10 Things to Know: UK vs Vanderbilt
The Cats head back on the road to face a struggling Vanderbilt on Saturday. Winning at Vandy is never an easy task for Kentucky and that will likely be the case once again. Here are ten things you should know before the game.
- Vanderbilt was supposed to be a good team– They made the NCAA tournament and basically returned every player on that team other than Luke Kornet. Most in the media including myself expected them to be a tournament team once again and finish in the top 4 or 5 in the league. It is a mystery why they have been so bad this season but they still have the pieces to be a dangerous team. You can be sure that they will play a lot more like an NCAA tournament team on Saturday.
- Bryce Drew is doing big things on the recruiting trail– Vandy is not typically a team that reels in many five star recruits but Bryce Drew is changing that. He has landed what may be their best recruiting class in school history and they are the favorite to land Romeo Langford who is a top 5 recruit. The product on the court has not been great this season but the future looks very bright in Nashville with Drew at the helm.
- Will Quade Green play?-He missed the Cats game vs Texas A&M with back issues and is listed as day to day. Later today Coach Cal will have a teleconference with the media and we may find out if Green is likely to play or not. Without him it will be a lot more difficult to pick up a win. If he can play it will be very beneficial to the team as long as he is not hampered by back pain. The emergence of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has helped take a lot of the load off of Green but the Cats need both for the team to be at their best.
- Can PJ Washington keep it rolling?– He has had three straight good games and if he can extend it to a fourth it would go a long way towards winning the game. PJ should be a match up nightmare for Vandy because a very thin front court. He has also developed into a leader on the floor and in the huddle which will be needed in a big way on Saturday.
- Kentucky should destroy Vandy on the glass– The Cats have a big size advantage at virtually every position which should result in a big rebounding advantage. If the Cats attack the glass the way they should then the rebounding margin should go to Kentucky in a big way.
- Vandy will probably make shots like they are the Golden State Warriors– They have several solid shooters from deep and you can be sure that Kentucky coming to town will somehow ignite them into a ridiculous shooting display to keep the game in question.
- Will Jarred Vanderbilt make his debut?– Cal said he kind of wants him to play his first game in Rupp Arena but that he would leave it up to Jarred if he felt ready. He is going to play in a game soon but it could be next Saturday in Rupp against Florida. Vanderbilt making his debut at Vanderbilt would be pretty cool though.
- A moron designed Vandy’s court– Yes Vanderbilt is supposed to be a school for smart people but that did not stop them from letting an idiot design their court. Their grand idea had to have went like this, “Hey I have a great idea, lets put the benches on the endzone, elevate the floor, and leave like 30 feet wide open on the sidelines!” It always seems to be a factor for opposing teams and it seems likely to impact such a young team like Kentucky.
- It’s time for Kevin Knox to have a big Game– He got back on the right track against the Aggies but the time has come for him to dominate a game. He will have a big size advantage Matthew Fisher-Davis and over anyone Vandy can throw at him. Kentucky needs him to be able to take over a game and this road test will be a great chance for him to do it.
- Kentucky really needs to win their next two games– The SEC is very good this year which will make picking up road wins extremely difficult. If the Cats hope to win the regular season title they really need to win at Vanderbilt and at South Carolina. They will be the last of the “easy” road games that Kentucky will play. Neither game will be an easy win especially the one in Nashville because Vandy has the talent to beat Kentucky if they play well. If they can win both it will put the Cats in a solid position in terms of competing for the league championship.
It should be a close game from start to finish so BBN needs to be ready for a nail biter. In they end I think the Cats will scratch out another win by the narrowest of margins. It won’t be easy but in the end the win is all that matters.