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Kentucky Wildcats (18) @ Vanderbilt Commodores (23): Open Game Thread

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This is the official A Sea of Blue Open Game Thread for the Kentucky Wildcats @ Vanderbilt Commodores game. Particulars are as follows, via

Kentucky @ Vanderbilt
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Vanderbilt Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Sat., Feb. 12, 1:00 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: CBS
Radio: BBSN
Online Audio
Online Video via CBS
Text Updates
Location Memorial Gym
Nashville, Tenn.

The Commodores are coming off a controversial victory at home against the SEC West-leading Alabama Crimson Tide, and the Wildcats are coming off a comfortable home victory against the Tennessee Volunteers. Both Vanderbilt and Kentucky are very much in the SEC East race in a log-jam for second at 5-4, and the winner has a chance to inch closer to the Florida Gators, who currently enjoy a two and a half game lead in the East.

More after the jump.

Keys to a Wildcat victory:

  • Communicate. Vanderbilt's bizarre setup forces coaches to be able to actively coach only one part of the game per half -- offense one half and defense the other. This young team will find that uncomfortable, and must find a way to fight through it. They must really communicate in this game to win.
    Take care of the basketball. Kentucky has turned the ball over far too much lately for my liking, and most of the miscues have come from carelessness. They cannot afford to allow Vanderbilt to win the turnover battle.
  • Aggressiveness. Vanderbilt is a soft team, and does not like contact. They are relatively passive on defense, but I have a suspicion that Kevin Stallings might have a little surprise in store for Kentucky in the form of a more aggressive defensive stance. This makes sense, since Vandy can absorb many more fouls than Kentucky can, and Stallings has seen how Kentucky tends to wilt under physical play on the road. The young Wildcats must not allow Vanderbilt to out-physical them.
  • Good shots. Vanderbilt's gym gives many unusual looks to a shooter, especially from the corners. Depth perception is significantly tougher in this gym than elsewhere, so Kentucky needs to make sure they take good shots, especially further toward the corners.
  • Share the basketball. Kentucky shared the ball versus the Vols, and we all saw what happened. They played a two man game against the Gators, and we saw how that ended. When they play as a team and share the ball, this Kentucky team is very tough.

Keys to a Vanderbilt win:

  • Attack the post. If Vandy can get Harrellson in trouble, the Wildcats will be in deep trouble.
  • Use Jenkins as a decoy. Liggins is too big and athletic for John Jenkins to score a bunch of points on, but if the Commodores can use him as a decoy, it could open up the floor for Brad Tinsley and Jeffery Taylor, who shoot the ball very well themselves.
  • Attack Brandon Knight. Knight has not handled physical play well at all, and if I were Stallings, I would send in guys to really body and bother him, and throw some traps at him.
  • Force Kentucky to shoot from the corners. Memorial Gym is a weapon if used properly, and forcing corner jumpers where depth perception is more difficult than normal gyms might make UK miss.

Time for the Wildcats to prove it on the road, and Vandy is a quality opponent. Let's do the work.

Go 'Cats!