Saturday, February 20, 2010

Kentucky at Vanderbilt Prediction And Other SEC Basketball Action

The NCAA Tournament bubble is starting to form and the SEC has three teams clearly on it. Two of those teams, Florida and Ole Miss, play today in Oxford.

But the big game of the weekend is Kentucky traveling to Nashville to face Vanderbilt. The Wildcats beat the Commodores 85-72 in Rupp Arena a few weeks back.

Kentucky had just come off their first loss of the season against South Carolina. John Calipari's club got arguably their biggest scare since against Miss State on Tuesday.

Back in January, both teams shot the ball very well, especially Vandy who hit 47% from the field. But Kentucky dominated the boards 41 to 22 and nailed 12 of 23 three pointers.

Keys To The Game:

1. Battle on the Boards
Vanderbilt has to do a much better job of keeping Kentucky off the boards. That will be tough for Kevin Stalling's team that ranks only sixth in the SEC in rebounding. Meanwhile, Kentucky ranks first in the conference and third nationally on the offensive end.

2. Defend the 3
The Wildcats had an unusually good day from beyond the arc especially F Patrick Patterson who as 3 of 4. Kentucky ranks 8th in the SEC at 32 percent. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt ranks second in the league, but has to play better than their 38 percent allowed on defense, worst in the Southeastern Conference.

3. Home Court Advantage
Memorial Gym's home court advantage is unlike any other's in the conference. With the benches on the end and the wide open playing surface it can be difficult to adjust for new players. And that is what Kentucky has.

Vanderbilt is 13-0 at home this season.

I think Kentucky breathed a sigh of relief when they got out of Starkville alive with a win. I wonder if a little let down may be coming, but now is not the time to have one facing the second best team in the league on the road.

Pick: Vanderbilt

Other SEC Games This Weekend:

Ole Miss over Florida
South Carolina over Tennessee
Georgia over Alabama
Miss State over LSU
Auburn over Arkansas

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