Big 12/SEC Challenge Next Up for Commodores

Vanderbilt men’s basketball will once again participate in the Big 12/SEC Challenge when they travel to Oklahoma to take on the Sooners in Norman, Okla. this Saturday afternoon. The game will begin at 3 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPN2. Commodore fans can also tune into the game on the Vanderbilt IMG Radio Network with Joe Fisher and Tim Thompson on WLAC 1510 AM and 98.3 FM, and online on and the vucommodores app.

Vanderbilt fell to 9-9 on the season and 0-6 in SEC play after an 88-83 overtime loss to number one-ranked Tennessee Wednesday night at Memorial Gym.  Freshman Aaron Nesmith tallied a career-high 24 points to lead the Commodores.  Sophomore Saben Lee added 21 points, while junior Matt Ryan added 12 points and freshman Simisola Shittu 10 points.

The Commodors shot 50% from the floor against the Volunteers and outrebounded Tennessee, 33-30.   

The Commodores are 36-25 all-time against the Big 12 and 0-1 this season.  Vanderbilt dropped a 69-58 decision against Kansas State on December 22 in Kansas City. 

Vanderbilt is 2-3 all-time in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge (2013, at Texas, L, 64-70; 2014, Baylor, L, 63-66; 2016, Texas, L, 58-72; 2017, W, 84-78; 2018, TCU, W, 81-78).

Vanderbilt Basketball Quick Hitters

  • The Commodores are one of only two schools in the SEC (Kentucky) with two different freshman leading the team in overall scoring (Simisola Shittu) and in league games only (Aaron Nesmith). 
  • Simisola Shittu is fifth among SEC freshmen in scoring (13.4) and leads all freshmen in rebounding (7.5).
  • Vanderbilt, an inaugural member of the Southeastern Conference, is in their 86th season of SEC competition. Vanderbilt has won two SEC Tournament titles (1951, 2012) and three regular season titles in 1965, 1974, and 1993.  This will be the 67th SEC season in Memorial Gym for the Commodores.
  • The Commodores enter the game as the 305th-most experienced team in the country according to Vanderbilt’s leading top three leading scorers are two freshmen, Nesmith and Shittu, and sophomore Saben Lee.
  • Nine Commodores have scored in double figures in a game so far this season.
  • Tennessee was the Commodores’ fourth ranked opponent of the season – Vanderbilt is 1-3 against ranked teams.  The Commodores lost to Kentucky and Mississippi State and defeated Arizona State on Dec. 17 at Memorial Gym. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak to ranked opponents, dating back to a 72-62 overtime win over 17th-ranked Florida at the 2017 SEC Tournament (3/10/17) at Bridgestone Arena.  The Sun Devils went on to defeat Kansas later in the month.
  • Vanderbilt’s average height is 78.5 inches (6 feet, 5 inches) and ranks 17th nationally according to KenPom.
  • The Commodores have marched to the charity-stripe 468 times this season, which is first among SEC schools.  Vanderbilt is third in the SEC with 323 free throw makes.
  • Vanderbilt also ranks in the top five in the SEC in 3FG Attempts (4th, 421), Defensive rebounds per game (3rd, 27.11), Fewest Turnovers (3rd, 234), 3FG% Defense (1st, 31.0), 3FG Made (5th, 7.9), and Turnovers per game (3rd, 13.0).
  • Individually, Lee is ranked in the top 10 in the SEC in assist/turnover ratio (9th, 1.6), assists per game (8th, 3.7), free throw attempts (2nd, 136) and free throws made (2nd, 94).  Ryan is ranked in 3FG attempts (7th, 111) and 3FG made (7th, 2.22), while Shittu is ranked in defensive rebounds per game (5th, 5.72), double doubles (9th, 3), free throw attempts (6th, 100), free throws made (10th, 63), rebounds per game (8th, 7.5), and total rebounds (7th, 135).
  • Joe Toye scored in double figures in three straight games for the first time of his four-year career in the first three games of the 2018-19 season and has double-digit points in nine games this season.  He is the team’s lone senior.
  • Vanderbilt won their 800th career game at Memorial Gym against Arizona State on December 17.  Memorial Gym, which opened in 1952, is the oldest basketball arena in the SEC.
  • Vanderbilt won its first road game of the season at USC, the first time the Commodores have had a season-opening road win since a 72-70 win over St. Mary’s on November 20, 2009.
  • The Commodores signed a pair of four-star prospects in the early signing period.  Austin Crowley, a 6’4 shooting guard from West Point, Miss. who attends Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kansas, and Dylan Disu, a 6’8 power forward from Plugerville, Texas who attends Hendrickson High School, each signed a letter of intent with the Commodores in November.  Disu recently posted a 20-point, 20-rebound performance, and Crowley is ranked as the 55th prospect in the nation in the class of 2019 by following a breakout spring and summer.

About Oklahoma
Series Record: 
VU leads 2-0
Last Meeting:  VU win, 77-67, on 3/16/94 in Norman in first round of NIT.
Record at Vanderbilt:  VU leads 1-0.
Record at Oklahoma:  VU leads 1-0.
Record at Neutral Site:  NA
Coach Drew vs. Oklahoma:  Coach Drew has never faced Oklahoma.

  • Oklahoma enters the game with a 14-5 overall record and 3-4 mark in Big 12 play.  The Sooners also sport a 7-1 record in home games.
  • Christian James leads the Sooners in scoring and rebounding with 16.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.  Brady Manek also adds double digits with 11.3 points per game.
  • The Sooners Matt Freeman and the Commodores’ Yanni Wetzell each hail from Auckland, New Zealand and each played at Westlake Boys High School.

Vanderbilt (9-9, 0-6) vs. RV/RV Oklahoma (14-5, 3-4)
Norman, Okla. – Noble Center – 3 p.m. CT
TV Talent: Doug Sherman (pxp), Sean Farnham (analyst)
Radio:  Vanderbilt Radio Network from IMG College,
Radio Talent: Joe Fisher (pxp), Tim Thompson (analyst)
Satellite Radio:  Sirius 98, XM 190
Live Stats:
Twitter Updates:  @VandyMBB

Three Point U
The Commodores are one of only three schools (UNLV and Princeton) to have made a three-point basket in every game since the inception of the three-point line in the 1986-87 season.

With a made three against Oklahoma, Vanderbilt will move to 1,050 consecutive games with a three-pointer.

Freshmen Leading the Charge
The Commodores are one of only four programs (Duke, UNC Asheville, Pittsburgh) in the nation to have three separate freshman score 20 points or more in a game (Darius Garland, Aaron Nesmith, Simisola Shittu)

Commodores in 86th SEC Season
Vanderbilt is now in its 86th SEC season and is a charter member of the league.  All time against current members of the conference, Vanderbilt is 716-714.