By now, you know all about Jarred Vanderbilt, who is almost certainly not playing in St. Louis this weekend. That’s why it came as no surprise to see he’s out for Saturday’s game against Alabama. The freshman forward was in street clothes as the Cats began warmups.
If UK wins, don’t expect him to play in Sunday’s championship game. He remains day to day with a sprained ankle, and there’s no guarantee he even plays in the NCAA Tournament.
As for Alabama, senior forward Donta Hall is out today while in the concussion protocol. Hall suffered a head injury late in Friday’s win over the Auburn Tigers, so he probably won’t play Sunday if the Tide make it past the Cats.
Hall is also considered day to day, and as tricky as concussions are to deal with, there’s no guarantee he plays in the first weekend of NCAA Tournament games.
In 14 games this season, Vanderbilt is averaging 5.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists and .84 blocks per game. His rebounding and defense are where he’s made a dramatic impact on UK’s season. He’s been arguably the best rebounder in college basketball, and he’s UK’s best defender as well.
Hall has appeared in 32 games this season and registered 10.9 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.
As big of a loss as Vanderbilt is for UK, Alabama losing Hall is even bigger.