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Halftime Stats: UK 7, Vanderbilt 7

Halftime Stats: UK 7, Vanderbilt 7

It wasn’t pretty.

UK vs. Vanderbilt LIVE BLOG, presented by Liquor Barn

UK vs. Vanderbilt LIVE BLOG, presented by Liquor Barn

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Live Blog UK vs. Vanderbilt LIVE BLOG, presented by Liquor Barn

Vanderbilt Athletics

Ke’Shawn Vaughn will NOT play vs. UK

Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt’s most explosive offensive player will not play tonight against Kentucky.

The Tennessean reports Ke’Shawn Vaughn did not make the trip to Lexington. Vaughn made two big plays against Florida before he suffered an unspecified leg injury.

Without Vaughn, Kyle Shurmur must do all the heavy lifting.  Cats by 900.

Vanderbilt has a few explosive playmakers, BUT…

Vanderbilt has a few explosive playmakers, BUT…

…Kentucky’s defense is one of the SEC’s best at stopping big plays.

Ke’Shawn Vaughn is explosive.  A Boom Williams-type back, he can bust a play for a 50+ yard score at any given moment.  However, those moments rarely happen against this UK defense.

Kentucky’s defense is ranked eighth in the nation in opponent plays over 20 yards.  They’ve given up just 16 all year.  UK’s big play defense is ranked first or second in the SEC in every parameter, from 10+ yard plays to 50+ yarders.  Undisciplined units surrender big plays.  That’s not a problem for this experienced defense.

Almost every matchup in this game is lopsided in Kentucky’s favor.  The Vanderbilt defense might have the worst interior of any UK opponent.  UK’s offense is at its best running the ball behind the three guys in the middle of the offensive line.

Just like the explosive play stats, every Vanderbilt strength Kentucky has covered.  The Commodores have allowed the second-fewest sacks in the SEC, but they have yet to play Josh Allen.  They’ve committed the fewest penalties in the SEC, yet UK opponents are committing the second-most in the nation.

The stats are in Kentucky’s favor, especially on the ground.  Games aren’t won on paper, but numbers don’t lie.

Mark Stoops’ History vs. Vanderbilt

Mark Stoops and Vanderbilt have a hot and cold relationship.

In the first five meetings of Stoops’ Kentucky tenure, he’s taken some embarrassing losses and handed out blowouts.  Stoops is 3-2 vs. the Commodores, an accurate reflection of the overall series.  UK currently leads 44-42-4.  A win Saturday night would be UK’s first three-win stretch over Vandy since 04-07.

As you look ahead to tonight’s game, take a moment to look back on the good and bad from the last five years vs. Vandy.

2013: Vandy 22, UK 6

The Cats scored first, but it was all downhill from there.  The extra point following JoJo Kemp’s touchdown was blocked and returned for two points.  UK surrendered a touchdown just before half to trail by three.  After a scoreless third quarter, the Commodores methodically chewed up the clock and moved the ball down the field for three more scores.  The win made Vanderbilt bowl eligible for the third straight year and helped vault James Franklin to Penn State.

2014: UK 17, Vandy 7

Kentucky’s defense picked off three passes and held the Vanderbilt offense scoreless (their only TD was a pick six) in forgettable game at Commonwealth Stadium.

2015: Vandy 21, UK 17

It’s arguably the worst loss of the Mark Stoops era.  A win would make Kentucky bowl eligible, but the Cats could not get out of their own way.

Drew Barker was inserted into the lineup to inject some energy into an offense that failed on fourth down twice at the goal line.  Barker threw a touchdown pass, then a pick six that gave Vanderbilt a lead.  As time ticked off before halftime, Vandy took a 21-10 lead on this trick play.  It’s not the last time that play doomed Kentucky.

It got even worse after the game.  When asked about what went wrong on the trick play, D.J. Eliot said, “It’s football stuff, you wouldn’t understand.”

2016: UK 20, Vandy 13

Stephen Johnson did Stephen Johnson things to get Kentucky a crucial SEC win at home.  A year after the Cats couldn’t convert on fourth and short, Johnson made a play with his legs on fourth down to setup an Austin MacGinnis field goal that gave UK a seven-point lead with 1:30 to play.  Forced to throw into the end zone, Kyle Shurmur’s final pass sailed just over the receivers’ hands to end the game.

2017: UK 44, Vandy 21

Kyle Shurmur entered the game with three interceptions on the season.  Kentucky picked off the Vanderbilt quarterback four times in one of the most fun blowouts of the Mark Stoops era.  The blowout at Mizzou in 2016 was fun, but this one gets the edge because of Benny Snell’s record-setting performance.  He became the first UK running back to post consecutive 1,000-yard seasons while creating a new career rushing touchdown record.

