Wildcats Await Commodores Saturday in Lexington

Vanderbilt men’s basketball heads to Rupp Arena on Saturday evening to take on the Kentucky Wildcats for their second consecutive road contest.  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 dropped to 9-5 on the season and 0-2 in league play after an 82-63 defeat at the hands of Georgia on Wednesday night in Athens, Ga.  Sophomore guard Saben Lee led the Commodores with 12 points, while freshman Simisola Shittu and sophomore Maxwell Evans each added 10 points.  Shittu also notched 14 rebounds to garner his third double-double of his career.

The Commodores were limited to 32.9% from the floor, 24.0% from three, and 73.3% from the free-throw line in the loss.

Vanderbilt Basketball Quick Hitters

  • Shittu was named the conference’s Freshman of the Week last week after averaging 19 points, nine rebounds and 3.5 assists against UNC Asheville and Ole Miss.  Shittu is the Commodores’ second Freshman of the Week selection, joining Darius Garland, who won the honor in the first week of the season.
  • Shittu’s 21 points was the most by a Vanderbilt freshman in an SEC opener since A.J. Ogilvy scored 25 points in an 80-73 win over South Carolina at Memorial Gym on January 9, 2008.
  • Vanderbilt, an inaugural member of the Southeastern Conference, are 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 303rd-most experienced team in the country according to KenPom.com.   
  • Nine Commodores have scored in double figures in a game so far this season.
  • Kentucky will be the second ranked team Vanderbilt has faced this season.  The Commodores won their only other meeting with a ranked opponent this season when they 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 372 times this season, which tops all SEC schools and ranks 32nd nationally.  Vanderbilt is second in the SEC and is 27th nationally in free throw makes with 266.
  • Vanderbilt also ranks in the top five in the SEC in 3FG Attempts (4th, 335), Defensive rebounds per game (3rd, 28.86), Fewest Fouls (4th, 243), Fewest Turnovers (3rd, 178), Scoring Offense (5th, 80.6), 3FG% Defense (5th, 32.2), 3FG Made per game (5th, 8.1), Total 3FG made (5th, 113), Total Rebounds (3rd, 561), Rebounds per game (4th, 40.07), and Turnovers per game (3rd, 12.7).
  • Individually, Lee is ranked in the top 10 in the SEC in assists per game (9th, 3.7), free throw attempts (2nd, 93), and free throws made (2nd, 68), and assist-to turnover ratio (10th, 1.53).  Ryan is ranked in 3FG attempts (5th, 90), 3FG per game (7th, 2.4), and total threes made (6th, 34), while Shittu is ranked in defensive rebounds per game (3rd, 6.4), double doubles (8th, 3), free throw attempts (5th, 83), free throws made (6th, 56), rebounds per game (5th, 8.3), and total rebounds (4th, 116).
  • 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.   
  • 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, including four of his last six. 
  • 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.  

About Kentucky
Series Record: 
UK leads, 144-47.
Last Meeting:  UK win, 83-81 in overtime, on 1/30/18 in Lexington.
Record at Vanderbilt:  UK leads 54-27.
Record at Kentucky:  UK leads 85-15.
Record at Neutral Site:  Tied at 5.
Coach Drew vs. Kentucky:  Coach Drew is 0-4 against Kentucky.

  • Kentucky enters the game with an 11-3 overall record and a 1-1 mark in SEC play.
  • Keldon Johnson leads the Wildcats in scoring with 15.6 points per game.  Reid Travis (13.8), Tyler Herro (13.8), and P.J. Washington (12.5) also average double figures.
  • This will be the 192nd meeting between the two schools, with Kentucky holding a 144-47 advantage in the series.  The Wildcats are 85-15 all-time against the Commodores in Lexington, and 39-2 against Vanderbilt at Rupp Arena.  Vanderbilt’s only wins came at Rupp came in 2006 and 2007.  The Wildcats are the Commodores’ second-most played all-time opponent (Tennessee first, 195 career meetings).    
  • Vanderbilt is 15-87 all-time against a ranked Kentucky team and 1-51 against ranked Wildcat teams in Lexington.  The only win came at Rupp Arena on January 20, 2007 (#25 Kentucky, W, 72-67).
  • Kentucky has won four straight games in the series.  Vanderbilt’s last win came at Memorial Gym on February 27, 2016 (74-62).

Vanderbilt (9-5, 0-2) vs. #18/18 Kentucky (11-3. 1-1)
Lexington, Ky. – Rupp Arena – 7:30 p.m. CT
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:  XM 383
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 Kentucky, Vanderbilt will move to 1,046 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 715-710.