- Best player, and leading scorer, Eric McClellan has been dismissed from the team.
- Good 3-point shooting team.
- Big! 5 of their 7 rotation players are over 6’7”.
- Not a very good rebounding team; UK should have a big advantage.
#11 PG Kyle Fuller: 6’1” 188 SR.
Fuller is a strong, quick guard that averages 10 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. The senior guard doesn’t take a ton of 3’s, rather, he looks to use his strength to attack the rim off the dribble and get to the foul line where he is an 80% FT shooter.
#24 SG Dai-Jon Parker: 6’3” 190 JR.
Known more for his defense than his offense, Parker is one of the best perimeter defenders in the SEC. Along with his great defense, Parker is a very good catch-and-shoot guy from the perimeter. He averages just 5.8 points per game, but shoots 45% from 3. Won’t look to attack much off the dribble.
#0 SF Rod Odum: 6’9” 212 SR.
With leading scorer and “do-everything” guard Eric McClellan no longer on the team, Odum will be called upon to play an even bigger role for the Commodores. He currently averages 13.8 points and a team leading 6.1 rebounds per contest. Odum is also the best 3-point shooter on the team, he is 37/80 (46.3%) on the season. His perimeter skill along with his size can make him a match up problem for opposing defenses; I suspect to see James Young, Julius Randle, and Alex Poythress all will get a chance to guard him.
#35 PF James Siakam: 6’7” 215 RS JR.
Hard-nosed, undersized 4-man that will do all of his work around the rim. Even though he is smaller than Odum, Siakam will spend much more time in the post. The Cameroon native comes in averaging 7.5 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 60% from the field.
#30 C Damian Jones: 6’10” 235 FR.
A highly recruited big-man out of high school, Jones was ranked as the #77 player in the country by Rivals. The freshman has had a very good year so far, averaging 10.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1 block per game. In the post he will look to score quickly by getting an angle on the defender and getting around him to the rim. Mostly will look to move to his left shoulder on the right block.
#3 PF Luke Kornet: 7’0” 216 FR.
At 7′, Kornet provides plenty of size off the bench for the Commodores. However, he will look to do most of his damage by facing up to the basket and shooting. He will step out to the 3-point line, but is just 7/30 from beyond the arc this season. Fun fact: Kornet grew 7 inches his senior year in high school and then 2 more inches this year after arriving on campus.
#34 PF Shelby Moats: 6’8” 227 JR.
Powerfully built “stretch-4” guy who is known as a shooter even though he is just 1/10 from the arc this season (only attempted 20 shots total). His minutes should increase now that the rotation is pretty much down to 7 players.
- Eric McClellan truly was a “do-everything” type of guard before he was recently dismissed from the team; the Commodores have yet to really find an identity with him out.
- They certainly have a lot of size, but are not a team that is going to pound it away on the low block. 3 of the 5 big men are perimeter shooters first, and another is undersized for the 4 spot. Only Damian Jones will look to score with his back to the basket, but he is pretty talented down there.
- Pretty slow, methodical offense that will mostly work in the half court. Look for Kyle Fuller to try and create some opportunities going to the basket, either for himself, or by kicking out to shooters likes Dai-Jon Parker and Rod Odum.
- Typical of a Kevin Stalling’s coached team, these guys will get after it and work very hard, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. They have done a very good job so far this season, holding opponents to 66 points per game while shooting just over 40% from the field and only 28% from 3-point range. However, that is probably more of a reflection of the competition that the Commodores have played so far, and not so much that they are a truly great defensive team.
Keys to the Game
- Once again, Kentucky will simply be the more talented team so there is only so much that can be said in terms of what they need to do to win. If the ‘Cats execute offensively I don’t see this game being too close. Look for Julius Randle to have a big game down low as Vandy doesn’t really have anybody who is a great match up with him.
- The Wildcats will need to control Rod Odum on the perimeter and make sure he doesn’t get on an Elston Turner type of run like we saw happen last season against Texas A&M. I assume that James Young will draw the defensive assignment to start with, but if Odum gets hot early we may decide to put more size on him.
- Vanderbilt can be a tough place to play. The court is weird, they are very well coached (even if it is fun to make fun of Kevin Stallings), and they have pretty good crowds. This is the first SEC road test for this group of Calipari freshman, so coming out of the locker room ready to compete will be huge this afternoon.