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Today’s Game: A Vanderbilt Student’s Perspective

550-fans-thank-you

I’m pretty excited about this afternoon. After transferring to Vanderbilt this fall, one of the things I’ve been looking forward to the most is Kentucky’s annual trip to Memorial Gymnasium. Growing up a Cats fan, I always hated when UK had to play at Vanderbilt. The elevated court, the baffling location of the benches, and the general awfulness of Memorial’s interior have always been particularly challenging for the Wildcats. One of the low points of my young fanhood was watching Kentucky get shellacked by 41 points at Vanderbilt during Billy Gillispie’s first season. However, this afternoon’s game should not be like the others in the history of the rivalry. Kentucky has no business losing this one.

The buzz around campus regarding today’s contest has been exactly what you would expect from a school that’s known for academics; I haven’t heard a single conversation about it. With one of the biggest games of the season approaching, the latest edition of our student newspaper only mentions Kentucky once – in a power ranking of the SEC football teams. If I weren’t a UK fan, you would have had trouble convincing me that basketball was being played on campus today – let alone a nationally televised game against one of the most talented teams in the country.

This apathy among the students will combine with another factor to make today’s game an easier-than-usual contest for Kentucky; Vanderbilt’s roster is completely depleted. You probably know this by now, but the depth of the issue is worth revisiting. Before the season, our leading scorer Kedren Johnson was dismissed from the team for rules violations. Next, our leading rebounder Kevin Bright signed a contract to play professional basketball in Germany. Numbers were such an issue in October, that the coaching staff had to hold open tryouts in an attempt to fill the roster. In December, our starting center Josh Henderson suffered a season-ending ACL tear. And just this week, our leading scorer Eric McLellan was dismissed from the team for rules violations. This Vandy squad is playing with a severely limited roster, which should make this afternoon’s game in Memorial less challenging than in past years.

Of course, anything can happen on the road, and this year’s young team could very well struggle in its first conference away game. However, I will be really disappointed if Kentucky plays poorly today. With the lack of enthusiasm among my fellow students and Vanderbilt’s  thin roster, I expect Kentucky to win this one pretty handily.  I’ll be in the student section with my replica of Memorial, hoping to win that $2300 test prep course.

Go Cats.

Article written by Caleb Epley

Vanderbilt student, Kentucky fan. Skilled at using big words and telling bad jokes. Twitter: @CalebEpleyKSR

11 Comments for Today’s Game: A Vanderbilt Student’s Perspective



  1. W.W.B.B.N.D?
    9:41 am January 11, 2014 Permalink

    This is a very good write up. But, be careful of using (our) when you are talking about Vandy.



    • Rei
      9:50 am January 11, 2014 Permalink

      Why? The writer goes to Vandy, so the paper would indeed be “ours” from their perspective.



    • W.W.B.B.N.D?
      10:27 am January 11, 2014 Permalink

      She says she is a UK fan, so I was just kidding around. Thanks for being so uptight this morning.



    • She?
      10:43 am January 11, 2014 Permalink

      I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met any chicks named Caleb…



  2. Mean Randy
    9:54 am January 11, 2014 Permalink

    Breaking news. Vandy only has 7 scholarship players.



  3. Pp
    10:14 am January 11, 2014 Permalink

    *Gillispie



  4. B
    10:29 am January 11, 2014 Permalink

    Memorial Coliseum? Umm… I think you mean Memorial Gymnasium.



  5. Caleb Epley
    10:29 am January 11, 2014 Permalink

    #3, #4. Crap. Good catches.



  6. serdi
    11:55 am January 11, 2014 Permalink

    Here is a history lesson for all you people younger that 55 that have never bothered to realize that there was Kentucky basketball before Rick Pitino.

    Kentucky’s benches at Memorial Coliseum all the way through the 1966-67 season were behind the baskets. In fact, a number of basketball venues back in that era were behind the benches.

    Memorial Gym in Nashville is a gem. Just like Memorial Coliseum was in in its pre-1978 configuration. In my opinion along with Allen Fieldhouse at Kansas the three basketball venues in the United States.



    • Rei
      1:38 pm January 11, 2014 Permalink

      Thanks Grandpa.



  7. Vince Lomardi
    2:01 pm January 11, 2014 Permalink

    “The buzz around campus regarding today’s contest has been exactly what you would expect from a school that’s known for academics; I haven’t heard a single conversation about it.”

    So much for the theory that we are everybody’s Super Bowl.