Listen to the KSR Tailgate Show LIVE from KSBar and Grille

Folks, it’s almost that time, Football time in the Bluegrass.

The wait is the hardest part.  It will not be so bad over the next two hours.  LIVE from KSBar and Grille, Matt Jones, Drew Franklin, Jared Lorenzen and Ryan Lemond will give you everything you need to be prepared for the Cats and the Commodores.

Just turn your radio dial to 630 WLAP or Stream Here for two hours of entertaining radio.

(Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)

BBNBA: The New Orleans Pelicans are Going 82-0

(Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)

Going to switch up the formatting a bit. I’ll only be doing recaps of games where former Kentucky players are significant figures. So, for example, the Celtics-Raptors game from last night will not be covered. Also, games where a Kentucky player is on a team but did not play or did not play significant minutes will not be covered nearly as extensively, if at all. Enjoy the recap and be stunned by the greatness that is Anthony Davis.


Charlotte 120 – Orlando 88

  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist came off the bench in favor of Jeremy Lamb for the second straight game to begin the 2018-19 season, something brand new to him in his still young career. Before the season began, MKG had played in a total of 357 games for the Hornets and started all but four of them. Three of the four games off the bench were following an injury during the 2014-15 season, the other was during his rookie year. Coming off the bench hasn’t appeared to hinder his game, however. MKG put together an all-around stat line of 12 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and two blocks in 22 minutes. Keeping Lamb in the starting lineup gives the Hornets four shooters surrounding versatile big man Cody Zeller inside. Bringing MKG off the bench adds a defensive intensity and veteran presence to the second unit. So far, this plan shows little signs of being a bad decision.
  • Malik Monk‘s follow up to an 18-point performance in the first regular season game was rather disappointing, shooting 4-12 for just 11 points.
  • As a result of being just an absolutely horrendous basketball team, Isaiah Briscoe was able to run for 10 minutes to end the blowout for the Magic. And he sure did look good against the competition in front of him (which included rotational/starting Hornets players despite them being up 30). Briscoe added 10 points on 4-5 shooting and three assists.

Knicks 105 – Nets 107

  • Enes Kanter tried his best at some late-game heroics for the New York Knicks, converting an and-one with 15.9 seconds left to tie the ball game. However, the celebration was quickly spoiled by a Caris LeVert game-winning layup with one second left (LeVert is the “way-too-early” favorite for Most Improved Player). Kanter still dominated the game, scoring 29 points and grabbing 10 rebounds while abusing second-year player Jarrett Allen in the post all game.
  • His first game was a dud, but Kevin Knox put together a solid shooting performance in game two. Knox added 17 points off the bench on 7-14 shooting and 3-4 from deep.
  • Want an idea of the culture the coaching staff in New York is trying to build? Look no further than head coach David Fizdale lighting into Knox after he drilled a clutch three late in the fourth quarter. Knox was late on a rotation a couple plays earlier and Fiz made sure he knew exactly what he did wrong.

  • Personally, I love this. And Knox’s reaction makes it even better. Fizdale is an excellent coach, he’s going to squeeze everything he can out of Knox.

Hawks 117 – Grizzlies 131

  • Another game for the Memphis Grizzlies. Another game that Andrew Harrison doesn’t play a single minute. Harrison is a bonafide NBA player at this point. Keeping him on the bench is doing no one any favors. This should be an interesting subplot to follow throughout the season if the minutes don’t eventually come.
  • How about Alex Poythress? The Kentucky fan-favorite recorded eight points and seven rebounds in 21 minutes for the Hawks. Through two games, Poythress has been a valuable rotational piece for the rebuilding Hawks squad. Hopefully, that continues to hold true.

Cavaliers 123- Timberwolves 131

  • Something is going on with Karl-Anthony Towns. Yes, it’s only two games, but not once has KAT looked comfortable on the court. There are literally hundreds of possible explanations as to why, starting with the entire Jimmy Butler ordeal, his new contract extension, tension with the front office, it could be any number of things. Or it could just be the start of the season jitters and he could drop 45 points his next game. However, a 12-point, nine rebound performance last night was nothing short of disappointing (his off-ball defense was tremendous, however). He’ll turn it around eventually, that much I can guarantee. But will it happen sooner rather than later?

Kings 129 – Pelicans 149

  • There sure is a lot to unpack from this game, so let’s start with the Sacramento Kings. Willie Cauley-Stein and De’Aaron Fox both put together their second consecutive games of great production. WCS dropped in 20 points to go along with seven rebounds while Fox added 18 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. Skal Labissiere came off the bench and scored five points in seven minutes. Wenyen Gabriel did not play.
  • As for the Pelicans, they look like a team ready to set the entire solar system ablaze. Their 149 points last night was the most in franchise history. Their 280 points through the first two games of the season are the second-most in NBA history. The Pelicans were all about pace last season and they tripled-down on that theory to start this season.

