Second-place in the Southeastern Conference’s
Eastern Division and seeding for the SEC tournament will be on the line tonight
when No. 23 Kentucky hosts 20th-ranked Vanderbilt at Rupp Arena.
Game time is 9:00 PM ET with national
television coverage on ESPN. The Kentucky Wildcats have won 33 straight games at home and
are favored on the college basketball betting board to extend that streak over
a Commodores team that beat them earlier in the season.
A Vanderbilt Commodores win would virtually sew up
second-place while a Kentucky victory essentially ties the two clubs going into
the season finale. The Wildcats will be looking to complete a perfect regular
season and notch their fifth straight win over Vandy in the process.
Commodores (21-7 SU & 14-9-1 ATS)
The Commodores bounced back from a home loss
against Tennessee to win big at LSU 90-60 for their sixth win in seven games.
The duo of sophomore guard John Jenkins (19.5 points. 3.2 rebounds) and junior
forward Jeffrey Taylor (14.5 points, 5.5 boards) give the Commodores a potent
1-2 punch. They lead a Vandy offense that is ranked 24th in the nation in
points scored (77.1) and is 22nd in 3-point percentage (38.9) The
Commodores allow 66.8 points per game but rank ninth in the nation in 3-point
shooting defense at 28.9 percent. Junior center Festus Ezeli (12.4 points and
6.1 rebounds) has been productive in the post for the ‘Dores, who are also 42nd
in field-goal defense.
In Vanderbilt’s 30-point wipeout of LSU on
Saturday, Jeffery Taylor scored 20 points, his 21st double-figure effort of the
season and the 67th of his career. Jenkins added 17 for the winners who will be
facing some tough odds. Vandy hast won at Rupp since Jan. 20, 2007 and Kentucky
hasn’t lost a home game there since falling 90-85 to Georgia on March 4, 2009.
Vanderbilt is 4-3 on the road in the SEC and
have won their last three road trips, although two of those were against LSU
and Auburn. They are just 1-3 versus SEC East teams on the road.
Wildcats (20-8 & 10-12-1 ATS)
The Wildcats are coming off arguably their
biggest victory of the season, a 76-68 win over Florida. Freshman Brandon
Knight scored 16 points with six assists in a 76-68 win over the No. 14 Gators
while the ‘Cats other guard Darius Miller posted a career-high 24. The victory all
but assured Kentucky an invitation to the Big Dance and moved them to the brink
of a much coveted first-round bye in the SEC tournament. Freshmen Terrence
Jones (17.3 points, 9.1 rebounds) and Knight (17.7 points, 4.0 assists) both
played well against Vandy the first time with Jones scoring 25 and Knight adding
The Wildcats give it up only 11.2 times per
game but had only seven against Florida, their second lowest total of the
Kentucky is 20th in the nation in scoring
(77.6) 14th in 3-point shooting percentage (39.9) and 51st
in field-goal percentage (46.4). Defensively they’re allowing 64.5 points per
game but the Wildcats are 11th in the country in field-goal
percentage (39). Kentucky is also19th in turnovers nationally thanks to their
excellent guard play.
It’s worth noting that since losing to Vanderbilt,
Kentucky has won three of four.
Vanderbilt is 6-2-1 ATS on the road this
season while Kentucky is 2-6-1 vs. the number in its last nine games.
The Wildcats have played five straight overs
while the Commodores have played three of their last four games to the under.
Kentucky is 11-0 this season when making half
of its field-goal attempts.
Harvey’s Take: Take the ‘over’. It
will be raining 3’s and there should be points galore.