Monday, January 19, 2015

Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt Pre-View

Saturday, Kentucky turned in their best performance of the season against the Crimson Tide of Alabama. They done everything right, dominantly and on the road against what very well should be and probably will be an NCAA Tournament team. To go into half-time with a 35-17 lead and no player scored more than five points is beyond impressive. Think about that for a second, nine guys played and NONE of them had more than five points at the break, that's just absurd.

Now, with the Bama game in the rear-view mirror, the Cats look to keep things going Tuesday night against the Commodores of Vanderbilt. Vandy is probably one of my least favorite teams in the country, not just the SEC. Everything about them is annoying, from their overbearing whinny coach and fans to that false sense of relevance they for some reason have. I never have liked them and  I never will. They (the fans that is) seem to have this holier-than-thou attitude when it comes to basketball and I for the life of me can't figure it out. It's not like they're Florida, Arkansas or Tennessee you know, a team that's actually been relevant in the last 20 years.

Sure, they've pulled some upsets over the years, yes even a couple over Kentucky, but come on, they are what they are. Annoying and anytime they pull a rabbit out of the hat and actually beat someone who's good, they act like they  are headed to the championship game. It's absurd.

Sorry about the rant, but man, I can't stand Vanderbilt or Kevin Stallings or their fans. Moving on now...

Here's a look at what the Cats will have to deal with tomorrow night in Rupp....

If you go by stats alone, Kentucky will have to guard the three pretty well tomorrow night. As you can see, Vandy has three guys who on the season shoot the three-ball 40% or better so the chances of them getting hot from deep is there. The fact that Vandy averages 14 turnovers per contest is a plus for the Cats as they have the tendency to force a few throughout the course of a game. Turning the turnovers into points will be key, however. Other than that, I don't see much that the Cats will have to worry about as long as they play the type of defense we all know they're capable of playing.

Now let's see how Vandy's roster stacks up against Kentucky's...

As you can see, the Commodores have some size down-low, but I don't think they can compete with our bigs. The one thing Kentucky's big men will have to do is be strong with the ball on the inside. Karl Towns specifically has a tendency to be a little soft when he has the ball. Several times during the Alabama game, he allowed the Tide's guards to slap the ball away from him. That's something that should rarely happen to a guy the size of big Karl. Rebounding the ball on the defensive end is another area the Cats will have to take of. More times than not this season, Kentucky has given up way to many offensive rebounds to clearly inferior teams on the inside. With Kentucky's size, they should dominate the boards from the guard positions all the way to the center position. They should NEVER get out rebounded.

In the end, I think Kentucky will win this game, but the chance is always there for a team to get hot in Rupp. The Cats will have to keep the same intensity they had in Tuscaloosa or you can expect another close game from an opponent who really has no business being in the game at all.

Tune in tomorrow night at 9pm on the SEC Network to watch the Cats take on the Commodores and hopefully extend their record to 17-0 (4-0).

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