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Kentucky Wildcats @ Vanderbilt: Gameday Breakdown

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UK @ Vanderbilt Game Overview


The University of Kentucky Wildcat basketball team (18-7, 7-3) enters the hated haunt of the Vanderbilt Commodores (Memorial Coliseum) Tuesday night for another ESPN televised tilt (9:00 EST).  Not far from the minds of the Wildcat players, and faithful alike, is the 41-point BEATING UK took last year from a Shan Foster-led ('08 SEC Player of the Year) Commodore squad.  Beating, one says?  Well, when the 'Cats score 11 first half points, it's a beating.

Sandwiched around the 93-42 Vanderbilt (15-9, 4-6) victory over UK last year in Nashville are twin UK wins; 79-73 in overtime last year in Rupp, and this years 70-60 Kentucky victory in UK's SEC opener.  The former of those two Wildcat wins broke a string of four straight hardwood triumphs for Vandy.  But, UK looks to re-align the moon and stars with a victory tonight, which would be make the recent series results a much more palatable three out of four victories for UK. 


Unfortunately, Kentucky's January 10 win in Rupp over the 'Dores was a bit sullied by the absence of Vandy center A.J. Ogilvy.  The big Australian is back in the Vandy line-up, and I'm sure will be looking to make a difference after missing the first contest.  One player he won't "be making a difference" against is Patrick Patterson.  It looks as if the Wildcat center will once again sit due to his injured right ankle (he's listed as a game-time decision). 

So, once again Billy Gillispie will be looking to his role players to perform at maximum capacity.  Saturday at Arkansas, Jodie Meeks (he's not a role player) beat the 'Cats bacon ... uh, I mean, SAVED the 'Cats bacon with 45 points, and endless energy on the defensive end.  Michael Porter, Darius Miller and Ramon Harris pitched in with solid performances.  More of the same is expected by the UK head coach, as well as the Kentucky faithful: Porter unafraid to shoot; Miller being aggressive with his offensive movements; Harris rebounding and defending with abandon. 


Quite frankly, Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings has done a fabulous job getting his team to 15-9 overall, and 4-6 in SEC play: Of the nine players that Stallings regularly plays, seven of them are freshman or sophomores.  Now that's a roster fraught with youth, and inexperience.  And one of the by-products of that youth is a lack of solid defensive play; Vandy allows an unusually high shooting percentage, especially from behind the three-point line.  But they do play very hard, and with a raucous Memorial crowd behind them they become a much more formidable club.

Although Vandy is painfully young, Stallings has experience at the all-important point guard position with junior Jermaine Beal, which has saved this Vanderbilt season from being similar to Arkansas's loss-plagued horror show.  A. J. Ogilvy, while not scoring this year at the same pace as last season, has had success against UK (see below), which makes the loss of Patterson all the more concerning.

For more in-depth Commodore player info, I give you the ...

Vanderbilt Personnel 

Jermaine Beal: 6'3" 205 lb junior point guard -- Beal averages 12.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists (1.6 turnovers), and 1.3 steals per game.  He shoots 44.8% from the field, and 43.4% from beyond the arc (43-99).  He makes his free throws at a 79.8% clip.

In SEC play Beal is averaging 12.7 points, 3.1 assists (1.7 turnover's per game), and 3.0 rebounds per game.  He's shooting 43.4% from the field, 39.6% from the 3-point line, and 68.8% from the free throw line.  He's averaged 11.3 points per game in has last three games versus UK.

A. J. Ogilvy: 6'11" 250 lb sophomore center -- Ogilvy averages 14.6 points, 6.9 rebounds (1.7 offensive rebounds), 1.1 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game.  He shoots 52.0% from the field, 29.4% from the three-point line (5-17), and 72.8% from the free throw line. 

In his nine SEC games Ogilvy is averaging 12.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game.  He's shooting 48.6% from the field, 33.3% from beyond the arc (2-6), and 66.7% from the free throw line.  Ogilvy's 25 points versus VCU earlier in the season represents the high point game for any Commodore this year.  In last years two contests versus UK, Ogilvy averaged 18 points per game, while shooting 52.4% from the field (11-21), and grabbing an average of 7.5 rebounds.

