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GAMETIME: Kentucky at #21 Vanderbilt

Four straight losses to Vanderbilt? That's what is at stake today when the Wildcats head to Memorial Gym in Nashville for a 2 p.m. ET tilt with the Commodores.

Vandy has figured out the formula to beat the Cats of late, using a mobile center to drag UK's bigger center out of the paint and reversing the ball quickly to find the open man and burying the three-point shot.

For the Cats, teams that hit that open three can win, especially with the on-again, off-again nature of the Wildcats offense. So beyond all analysis, the basic gist once again returns to: make shots, keep the opponent from making shots.

Funny how that works, huh?

In any event, with the monkey of the three-game slide off the backs of our boys, not to mention both dignity and a win over a ranked team -- which amazingly would be the Cats' first in nearly two seasons.

Truz goes all out to help us preview the game before the action starts.

Update [2007-2-25 14:7:7 by JL Blue]:

Jodie Meeks gets his first start ... for Crawford. Bam!

What to look for:
* Cats Character. it's gut-check time for this UK team, if there ever was one. With three regular season games left, Kentucky can carve out a good seed or a mediocre one in the NCAA tournament with a strong stretch run. The crucial "final 10" games help the tournament committee determine where teams are headed. Not counting the final three, UK is right now just 4-3.

* Back to the Front(line). All season long, the Cats have struggled to find consistent production from the non-Morris portion of the frontline. In games where Thomas and Perry have given the Cats around 12 points and 10 rebounds, there has been success. Unfortunately, those games have been rare of late. Who will show up today?

* Joe Cool. Kentucky's leading scorer has been notably absent in big-time matchups. Joe Crawford needs to score his 15 points a game night in and night out, not 28 one game, 6 the next. This is especially true in these final three.

Probable starting lineups

PG: Derrick Jasper (6'6"/213 Fr.) 4.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg, *3.2 apg
SG: Ramel Bradley (6'3"/175 Jr.) 14.2 ppg, *3.7 apg, 3.9 rpg
3G: Joe Crawford (6'5"/211 Jr.) 14.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg
C: Randolph Morris (6'11"/259 Jr.) 15.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg
SF: Bobby Perry (6'8"/215 Sr.) 6.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg

Bench rotation:
F Perry Stevenson, F Sheray Thomas, F Ramon Harris, C Lukasz Obrzut, G Jodie Meeks, G Michael Porter

PG: Alex Gordon (5'11"/170 Jr.) 7.7 ppg, *3.6 apg
SG: Dan Cage (6'5"/215 Sr.) 11.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg
G: Derrick Byars (6'7"/230 Sr.) 16.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg
F: Shan Foster (6'6"/200 Jr.) 14.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg
C: Ross Neltner (6'9"/240 Jr.) 10.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg

Bench rotation:
Ted Skuchas (C), Jermaine Beal (G), George Drake (G), JeJuan Brown (F)