  • Anthony Davis had another Anthony Davis stat line of 25 points (8-12 shooting), 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks. Julius Randle added another 13 points and 14 rebounds off the bench and is the “way-too-early” front-runner for Sixth Man of the Year. Darius Miller went 3-7 on threes. The entire New Orleans team is clicking so much earlier than anticipated. The losses of DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo have yet to make the type of negative impact some expected. Instead, the Pelicans look like the most dangerous team in the NBA at the moment.

Pacers 101 – Bucks 118

  • The Milwaukee Bucks – similar to the New Orleans Pelicans – are experimenting with an offense they aren’t used to. And just like the Pelicans, it’s working. The Bucks are firing up threes like it’s nobodies business. They shot 47 threes Friday night, a franchise record. They attempted 34 in their season opener. They attempted at least 34 threes in only two games all of last season. So why am I telling you this? Because it’s opened things up for Giannis Anteotkunmpo, who should contend with Anthony Davis for MVP by year’s end. Both teams have revolutionized their offense to maximize the production for their superstars and it’s paying dividends.
  • As for Eric Bledsoe, a 12-point, six rebound, seven assist, two steals, and two blocks display is exactly what the Bucks need from him on a nightly basis.

Thunder 92 – Clippers 108

  • Nerlens Noel had another high-energy game for the Thunder, making hustle play after hustle play that is going to make it impossible for the coaching staff to keep him off the floor. He had nine points and five rebounds in 14 minutes but what has surprised me the most about Noel thus far is how in sync he is with his teammates. It may just be good instincts or even a bit of luck, but Noel has had no problem familiarizing himself with this Oklahoma City team.
  • Hamidou Diallo found himself another burst of clock during his second NBA game, although not as productive as his first game. But, he didn’t make any glaring mistakes and played with a level head while attacking the glass. It’s going to be a long process for Diallo, but one that could pay off big time.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander only recorded two points in his second NBA game but was doing so many other things beneficial to the Clippers that they needed him to help close the game. Los Angeles went with SGA over starter Patrick Beverley to finish an impressive win over the Russell Westbrook-less Thunder. There were signs of the floor general we saw late in the season at Kentucky last year. He’s too smart of a player to not have in during important stretches of close games.


PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Enes Kanter (NYK)105-107 L @ BKN2912-18 (0-1)102100+235
Anthony Davis (NOP)149-129 W vs. SAC258-12 (1-1)106224+2126
Willie Cauley-Stein (SAC)129-149 L @ NOP209-14 (0-0)71001-425
De'Aaron Fox (SAC)129-149 L @ NOP186-12 (0-1)76004-826
Kevin Knox (NYK)105-107 L @ BKN177-14 (3-4)60000-428
Eric Bledsoe (MIL)118-101 W vs. IND125-9 (2-5)67220+1726
Julius Randle (NOP)149-129 W vs. SAC126-12 (1-2)140001+1424
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)120-88 W @ ORL125-8 (0-2)95021+2422
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)131-123 W vs. CLE124-10 (2-2)92044+234
Malik Monk (CHA)120-88 W @ ORL114-12 (2-6)12001+523
Darius Miller (NOP)149-129 W vs. SAC103-7 (3-7)12001+922
Isaiah Briscoe (ORL)88-120 L vs. CHA104-5 (1-1)13000+110
Nerlens Noel (OKC)92-108 L @ LAC94-5 (0-0)50100014
Alex Poythress (ATL)117-131 L @ MEM83-4 (1-1)72110-221
Patrick Patterson (OKC)92-108 L @ LAC52-4 (1-2)20010-919
Skal Labissiere (SAC)129-149 L @ NOP52-4 (1-3)10001+27
Hamidou Diallo (OKC)92-108 L @ LAC30-1 (0-0)30000+18
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC)108-92 W vs. OKC20-2 (0-1)34002+1223
Andrew Harrison (MEM)131-117 W vs. ATLDNP-CD----------------
Wenyen Gabriel (SAC)129-149 L @ NOPDNP-CD----------------

Tonight in the NBA

7:00: Nets @ Pacers

7:00 (NBATV): Raptors @ Wizards (Wall)

7:30: Celtics @ Knicks (Kanter, Knox)

7:30: Magic (Briscoe) @ Sixers

8:00: Hornets (Kidd-Gilchrist, Monk) @ Heat (Adebayo)

8:30: Pistons @ Bulls (Ulis) 

8:30: Timberwolves (Towns) @ Mavericks

9:00: Suns (Booker) @ Nuggets (Lyles, Murray)

10:00: Spurs @ Trail Blazers

10:30 (ESPN): Rockets (Knight-out) @ Lakers (Rondo)

Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan