Tonight's game features two SEC unbeatens. Afterwards, only one will remain standing. Make no mistake, this is a bigger game than the previous two, which came against very lackluster Auburn and LSU squads. Vandy is a solid basketball team with an excellent shot at making the NCAAs. A win in this one would be a big one for the Gamecocks.
Here's some information on the game. Join the open thread when the game begins.
Vanderbilt Commodores Capsule
Record: 13-3 (2-0)
Bad Losses: None
Team Strengths: Scoring Offense (78.4 ppg), Field Goal Percentage (48.8%), Field Goal Percentage Defense (39.6%),
Team Weaknesses: Free Throw Shooting (68.3%), Turnover Margin (+.4)
Season Thus Far: The OOC slate didn't really feature any surprises; the Commodores played a moderately difficult schedule and won a couple of big games and lost a few others. In SEC play so far they have been successful, outscoring Florida and surviving a shaky shooting night to beat Alabama.
What to Expect: The Commodores are, as usual, a well-coached team that does a pretty good job of taking what they're given. This team is good at finding open shots, working the post, and getting to the free throw line. They're at their best when center A.J. Ogilvy is playing plenty of minutes and is scoring points down low; this opens things up for their shooters. This game will likely go through Ogilvy, who is a huge matchup problem for the Gamecocks. We'll need to provide backside help every time he gets the ball, and if he's smart, he'll figure out ways to hit open men for easy shots. Vandy can run the court with some lineups, but while Ogilvy is in, look for them to try to slow it down. We'll try to speed the game up in these situations to take advantage of Ogilvy's cumbersomeness.
Prediction: I'm a little torn on this one. Vandy is probably a better team than us, and if we play poorly in the first half again, you had better believe we'll go into the half with a 10+ deficit. Vandy can score, and with their matchup advantages, we're going to have trouble slowing them down. However, I think if we can shoot the ball well early, we can keep this game close. If we can do that, our horses will survive the race in the end. On the first weekend home game of the SEC season, I'm going with a 1-3 point Gamecocks victory.