Kentucky Wildcats (6-13) at Vanderbilt Commodores (6-10)
- Game Time: 7 pm ET on Wednesday, February 17th.
- TV Channel: The SEC Network will broadcast tonight’s action.
- Location: Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville, Tennessee.
- Announcers: Mike Morgan and Debbie Antonelli will call the game.
- Satellite Radio: XM: 84 | SiriusXM: 84
- Online Stream: You can stream the game online with WatchESPN and fuboTV.
- Radio: With Tom Leach and Mike Pratt will have the UK radio network call on 630 AM, 98.1 FM in Lexington and on the UK Sports Network.
- Replay: WatchESPN and the SEC Network (check local listings).
- Rosters: UK | VANDY
- Last Game Box Scores: UK | VANDY
- Stats to Know: UK | VANDY
- Odds: Kentucky opened as a 3.5-point favorite. ESPN’s matchup predictor gives the Cats a 60.8% chance at winning. KenPom gives them an 61% chance of victory.
- Prediction: KenPom projects a 71-68 Cats win. TeamRankings now projects a 74-70 win for the road team, while numberFire is going with a 72.4-72.1 victory for Kentucky.
The Kentucky Wildcats will be in Tennessee this week for a pair of matchups with teams from the Volunteer State. While Saturday’s clash with 17th-ranked Tennessee is the headliner, Kentucky can’t get caught looking ahead when they face the Vanderbilt Commodores in Nashville on Wednesday.
Kentucky is finally coming off a win after edging Auburn last Saturday thanks to Davion Mintz’s go-ahead three-ball with 30 seconds left, which helped the Cats escape with an 82-80 win.
Beating an Auburn team that came into Rupp Arena with an 11-10 record shouldn’t feel as good as it did. But the turmoil of this season has been a lot for fans to handle, so Saturday’s win was a welcomed distraction from the frustration.
It wasn’t exactly a quality win, but did the Cats finally figure some things out?
Sure — there was the predictable late-game drama that nearly cost them another game.
However, Brandon Boston Jr. pouring in 17 points on five made three-pointers was something that everyone has been waiting to see all year.
Isaiah Jackson was a force in the paint, tallying 18 points and 11 rebounds while also altering a large amount of Auburn’s shot attempts.
The hope is finally winning a close game will help Kentucky turn the corner and make things interesting going forward, assuming there is a conference tournament next month, which is no lock to happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To keep things going in a positive direction, Wednesday’s clash with Vanderbilt feels like a must-win affair for this team’s psyche.
Vandy’s 6-10 record is horrible on paper, but the Dores are much improved compared to the disastrous squads they’ve produced in recent years. It’s still better than Kentucky’s.
That being said, the guys in blue should win this game if they play anything like they did vs. Auburn and even in last Tuesday’s narrow loss to 24th-ranked Arkansas.
It took more Davion Mintz heroics and some luck for Kentucky to escape with a 77-74 win against the ‘Dores back on January 5th. Mintz hit the game-winning three-ball in the final minute, as he’s clearly become a go-to weapon in crunch time for the Cats.
Vandy will also have some inflated confidence coming into this game after destroying Mississippi State by 21 points on Saturday. They are lead in scoring by Scottie Pippen Jr., who carved up the Cats in their first meeting. He’s now averaging over 20 points per contest and he’s the straw that stirs the drink for their offense.
Stopping Pippen Jr. will be priority number one if Kentucky wants to make it two in a row.
But don’t think stopping Pippen guarantees a win by any means, as the Dores have several players capable of stepping up and helping them pull the ‘upset.’
In Saturday’s win over Mississippi State, senior guard Maxwell Evans exploded for 20 points. It was the fourth time he’s reached double figures in his last six games after failing to do so in the previous nine games, which included three zero-point efforts. One of those goose eggs came in the loss to Kentucky, so look for him to be a much bigger factor this time around.
Sophomore forward Dylan Disu always seems to get the better of Kentucky when these two teams play. After getting double-doubles in each of the two matchups last season, Disu went for 18 points and 10 boards before fouling out the first time these two teams played this season.
Another sophomore who went off in the first matchup was guard Jordan Wright, who scored a season-high 18 points with eight boards in Lexington.
One more player to watch for is senior forward Clevon Brown, who didn’t play the first time these two teams played, but he’s coming off a 15-point, five-steal performance in the win over Mississippi State.
Both of these teams should come into Wednesday’s matchup with renewed confidence and hope for a strong finish to the regular season. This should be a fun one that once again comes down to the wire.
Here is everything you need to watch and follow Round 2 of Cats vs. Dores.