Vanderbilt men’s basketball will take on their first of four consecutive ranked opponents when Mississippi State comes to Memorial Gym for a Saturday evening tip-off. The game will begin at 7:30 p.m. CT and will be televised on the SEC Network. 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 vucommodores.com and the vucommodores app.
Vanderbilt fell to 9-7 on the season and 0-4 in league play after a 74-71 loss to South Carolina Wednesday night at Memorial Gym. Freshman guard Aaron Nesmith set a new career high with 23 points to lead the Commodores, with sophomore Saben Lee adding 17 points and freshman Simisola Shittu scoring 13 points. Nesmith also made a career-high five three pointers.
Lee shot 16 free throws, the most by a Commodore in an SEC game since 1999. It was the third-most by a Vanderbilt player overall in a game in the last 20 years.
Vanderbilt Basketball Quick Hitters
- Three out of the next four games for the Commodores will be at home, with all four currently ranked in the top 25.
- Shittu is tied for third among SEC freshmen in scoring (14.1) and leads all freshmen in rebounding (7.8).
- 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 KenPom.com.
- Nine Commodores have scored in double figures in a game so far this season.
- Mississippi State will be the Commodores’ third ranked opponent of the season – Vanderbilt is 1-1 against ranked teams. The Commodores lost to Kentucky 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 421 times this season, which is first among SEC schools. Vanderbilt also leads the SEC with 296 free throw makes.
- Vanderbilt also ranks in the top five in the SEC in 3FG Attempts (4th, 381), Defensive rebounds per game (4th, 27.44), Fewest Fouls (5th, 283), Fewest Turnovers (3rd, 205), 3FG% Defense (4th, 31.6), and Turnovers per game (3rd, 12.8).
- Individually, Lee is ranked in the top 10 in the SEC in assists per game (8th, 3.6), free throw attempts (2nd, 115) and free throws made (2nd, 81). Ryan is ranked in 3FG attempts (5th, 102) and 3FG made (8th, 2.31), while Shittu is ranked in defensive rebounds per game (5th, 5.88), double doubles (9th, 3), free throw attempts (5th, 92), free throws made (7th, 61), rebounds per game (8th, 7.8), and total rebounds (7th, 124).
- 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 last week, and Crowley is ranked as the 55th prospect in the nation in the class of 2019 by 247sports.com following a breakout spring and summer.
About Mississippi State
Series Record: VU leads, 79-49.
Last Meeting: VU win, 81-80, on 2/14/18 in Nashville.
Record at Vanderbilt: VU leads 47-9.
Record at Miss. St.: MSU leads 34-24.
Record at Neutral Site: VU leads 8-6.
Coach Drew vs. Miss. State: Coach Drew is 2-1 vs. Miss. State.
- Mississippi State enters the game with a 13-3 overall record and a 1-2 mark in SEC play. The Bulldogs are ranked 24th in the Associated Press poll and 23rd in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
- Quinndary Weatherspoon leads four Bulldogs in double figures with 16.6 points per game. Lamar Peters (13.7), Aric Holman (12.5), and Nick Weatherspoon (10.6) also average double digits.
- The Commodores lead the overall series, 79-49, and 47-9 in games played at Vanderbilt. Both teams split two meetings a year ago, with each team winning on their home floor. Vanderbilt won a dramatic, 81-80 affair on a Riley LaChance buzzer beater last season at Memorial Gym.
Vanderbilt (9-7, 0-4) vs. Mississippi State (13-3, 1-2)
Nashville, Tenn. – Memorial Gym – 7:30 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
TV Talent: Dave Neal (pxp), Daymeon Fishback (analyst)
Radio: Vanderbilt Radio Network from IMG College, vucommodores.com
Radio Talent: Joe Fisher (pxp), Tim Thompson (analyst)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 135, XM 191
Live Stats: vucommodores.com
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 Mississippi State, Vanderbilt will move to 1,047 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 715-712.