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Kentucky at Vanderbilt: Open Game Thread

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This is the official A Sea of Blue open game thread for the Kentucky Wildcats @ Vanderbilt Commodores basketball game this evening at Memorial Gym in Nashville, February 17th @ 9:00 PM.

Particulars of this game are as follows:

Here we go, back to the site of where the Wildcats were on the short end of one of the most embarrassing blowouts in SEC history -- Memorial Gym in Nashville, Tennessee.

I don't think I need to bore you with the particulars of the beat-down we suffered from the depredations of the Commodores on that day. Suffice it to say that we are definitely hoping for the opposite result tonight, but we will settle for anything that has the Wildcats with more points than the Commodores when the final buzzer sounds.

This is an important game for Kentucky, and a loss here would badly damage our chances both at a reasonable seed in the NCAA tournament, and of even making the field of 65 at all. Vanderbilt is currently around #100 in the RPI, but despite this, UK is only a 1.5 point favorite over the 'Dores in Nashville.

Things Kentucky needs to do well to win:

  1. Defend well. Vanderbilt can make threes and have a great post player in Andrew Ogilvy. Without Patterson, UK will have to bring it on the defensive end.
    Take good shots. Kentucky has a tendency to shoot wildly against Vanderbilt in Memorial Gym for some reason.
    Run. Kentucky needs to run with this team. They aren't that deep or that talented, and the more we can get up and down, the better the chance we can get Jodie Meeks free for open looks.

Things that will make it hard for Kentucky to win:

  1. Falling behind early. This is deadly in Memorial Gym all too often.
    Allow penetration into the lane. When Kentucky allows penetration, we have great difficulty defending the kick-out three.
    Failure to rebound. Kentucky is down their leading rebounder, most likely. As they did against Arkansas, the 'Cats will have to find a way to get rebounds.

This is a dangerous, dangerous game for Kentucky with Patterson injured. Vanderbilt proved last year that in their house, they are among the toughest teams in the land. It takes a lot to win in weird, weird memorial gym, and the 'Cats are going to need all their guile to keep the Commodores out to sea.

Go, Cats!