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Kentucky vs. Vanderbilt: Analysis, game line, betting trends & prediction

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An overview of Kentucky’s matchup with Vanderbilt.

Drew Brown - Sea of Blue

Saturday will mark the third game in seven days for the Kentucky Wildcats, as their schedule is starting to pick up steam with SEC play underway.

The Wildcats (1-1 in SEC competition) will host the Vanderbilt Commodores (0-2 in SEC competition) at Rupp Arena in search of their second consecutive win. Tip-off is set for 8:30 pm EST.

Analysis

Kentucky enters the matchup in a bit of a rebounding slump, getting out-hustled on the glass by both Alabama and Texas A&M. Dating back to their final game of 2018, Kentucky managed to only out-rebound Louisville by one.

This three-game stretch comes after the Wildcats manhandled a just-as-big North Carolina squad in Chicago. Against the Commodores, head coach John Calipari should expect a “rebound” performance.

Consistent aggressiveness from both PJ Washington and Reid Travis has slowed over the last week. While that could certainly correlate with Kentucky’s rebounding struggles, the Wildcats could also use a boost in their half-court offense. Slowing the game down allows Kentucky to work their way inside, where they’ll almost always have the size & strength advantage.

While the Wildcats are certainly hungry for wins, the Commodores will be equally eager to snatch their first win of conference play. However, after falling to Ole Miss and then Georgia, a battle in Rupp Arena will not be in their favor.

UK vs. Vandy Stats to Know

UK Offense National Rank Defense National Rank
UK Offense National Rank Defense National Rank
Points/Game 82.6 (#18) Opp Points/Game 70.3 (#126)
Assists/Game 14.6 (#84) Opp Assists/Game 12.1 (#93)
Total Rebounds/Gm 38.1 (#61) Opp Total Rebounds/Gm 28.6 (#1)
Assists/FGM 0.514 (#197) Opp Assists/FGM 0.475 (#80)
Assists/Turnover 1.062 (#123) Opp Assists/Turnover 0.790 (#55)
Effective FG % 54.5% (#47) Opp Effective FG % 50.1% (#156)
FTA/FGA 0.439 (#20) Opp FTA/FGA 0.260 (#28)
Free Throw % 75.9% (#29) Opp Free Throw % 70.8% (#218)
Three Point % 35.2% (#128) Opp Three Point % 38.8% (#331)
Two Point % 55.2% (#55) Opp Two Point % 45.3% (#35)
Shooting % 49.1% (#19) Opp Shooting % 42.9% (#118)
Shooting Efficiency 1.173 (#23) Opp Shooting Efficiency 1.059 (#139)
3PM/Game 6.3 (#297) Opp 3PM/Game 8.5 (#260)
3PA/Game 17.9 (#327) Opp 3PA/Game 21.9 (#154)
FTM/Game 19.4 (#3) Opp FTM/Game 10.9 (#34)
FTA/Game 25.5 (#18) Opp FTA/Game 15.4 (#24)
Vandy Offense National Rank Defense National Rank
Points/Game 80.6 (#30) Opp Points/Game 71.9 (#160)
Assists/Game 13.7 (#143) Opp Assists/Game 11.3 (#59)
Total Rebounds/Gm 40.3 (#22) Opp Total Rebounds/Gm 35.7 (#200)
Assists/FGM 0.512 (#202) Opp Assists/FGM 0.439 (#31)
Assists/Turnover 1.079 (#117) Opp Assists/Turnover 0.929 (#145)
Effective FG % 52.4% (#118) Opp Effective FG % 46.4% (#43)
FTA/FGA 0.451 (#11) Opp FTA/FGA 0.307 (#100)
Free Throw % 71.5% (#130) Opp Free Throw % 68.3% (#113)
Three Point % 33.7% (#186) Opp Three Point % 32.2% (#100)
Two Point % 53.6% (#92) Opp Two Point % 45.4% (#36)
Shooting % 45.5% (#112) Opp Shooting % 40.7% (#57)
Shooting Efficiency 1.122 (#85) Opp Shooting Efficiency 0.999 (#44)
3PM/Game 8.1 (#132) Opp 3PM/Game 7.2 (#137)
3PA/Game 23.9 (#116) Opp 3PA/Game 22.4 (#176)
FTM/Game 19.0 (#4) Opp FTM/Game 13.2 (#141)
FTA/Game 26.6 (#9) Opp FTA/Game 19.4 (#170)

Betting Trends

The Wildcats opened as a 13-point favorite at home over the Commodores. However, both Kentucky and Vanderbilt have struggled at covering the spread this season, so something will have to give Saturday night.

Here are some more betting trends for both teams:

  • Kentucky is 5-3 ATS in its last 8 games
  • Kentucky is 4-5 ATS in its last 9 games at home
  • Kentucky is 11-2 SU in its last 13 games
  • Kentucky is 6-0 SU in its last 6 games at home
  • Vanderbilt is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 conference games
  • Vanderbilt is 2-7 ATS in its last 9 road games
  • Kentucky is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games vs Vanderbilt
  • Kentucky hasn’t lost at home to Vanderbilt since January of 2007

Expert Picks

ESPN’s Basketball Power Index is giving Kentucky an 86.8% chance of victory.

KenPom correlates with an 86% chance, predicting an 82-70 Wildcats win.

Teamrankings projects a 77-64 win for Kentucky.

numberFire is going with an 84-72 win for the Wildcats.

Prediction

Over the last few weeks, Calipari has stressed his team’s need for chemistry and to give a full, 40-minute effort. While they achieved such a feat in their win over North Carolina, they’ve once again dropped back to their mediocre play. However, as the season’s end is now less than two months away, the Wildcats’ time to flip the switch is now.

Starting next Saturday, Kentucky has a three-game stretch at Auburn, at home against Mississippi State, and then at home against Kansas. A winning record over that span, along with handling business before then, could drastically improve their place in the Top-25 rankings.

Kentucky will come out of the gate motivated, but one should expect a gritty game from Bryce Drew’s team. However, the Wildcats’ edge in talent should carry them over the hump.

Final Score: Kentucky 77, Vanderbilt 68