Kentucky Wildcats vs. Vanderbilt Commodores: Game notes

Kevin Stallings leads his Commodore squad into Rupp Arena looking for some payback. - Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Here are today's Game Notes as the Kentucky Wildcats take on the Vanderbilt Commodores at Rupp Arena in a must win SEC contest.

With the Kentucky Wildcats (17-8, 8-4) preparing to do home court battle with the Vanderbilt Commodores (10-14, 4-8) in a must win contest for the 'Cats (that's getting old), here are your Game Notes:

  • Kentucky leads the all-time series with Vanderbilt 137-45, with the 'Cats posting a 76-14 mark against the 'Dores in Lexington.
  • Kentucky has won six of the last eight meetings between the two schools, and the 'Cats beat Vandy in Nashville 60-58 on January 10. In that game, Ryan Harrow led Kentucky with 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting, 2-of-5 from long range. Harrow also dished out four assists and recorded one steal. Additionally, the game ended with a bit of controversy as Nerlens Noel was credited with a made field goal with 17.3 seconds remaining although the ball seemingly went in the basket after the shot clock reached :00 -- Noel finished the game with 13 points (6-8 shooting), seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals in 34 minutes of play. Willie Cauley-Stein netted seven points, eight rebounds and four blocks in 30 minutes of action.
  • Vandy head coach Kevin Stallings is 10-19 versus UK in his career.
  • Vanderbilt ranks 320 out of 347 schools in NCAA DI basketball in terms of roster experience (per kenpom.com), while UK checks in at 337.
  • Vandy's 15 man roster boasts only two upperclassmen, juniors Kyle Fuller and Rod Odom.
  • Three Commodores were drafted in the first 31 picks of last season's NBA Draft, the most in school history -- Guard John Jenkins was selected 23rd by Atlanta, big man Festus Ezeli was picked 30th by Golden State, and forward Jeffery Taylor went 31st to Charlotte.
  • Of Vanderbilt's shot attempts this season, 42.7 percent are of the three-point variety, 16th highest in the nation, and 38.3 percent of the Commodore's points come from beyond the arc, fourth most nationally.
  • In Vandy's eight league losses, one was an overtime loss (to Ole Miss), one was by four points (to Alabama), one was by two points (to UK), and two of the Commodore's losses were by one point each (to Tennessee and LSU).
  • This season, Vandy had to replace its top six scorers, equating to 88 percent of its scoring output. Kedren Johnson, who averaged 3.1 points per game last season, was the 'Dores leading returning scorer.
  • Johnson is the most improved scorer in the SEC, raising his scoring average from 3.1 points to this year's average of 13.7 points per game. Johnson also led the 'Dores in scoring in UK's first match-up with Vandy, netting 18 points on 8-of-19 accuracy, 2-of-5 from beyond the arc.
  • Johnson was named Tennessean Player of the Year for two consecutive seasons while playing for Marshall County High School. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard turned down Louisville, Florida, Memphis, and Alabama to play for the 'Dores.
  • Stalling, who has been at Vandy since the 2000 season, is second to Roy Skinner (1959, 1962-1976) in terms of total coaching wins while at the Nashville school -- Stallings has posted 271 wins in his 13-plus seasons, while Skinner won 278 games in his 16 seasons leading Vanderbilt.
  • In seven of the last nine seasons, Stallings has won at least 20 games.
  • At Vanderbilt, all 42 of Stallings' senior players have either earned their degree or are currently working toward degree completion.
  • Vanderbilt is giving up only 60.3 points per game, the schools lowest opponent scoring average since the team gave up 60.5 points per contest in the 1950-1951 season. On the flip side, Vandy is averaging only 59.1 points per game, 58.6 points in SEC play.
  • Although posting a 10-14 mark on the season (4-8 in SEC play), the 'Dores are 10-6 when shooting over 40 percent, and are 9-2 when leading at halftime.
  • When Commodore opponents score over 70 points, VU is 0-4 on the year.
  • Vanderbilt is 3-8 when playing away from Memorial Gym.
  • Vanderbilt has had at least one player on its roster from outside the U.S.A. every year since the 1996-1997 season. This season, James Siakum (Cameroon) and Kevin Bright (Germany) have continued the trend.
  • Vanderbilt, along with UNLV and Princeton, are the only three schools to have made a three-point shot in every game since the rule was implemented by all of college basketball in 1986.
  • In Vandy's 10 wins, the 'Dores are scoring an average of 68.1 points, while shooting 47.3 percent from the floor, 41.4 percent from distance. In their losses, the Commodores are averaging 52.7 points, while shooting 37.1 percent from the field, 30.7 percent from beyond the arc.
  • With a 60.7 percent free throw percentage, Vanderbilt is last in the SEC in charity stripe connections.
  • Vanderbilt is coming off a 63-56 home win over Texas A&M. Forward Rod Odom led the Commodores with 19 points on the strength of 4-of-9 shooting from long distance.

Thanks for reading and Go 'Cats, beat Vandy!

To follow me on Twitter: @KenHowlett

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