Jeffery Taylor: 6'7" 210 lb freshman G/F -- Taylor averages 12.3 points, 6.1 rebounds (2.4 offensive rebounds), 1.6 assists, and 1.0 steal per game.  He shoots 50.7% from the field, 22.2% from beyond the arc (8-36), and 66.7% from the free throw line.

In SEC play Taylor averages 12.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and .9 steal per game.  He's shooting 51.2% from the field, 40.0% from the three-point line, and 66.0% from the free throw line.  Taylor scored 15 points against UK back in January, on 4-11 shooting (1-2 three-pointers), grabbed 11 rebounds, and also had four steals.

Brad Tinsley: 6'3" 210 lb freshman guard -- Tinsley averages 10.5 points, 2.8 assists (1.9 turnovers), and 2.4 rebounds per game.  He shoots 40.9% from the field, 38.8% from the three-point line (52-134; that's 5.6 attempts per game), and 77.3% from the free throw line.

In SEC play Tinsley averages 10.6 points, 2.9 assists (2.0 turnovers), and 2.4 rebounds per game.  He shoots 39.4% from the field, 33.9% from beyond the arc (20-59; that's 5.9 attempts per game), and 75.0% from the charity stripe.  Versus UK in January, Tinsley scored 11 points on 4-15 shooting, 3-10 from beyond the arc, and he also committed three turnovers.

Steve Tchiengang: 6'9" 240 lb freshman forward -- Tchiengang averages 3.8 points, 3.3 rebounds per game (1.1 offensive rebounds).  He shoots 35.3% from the field, 29.4% from the three-point line (10-34), and 62.5% from the free throw line.

In SEC play Tchiengang is averaging 4.4 points, and 3.3 rebounds per game.  He's shooting 39.0% from the filed, 31.8% from the three-point line (7-22), and 71.4% from the free throw line.  

George Drake: 6'4" 215 lb junior guard --  On the year Drake is averaging 5.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game (1.2 turnovers).  He's shooting 42.4% from the filed, 16.7% from behind the line (7-42), and 78.6% from the free throw line.

In SEC play Drake is averaging 7.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, and .8 assist per game (1.1 turnovers).  He shoots 51.9% from the field (he's taken no threes in SEC play), and 100% from the free throw line (10-10).

Festus Ezeli: 6'11" 255 lb sophomore center -- Ezeli averages 3.9 points, and 2.6 rebounds per game.  The Cameroon native shoots 57.1% from the field, and 50.0% from the free throw line.

In SEC play, he's averaging 3.1 points, and 2.3 rebounds per game.  He shoots 66.7% from the floor, and 38.9% from the free throw line.  Ezeli filled in for the injured Ogilvy in January; he played 24 minutes, scored 2 points and nabbed four rebounds.

Darshawn McClellan: 6'7" 240 lb sophomore forward -- McClellan averages 2.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game.  He shoots 31.3% from the field, 30.0% from the three-point line (6-20), and 52.2% from the free throw line.

In SEC play he averages 1.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, and .7 assist per game.  He's shooting 23.3% from the field, 9.1% from the three-point line (1-11), and 37.5% from the free throw line.

Lance Goulbourne: 6'8" 225 lb freshman G/F -- Goulbourne averages 4.9 points, and 3.8 rebounds per game (1.1 offensive rebounds).  He shoots 46.2% from the field, 30.0% from the three-point line, and 80.0% from the free throw line.

In SEC play he averages 3.6 points, and 2.9 rebounds per game (1.1 offensive rebounds).  He's shooting 41.0% from the field, 23.1% from beyond the arc (3-13), and he's made 1 of 2 free throw attempts.

Commodore pre-conference win of note: VCU (71-66).

Commodore pre-conference losses of note: Illinois (69-63), @ Georgia Tech (63-51), @ Illinois-Chicago (74-55).

