No.19 Vanderbilt Commodores (5-2) at No.6 Louisville Cardinals (6-0)
Friday, December 2, 2011
KFC Yum! Center - Louisville, KY
9:00 PM EST, TV: ESPN
The No. 19 Vanderbilt Commodores travel to No. 6 Louisville Cardinals on Friday night in the Big East/SEC Challenge.
Kevin Stallings' Commodores are coming off a tough overtime loss to Xavier at home, dropping their record to 5-2. The 'Dores committed an excruciating 18 turnovers against the Musketeers and failed to score in the last 3:36 of regulation.
Louisville is 6-0 this season and the contributing factor is their dominant defense, allowing 49.3 points-per-game to opponents, third best in the NCAA.
Vanderbilt's Outside Shooting
Vanderbilt's sharp shooter and SEC leading scorer John Jenkins is averaging 20.2 points-per-game and has made 42 threes so far, second most in the SEC.
Vanderbilt has seen a large portion of points from beyond the arc and have four players averaging over 10 points a game (Jenkins, Taylor, Goulbourne and Tinsley).
Jeffery Taylor is averaging 15.4 points-per-game and provides a powerful threat for the Commodores with his ability to drive the lane.
Led by seniors Chris Smith and Kyle Kuric, look for the Cardinals' defense to put heavy pressure on Vanderbilt's shooters and deny penetration.
Who Will Win The Battle Down Low
As a result of his absence, it has been difficult for Vandy to get rebounds this season and they were out-rebounded by Xavier 54-33 in the loss. Rick Pitino's team has been exceptional on the boards, averaging 40.2 rebounds-per-game to Vanderbilt's 36.3.
Lance Goulbourne is averaging 7.4 rebounds-per-game and will have to get physical with Louisville bigs Chane Behanan (8.7 RPG) and Gorgui Dieng (8.2 RPG), both averaging over eight rebounds-per-game.
The KFC Yum Center holds 22,000 fans and has proven to be a big home-court advantage for Louisville, housing an outstanding home record of 24-2 in the brand new gym.
This has been a critical week for Vanderbilt, facing two Top 25 teams in non-conference play. The 'Dores are in jeopardy of losing their Top 25 ranking if they lose this tough road game.
Vandy claimed the preseason ranking of seventh in the nation, but after losing to Cleveland State and No. 11 Xavier, the 'Dores have dropped to 19th and are in risk of falling out of the Top 25.
The game starts at 9:00 PM EST and will be televised by ESPN.