When and where: January 12, 2019, Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY, 8:30 PM ET
The Vanderbilt Commodores are looking to bounce back from two consecutive losses on Saturday night when they visit the No. 18-ranked Kentucky Wildcats. Losses to Mississippi and Georgia have the Commodores hungry to pull off the biggest upset of the weekend. The Wildcats, on the other hand, knocked off Texas A&M at home after being upset by Alabama on the road.
Shooting woes continue for Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt competed valiantly on the road against Georgia before getting blown out in the second half. The final score was 83-62 in another game that highlighted the stark contrast in shooting percentages for the Commodores at home and on the road. Their respectable 49.7 shooting percentage at home drops to a pitiful 35.7 percent when they’re playing on the road.
They went 6-of-25 from 3-pointer in Wednesday’s loss to the Bulldogs and shot only 32.9 percent from the floor. It’s hard to win games on the road at this level shooting the ball that poorly.
Only two starters for the Commodores scored in double figures. Sophomore guard Saben Lee led the team with 12 points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals, while freshman forward Simisola Shittu netted a double-double with 10 points, 14 rebounds and three assists.
Kentucky takes advantage of opportunities
Being opportunistic is the first trait of a good basketball team. You don’t always need the flashiest offense to impose your will over an opponent. It’s a concept Wildcats coach John Calipari has relentlessly drilled into his players. In Tuesday’s 85-74 win over Texas A&M, they took advantage of turnovers and consistently made the Aggies pay on the other end of the floor.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) January 9, 2019
They also forced Texas A&M’s top-two scorers, Jay Jay Chandler and TJ Starks, into foul trouble. The ability to consistently get to the free throw line and knock down shots paid off in the end. As a collective group, the team hit 21-of-23 free throw shots.
Freshman guard Tyler Herro led the pack with 21 points and five rebounds, while Ashton Hagans notched 18 points, five assists and five steals under his belt.
- Wildcats are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 Saturday games
- Wildcats are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games against teams with a winning straight up record
- Wildcats are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games against teams in the SEC
- Wildcats are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games against teams with a losing road record
- Commodores are 8-24 ATS in their last 32 games against teams with a winning % above .600
- Commodores are 9-27 ATS in their last 36 games against teams with a winning straight up record
- Commodores are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games
- Commodores are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games against teams with a winning home record
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Commodores haven’t shown even a resemblance to the same team when playing on the road. Not only will they be playing on the road on Saturday, but they’ll be playing against one of the top teams in the country. This game looks like an absolute mismatch on paper, and I believe it’ll play out accordingly once the two teams step on the court.
The Commodores averaging 10 percent less in shooting on the road is a staggering statistic, but they are also giving up an average of 77.2 points to opposing offenses. Meanwhile, Kentucky has the No. 19th-ranked scoring offense in the country, which is averaging 84.9 points per game at home.
There aren’t many ways for Vanderbilt to match-up in this game. I expect Hagans to continue to be aggressive and draw multiple fouls. Keldon Johnson, Kentucky’s leading scorer, should also have a better night after going 2-of-9 from the floor for only eight points against Texas A&M.
Prediction: Kentucky Wildcats (-13)
Full-Game Total Pick
The under is 7-2 in the last nine head-to-head meetings between the Commodores and Wildcats. At least the Commodores are more efficient on defense than Texas A&M. However, it’ll be their lack of offensive firepower on the road that’ll propel the over bet to a victory.
Prediction: Under (151.5)