(This was the scene after the Cats lost to Vandy last season in the SEC Championship game; we all know what happened after that)
After earning themselves the two seed in the SEC Tournament with their big win over Florida, Kentucky will face Vandy for the third time this season. Vandy didn't earn their win easily tonight, it took a hard fought and very physical second half to secure the win 75-72, hopefully that works in the Cats' favor come tomorrow evening. The two times these teams have already played, Kentucky has come out on top by the narrowest of margins 74-70 and 60-58. Statistically speaking, Kentucky is no less than 10 points better than Vandy, but for one reason or another, Kentucky just doesn't seem to match up well with the Commodores. Instead of boring you to death talking about the games that have already taken place, let's look at how they will match up with each other Friday night....
PPG: 60 74
RPG: 33 38
APG: 12 14
SPG: 5 6
BPG: 4 7
TPG: 12 13
FG%: 40 47
FT%: 63 64
3PT%: 35 35
Looking at those numbers one would think the Cats should win this one going away, well, it didn't happen either of the first two times and the stats are virtually unchanged. It will be interesting to see if the Cats have learned anything from their first two meetings with the 'Dores that could help them get the win Friday night. If the Cats play anywhere close to the way they did against Florida on Saturday, they could win this one by 10 or more. But if they regress back to some of the antics we have seen in a lot of games this season, the Cats could be in for a battle come Friday.
A little SEC Tournament trivia; Kentucky and Vanderbilt have met in the SEC Tournament 9 times over the years and Kentucky narrowly holds a wining record of 5-4 with the last loss to Vandy in the SEC Tournament coming in the championship game last season 71-64.
Some say Kentucky is still "on the bubble" even with their win over Florida this past Saturday, but I just can't see the committee leaving out a 20 win Kentucky team. However, if Kentucky loses Friday, they very well could be sweating out the selection show until their name is called. As it stands right now, Kentucky is in the "last four in" group which means they could possibly be playing in one of the first games of the tournament in the "play-in game". But with a win on Friday, that should move them out of the "play-in game" with a chance to earn a 10 or an 11 seed. If they make it to Sunday's Championship game and win (not likely, but possible), they could be looking at a 9 or 10 seed. One thing you can bet on is no team is going to be excited with Kentucky being the 9,10,11 or 12 seed in their region because there is enough talent on this team that if they play to their potential they could hurt some feelings.
The one thing to remember for tomorrow night's game. Kentucky must stop Rod Odom who went 5-9 from three and finished with 20 points on the night. If he gets hot and no one steps up to stop him, it could be a very long night to say the least.
Until tomorrow night, as always, GO CATS!!