Vanderbilt Commodores (9-5) vs Kentucky Basketball (11-3)
NCAA Basketball: Saturday, January 12, 2019, at 8:30 pm, Rupp Arena
Spread: Kentucky -13
FREE ESPN NCAA BB Picks Vanderbilt Commodores vs Kentucky Wildcats
The SEC regular season picture is becoming more clear game by game. Since Auburn lost to Ole Miss, the running for second place is looking more be and more clear. Tennessee is looking like one of the top three or four teams in the country that are going to be vying for the championship come the first week or so of April. As a lifelong Kentucky Wildcats fan, it seems that Vanderbilt, no matter how good or bad their team is, gives Kentucky problems during the regular season. Hell, they beat the Anthony Davis, 2012 National Championship team in the SEC Tournament championship game! The newest edition of the Vanderbilt Commodores are having an up and down season but that has never stopped them from upsetting Kentucky before so let’s get into it!
Vanderbilt has had an interesting season. While the first six games of their season were rather easy opponents, their latter half of the schedule up to this point has provided some Power-5 competition that is more up to par with what they will see in the SEC. They have losses against teams such as Kent State, NC State, Kansas State, Ole Miss, and Georgia. They do have an impressive win against Arizona State, the first team to take down Bill Self’s Kansas squad this season. They also have a four-point win over the USC Trojans at the Galen Center, which will help their tourney resume.
The Commodores rank 80th in the KenPom rankings. In those same ratings, they stand at 70th and 105th in offensive and defensive adjusted ratings respectively. They currently sit at 228th in Strength of Schedule with their opponents collectively rating 241st and 208th in offensive and defensive rating from Ken Pomeroy. The Commodores are led in scoring by Simi Shittu who puts up 14.6PPG while pulling in the most rebounds on the team as well at 8.3RPG. Bryce Drew’s leader in assists is Saban Lee with 3.4APG. In their last eight games the Commodores are averaging 76PPG and in their last three games only 74.7PPG which ranks lower than 120th in the nation. The loss of Darius Garland, star guard, and a potential first-round draft pick, the Commodores have lost a valued part of their team. Through four games he was averaging 16.2PPG, 3.8RPG, and 3APG. Garland was also a 48% shooter from behind the arc. As a team on the season, they are ranked 41st in total scoring, 113th in FG%, 158th in 3PT%, and 30th in RPG. They will provide a decent challenge to the Cats.
The young Cats have a star in the making in freshman Keldon Johnson. Johnson is leading the team with 15.6PPG and averaging 5.6RPG. Keldon also leads the team in three-point percentage, averaging 39% from behind the arc. Their last game, the Wildcats struggled against the Texas A&M Aggies, and only put them away in the final few minutes of the game. In that home game against the Aggies, the Wildcats were led in scoring by freshman Tyler Herro who seems to be turning a corner and starting to find his groove within the offense. That is a very good sign for John Calipari’s squad heading into the conference season.
Ken Pomeroy has Kentucky ranked 15th in the nation, with a ranking of 17th and 28th respectively in offensive and defensive, adjusted rating. Those ratings put them just ahead of Nebraska and Purdue and right behind Nevada, who was EMBARRASSED by New Mexico last Saturday. Kentucky’s schedule ranked 110th overall in the KenPom rankings which means the Cats cannot afford any more losses to teams like Alabama. They could be detrimental to their tournament seeding. As a team, the Wildcats are averaging 83PPG, on 49% shooting from the field, 35% from the arc, and pulling down 38 rebounds a game. That is good enough to put the Cats at 29th, 22nd, 114th, and 72nd in the nation respectively in those categories. Those put them ahead of the Commodores in each category except for rebounds.
Cover the Spread 365 Trends
ATS last 10 Against UK (7-3)
ATS Home this Season (4-6)
ESPN SCORES NCAA Basketball Prediction Kentucky Wildcats vs Vanderbilt Commodores
This is a classic SEC match-up. This is a game that Vanderbilt fans view as a rivalry and they have very good reason to feel that way. At the same time, Kentucky fans see this game as an annoying little brother who will never go away without a fight any time the two teams play each other. The difference in these feeling has seemed to lead to the various results of these battles over recent years. Vanderbilt almost always comes out with a chip on their shoulder and a player who can’t seem to miss from three. Kentucky seems to always pull the win out of nowhere. Last season, it took the last second shot of a now transferred point guard, Quade Green to save the Cats from an embarrassing loss. The Wildcats have won eight of the last ten, but only beaten the spread three times in those ten games. The scoring discrepancy only favors Kentucky 71.3 to 68 which just goes to show how close these games have been in recent years.
The Cats lead the all-time series 145-47, but the largest win over the last 10 games was a 19pt win when the Cats were ranked 23rd in the nation with a final score of 76-57. Vanderbilt’s largest win in the last 10 games came against the NIT bound 2013 Cats in a 64-48 rout while Nerlens Noel sat on the sideline with a torn ACL. The spread currently sits at 13 and the Over/Under at 151/151.5 depending on the outlet. This is a hard decision to make, to be honest, but there is an answer here, Vanderbilt did lose to a HORRIBLE Georgia team by 19pts. Kentucky’s talent and homecourt advantage take an edge here in the straight up category, but fail to cover.