The Vanderbilt Commodores will open their 86th season of Southeastern Conference competition when they welcome Ole Miss to Memorial Gym for a Saturday evening tilt. 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.
The Commodores improved to 9-3 on the season after a 90-59 win over UNC Asheville Monday afternoon at Memorial Gym. Four Commodores scored in double figures, with junior forward Matt Ryan leading the way with 19 points. Freshman Simisola Shittu tallied 17 points, junior center Yanni Wetzell 16, and sophomore guard Saben Lee 11 in the Vanderbilt win.
Vanderbilt, an inaugural member of the Southeastern Conference, will begin their 86th season of SEC competition Saturday against Ole Miss. 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 opener in Memorial Gym for the Commodores.
Vanderbilt Basketball Quick Hitters
- The Commodores enter the game as the 308th-most experienced team in the country according to KenPom.com. Sophomore Saben Lee is Vanderbilt’s returning scorer from league play a year ago when he averaged 11.7 points per game. In all, 34.9% of the team’s scoring in league play returns from 2017-18. Only four Vanderbilt players, Lee, Maxwell Evans, Clevon Brown, and Joe Toye, have played in an SEC game in their careers.
- Nine Commodores have scored in double figures in a game so far this season.
- Vanderbilt’s average height is 78.5 inches (6 feet, 5 inches) and ranks 18th nationally according to KenPom.
- Earlier this season, Vanderbilt knocked off nationally-ranked Arizona State at Memorial Gym on December 17th. 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.
- The Commodores have marched to the charity-stripe 328 times this season, which tops all SEC schools and ranks 30th nationally. Vanderbilt also leads the SEC and is 21st nationally in free throw makes with 238.
- Vanderbilt also ranks in the top five in the SEC in 3FG Attempts (4th, 290), Defensive rebounds per game (2nd, 29.92), Fewest Fouls (3rd, 206), Fewest Turnovers (3rd, 158), FG% Defense (5th, 39.6%), Scoring Offense (4th, 82.9), 3FG% Defense (5th, 31.9), 3FG Made per game (5th, 8.4), Total 3FG made (5th, 101), Total Rebounds (4th, 485), Rebounds per game (4th, 40.2), and Turnovers per game (4th, 13.2).
- Individually, Lee is ranked in the top 10 in the SEC in assists per game (10th, 3.8), free throw attempts (2nd, 84), and free throws made (2nd, 62). Ryan is ranked in 3FG attempts (5th, 79), 3FG per game (5th, 2.5), 3FG% (5th, 38.0), and total threes made (5th, 30), while Shittu is ranked in defensive rebounds per game (4th, 6.0), double doubles (8th, 2), free throw attempts (8th, 66), free throws made (9th, 47), rebounds per game (7th, 7.8), and total rebounds (7th, 93).
- Freshman point guard Darius Garland, a five-star recruit and a 2018 McDonald’s All-American, was lost for the season after suffering a meniscus injury in his left knee against Kent State on November 23. He suffered the injury two minutes into the game against the Golden Flashes. Garland was named the SEC’s Freshman of the Week in the opening week of the year after averaging 21.5 points per game in two Commodore wins over Winthrop and USC.
- On November 27, the Commodores scored 120 points against Savannah State, the most by a Vanderbilt team since December 22, 1970, when Vanderbilt scored a program-best 130 points in a win over Ole Miss (130-112).
- 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 eight games this season, including three of his last four.
- 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.
- Head coach Bryce Drew, now in his third season, led the Commodores to the NCAA Tournament in his first season in Nashville, marking the first time in the history of the program a first-year Vanderbilt coach led his team to the tournament.
- Redshirt sophomore forward Matthew Moyer, who transferred from Syracuse after the 2017-18 season, was granted immediate eligiblity by the NCAA this season on November 15.
About Ole Miss
Series Record: Vanderbilt leads, 76-45
Last Meeting: VU win, 82-69, on 3/3/18 in Oxford.
Record at Vanderbilt: VU leads, 48-10
Record at OM: OM leads, 30-24
Record at Neutral Site: OM leads 5-4
Coach Drew vs. Ole Miss: Coach Drew is 1-1 against Ole Miss
- Ole Miss enters the game with a 10-2 overall record after knocking off Florida Gulf Coast, 87-57, on December 29 in their last time out.
- Breein Tyree leads three Rebels in scoring with 17.3 points per game. Terence Davis adds 15.5 points, and Devontae Shuler chips in 10.3 points per game.
- Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis, who previously coached at Middle Tennessee, is riding a three-game win streak against the Commodores (2012 at Bridgestone Arena, 2016 in Murfreesboro, 2017 at Memorial Gym). Overall, he is 3-4 all-time against the Commodores.
- The Rebels have won three straight against Vanderbilt at Memorial Gym, with wins coming in 2013 (89-79), 2014 (63-52), and 2017 (81-74). The Commodores won the only meeting between the two schools last year in Oxford (82-69). Vanderbilt’s last win at Memorial Gym against the Rebels was 2011. Prior to the latest Ole Miss win streak, Vanderbilt had won five consecutive games against the Rebels at home and 17 of 18 dating back to the 1982-83 campaign.
Vanderbilt (9-3) vs. Ole Miss (10-2)
Nashville, Tenn. – Memorial Gym – 7:30 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
TV Talent: Dave Neal (pxp), Jon Sundvold (analyst)
Radio: Vanderbilt Radio Network from IMG College, vucommodores.com
Radio Talent: Joe Fisher (pxp), Tim Thompson (analyst)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 134, XM 190
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 Ole Miss, Vanderbilt will move to 1,044 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)
A freshman has also led the Commodores in scoring in every game this season.
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 715-706.