Vanderbilt Overall Team Stats

                                           Vanderbilt                               Opponents

Scoring --                               69.2                                             64.0 

Field Goal% --                       44.9                                             39.4

3-point FG% --                       33.0                                             36.3

Free Throw% --                     70.7                                              68.1

Rebounds --                           +4.5

Off. Rebounding% --             33.4                                            29.6

Assists --                                12.8                                             12.1

Turnovers --                            14.9                                             12.8

Steals--                                    5.9                                                7.2

Blocks --                                   4.5                                               3.7

Vanderbilt SEC Stats

Scoring --                                  66.6                                            71.8

FG% --                                       44.1                                            44.8

3-point FG% --                          30.5                                            38.7

Free Throw% --                        65.3                                             69.9

Rebounds --                             +2.6

Off. Rebound% --                     33.0                                            28.9

Assists --                                   11.5                                            13.2

Turnovers --                              15.2                                            12.3

Steals --                                      5.6                                               7.0

Blocks --                                     3.9                                               4.5                     

Vanderbilt SEC wins: Georgia (50-40), @ Auburn (82-75), Alabama (79-74), Ole Miss (71-61).

Vanderbilt SEC losses: @ Kentucky (70-60), @ Mississippi St. (73-66), Tennessee (76-63), Florida (94-69), @ South Carolina (86-76), @ Tennessee (69-50).

CliffsNotes Analysis

UK will want to execute the exact same offensive game-plan that they did against Arkansas: 24 fastbreak points (many easy baskets) to only six for Arkansas, screening for Meeks, and rebounding misses (38.5 offensive rebound %).  But, in order for UK to get the high percentage shots, and get Meeks some open looks, they must defend with the same energy and anticipation that they exhibited Saturday.

Vanderbilt will try to get the ball to Ogilvy.  With Patterson likely out, Ogilvy suddenly finds himself free of UK's best paint defender.  The Vandy big man can hurt an opponent with his around-the-basket moves, or he can step out and pop the 15-18 footer.  Because of this, Kentucky will at times find itself with a big man guarding the perimeter, so the other four 'Cats must crash the boards on the shot -- The size Vandy will throw at UK in, 6'11" Ogilvy, 6'7" McClellan, 6'11" Ezeli, 6'7" Taylor, 6'9" Tchiengang, and 6'8" Goulbourne necessitates all the boys in blue being aggressive and relentless in pursuing the misses.

Beal, Taylor, and Tinsley can also hurt UK with their offense.  Tinsley will take five or six three-pointers (more if he's "feelin' it"), and Taylor can hurt the 'Cats in the paint, both with his scoring and rebounding.  Beal has a penchant for penetrating, so whoever Billy Gillispie assigns to the Vandy quarterback needs to make a priority of cutting off the drive (and help needs to be available).

The First Meeting

  • Jodie Meeks did most of the damage with 21 points, making five of 16 shots (3-9 threes). 
  • Perry Stevenson and Ramon Harris combined for 22 points on 10-11 shooting and nine rebounds, but of course Ogilvy was wearing his finest pin-stripe. 
  • Patterson had a sub-par outing versus Vandy, with only 11 points and one rebound (he played 27 minutes). 
  • Four 'Cats in double-figures ... a rarity in '09.
  • Ramon Harris and Jodie Meeks led the 'Cats with seven rebounds apiece. 
  • As a team, UK shot 43.6% from the field, and 31.6% from the three-point line (6-19).
  • Vandy shot 31.6% from the field, and 28.0% from beyond the arc (7-25).
  • Vandy gathered in one more rebound than UK, and had four more offensive boards than the 'Cats.
  • Perry Stevenson and Patrick Patterson recorded three blocks apiece.
  • UK committed only 12 turnovers in the contest, while Vandy had 15.
  • UK scored 23 points off turnovers, while Vandy scored only 15.
  • UK outscored Vandy 32-20 in the paint.

Local Connection

Yes, as usual Vandy has a couple of Kentucky boys on the team:

Jordan Smart, a Lexington Catholic graduate.  He's a 6'6" 170 lb sophomore G/F.  He was a walk-on last year, but earned a scholarship for the '08-'09 season.

Aaron Noll, a Covington Catholic alum.  Noll is a 6'7" 220 lb freshman forward.  He's a walk-on.

Thanks for reading, and Go 'Cats, beat the 'Dores down!