additional depth at the guard positions, but have not yet played significant minutes.

Cleve Woodfork, 6-9, 235 lbs., is the starting center. He is scoring 10.2 ppg and is averaging nearly 6 rebounds. He is backed up by 6-8 freshman Will Lewis (6.8 ppg and an average of 4 rebounds). 6-9 senior Kenan Asceric, 205 lbs., starts at the high post; he is from Bosnia and his averages are 6.2 ppg and 4 rebounds. Kelly has started at a wing position since Bullock left the lineup.

Other front line players who may see action are 6-5 sophomore Jared Newsom (8.0 ppg) and 6-5 junior Chris Carter (9.2 ppg). Both are solidly built and go to the boards strongly, and Carter is a good three-point shooter. Despite the efforts of Newsom and Carter, Tennessee-Martin has been outrebounded in three of the first four games

Although Tennessee-Martin did play well against the Mississippi State Bulldogs, trailing just 43-36 at the end of the first half, they do not have the size, experience, or talent of Vanderbilt. The chief danger that confronts the Commodores in this game is complacency, a strong possibility after two excellent wins in their first two games. Vanderbilt should defeat Tennessee-Martin by 15-20 points, but an uninspired effort could make the game considerably closer. Top Stories