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Vanderbilt Commodores (3) at Kentucky Wildcats: 2012 SEC Championship Game Open Thread

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Welcome to the open game thread for the 2012 SEC Tournament Championship game featuring your Kentucky Wildcats versus the Vanderbilt Commodores. Game particulars as follows, courtesy of

Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt
Sun., Mar. 11, 1 p.m. ET
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | VU Get Acrobat Reader
Radio: UK IMG
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Vanderbilt got here by defeating the Georgia Bulldogs and Mississippi Rebels on consecutive days. The Commodores struggled a bit down the stretch of the regular season, losing 2 of their last four, but they seem to be completely ready for the Wildcats today.

Kentucky has faced two very tough games against the LSU Tigers and the Florida Gators, both victories well in the single digits and very hard-fought. Against the Tigers, Kentucky played a very poor game, but came back and played pretty well against a game Florida team. Kentucky enters this game around a 7.5 point favorite, which seems about right to me.

What Kentucky must do to win:

  • Defend John Jenkins. This needs no exposition.
  • Attack Vandy in the paint. Festus Ezeli is somewhat foul-prone, and the sooner we can get him on the bench in the first half, the better.
  • Try to get the pace up a little. Vandy is more comfortable in a fairly deliberate game against high-quality competition, but Kentucky is completely pace-agnostic. A pace in the 70's probably favors UK, but they don't want to get there by taking quick shots.
  • Fight for 50/50 balls. Against the LSU Tigers, UK was really bad at fighting for the basketball. Against the Gators, they were much better. Today, they need to be much the best.

I'd really like to see Kentucky win this thing, but this game makes me a bit nervous. We need a resurgent game from Darius Miller, and we need to really watch the fouls -- Billy Donovan's complaint is likely to be heard for political reasons, and Kentucky needs to keep that in mind, particularly when it comes to Anthony Davis.

Go, 'Cats!