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Cinco de Starters-o: Vanderbilt Commodores

 Dammit, Louis, we’re here to take the girl back.

Whoa! Wait a second. We can start a game without this post! Unfortunately, my Wildcat brothers and sisters, Mr. Hilbert hates you and swore to ruin your day.  However, being the outstanding human being that I am, I’ve swooped in just in time and I’m going to close this thing down like Mariano.  I think. 

Let’s do this:

#0 Jermaine Beal, 6′3”, G, Junior

2008-09 Stats: 11.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.3 apg

The junior from DeSoto, Texas led the SEC in assist to turnover ratio (3.1) and is the steady hand that stears the Commodores’ ship.  Despite all of the attention that A.J. Ogilvy gets, Beal is the player responsible for how Vanderbilt plays.  In their three losses this year, he’s averaging 6 points per game and shooting 3-19 from the field.  It will be important to throw him off early.  Also, he’s shooting a sizzling 47.1% from downtown.  Michael Porter, they eyes of Kentucky are upon you.

#1 Brad Tinsley, 6′3”, G, Freshman

2008-09 Stats: 10.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.8 apg

Despite the fact that Tinsley is a dead ringer for the guy that changed my oil yesterday, the 94th ranked player in Rivals’ class of 2008 is apparently quite the baller.  In fact, he’s “The Next Great White Hope”, whatever that means.  I’m just hoping I don’t have to watch anymore highlight videos set to that “10% luck, 20% skill” song.  It’s a tad bit overdone.  Tinsley is the second leading three-point shooter at 42%.  Now that is something much oppressed white race can hold their heads high about.

#44 Jeffrey Taylor, 6′7”, G/F, Freshman

2008-09 Stats: 12.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg

This freshman from New Mexico, no wait, it’s Sweden….I think.  Anyway, Taylor was the SEC’s freshman of the week for 12/8-12/14 when he scored 18 points against Alabama A&M.  A big body that serves more as a guard than a forward, although he is pretty much a non-factor behind the three point line.  Taylor, a two-time New Mexico player of the year, was rated by Rivals as the 10th best small forward and 52nd player overall in the class of 2008 before choosing Vandy over Texas and has some advice for the kids:  “Work hard and you can achieve anything”.

#21 Darshawn McClellan, 6′9”, F, Sophomore

2008-09 Stats: 3.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg

McClellan is a bit of a strange bird.  He’s started only six games this year and he’s averaging less than 3 points and 3 rebounds per game.  But, he’s started to raise his game a bit the past few games, averaging 6 points and 5 boards over the last 5 games, while knocking down 5 of 9 threes.  He probably won’t do much in this game, but he is certainly a prime candidate to knock down a B.S. shot late in the second half after not recording a stat all game.  Had a career-high 10 points (matched it last week) against UK last year.

#44 A.J. Ogilvy, 6′11”, C, Sophomore

2008-09 Stats: 16.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.4 bpg

Ogilvy is the latest in a long, proud lineage of awkward, “how are they good?” white guys to suit up for the Commodores.  In only a year and a half in Nashville, the Australian big man has made Will Perdue, Dan Langhi, Matt Freije and “The Chef” proud by going for 17 points and 7 boards in his first season.  Ogilvy is a pre-season member of the All-SEC First Team and how he plays against fellow first teamer, Patrick Patterson, is definitely the marquee matchup.  Ogilvy has scored in double digits in every game this season and has gone over 20 on four occasions.  Last season, Ogilvy averaged 17.5 points and 9 rebounds against the Cats.

Key Reserves:

Lance Goulbourne, 6’8″, F: Goulbourne is finally back from battling mono and making the most of his time on the court.  He’s averaging 7 points and 5 boards in only 14 minutes of action, but could be a huge factor against the Cats today.  His playing time has improved from 7 to 20 minutes over the course of the 5 contests since he’s been healthy.  He could start today in place of McClellan.

George Drake, 6’4″, G: Drake gets about 18 minutes of playing time for the Commodores on the wing and is most comfortable cutting or driving to the basket.  He shoots 34% from the field and 26% from three. 

Festus Ezeli, 6’11”, F: Name sounds dirty.  Plays 13 minutes per game and averages 4.5 points and 2.8 rebounds.

Steve Tchiengang, 6’9″, F: Name sounds like what Michael Vick is doing right now.  Gets 18 minutes per game and averages 3 points and 3 rebounds.

UK is third nationally in blocks (7.5), fourth in field goal percentage (51%) and ninth in assists per game (18.1)…..UK has won 19 of its last 21 SEC openers and is 58-17 overall…..Vanderbilt is amazingly consistent.  Every player scores nearly exactly their average every game…..Patrick Patterson is the only SEC player to rank in the top 5 in points and rebounds (19.5 and 9.8)…..He is also now 22nd on the all-time double-double list at UK with 15 (9 this year)…..Jodie Meeks is fourth in the nation in scoring (24.4)…..UK won all eight of their SEC home games last year….I can’t believe you people don’t think that last year’s drubbing by Vandy was the worst loss in the Gillispie era…..Now I know why Evan didn’t want to write this…..Seriously, how is Vandy not the worst loss?

Article written by Thomas Beisner