This is your official open game thread for the #1 ranked Kentucky Wildcats at the Vanderbilt Commodores basketball game tonight at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, TN. Game particulars as follows, courtesy of UKAthletics.com.
|Kentucky @ Vanderbilt|
|Kentucky at Vanderbilt|
Sat., Jan. 11 - 9:00 p.m. ET
Game Notes: UK | VU
Radio: UK IMG
Live Video via WatchESPN
Kentucky brings a 16-game winning streak into the Music City tonight, as well as the top ranking in the country. There will be fans hanging from the rafters in Memorial Gym tonight, a place which has hosted SEC basketball games since well before I was born, and before my mother and father were wed.
Vanderbilt is coming off a comfortable home victory over the LSU Tigers, breaking a two-game losing streak. Defeating Kentucky tonight would give a much-needed shot in the arm to a program that, in the eyes of many, has underachieved significantly this year despite the injury and suspension of senior center Festus Ezeli.
For Kentucky to win tonight, they must:
- Guard the three. Vanderbilt scores no less than 36% of their points from the arc, and if UK can't stop that shot, they will be in for a tough fight.
- Rebound the ball. Vandy doesn't rebound well, but at home against a shot-blocking team like Kentucky, they are going to get an above-average number of opportunities.
- Make open shots. Kentucky has been wildly efficient lately for one main reason -- they are making open shots. If they continue to do that with their execution style of offense, beating them will require a remarkable game.
- Attack Festus Ezeli. Ezeli is both a strength and a weakness for Vandy. While he's in, he makes their offense very efficient. When he cannot play, the Commodores simply don't have the bench to replace what he does.
- Keep Anthony Davis in the game. Davis impacts the game in so many ways it's hard to name them all. If he gets in foul trouble, Kentucky is vulnerable.
If Kentucky knocks off Vanderbilt on the road, any remaining doubters will sit down and shut up. No, I'm not talking about fans of Syracuse or Ohio St., both those teams have earned the right to say, "Show me." But other than that, few will doubt Kentucky's superiority if they can go down to one of the toughest gyms in the SEC with a lot on the line for the other team and come away with a "W."