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First Scouting Report: UK will seek to prevent Vandy from ruining another Senior Night

A look ahead to the Kentucky Wildcats’ next men’s basketball game:

The opponent

No. 10 Kentucky (21-8, 11-5 SEC) will face Vanderbilt (8-21, 3-13 SEC) on Wednesday, March 6, at Rupp Arena (seating capacity 20,545) at Central Bank Center in downtown Lexington.

The game will tip off at 9 p.m. EST and be telecast by the SEC Network.

Coach Jerry Stackhouse’s Commodores lost 75-61 at home to LSU on Saturday.

Series history

Kentucky leads the all-time series with Vanderbilt 156-49.

As UK head man, John Calipari is 25-6 vs. the Commodores.

Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse is 2-9 vs. UK.

Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse directed the Commodores to a 68-66 win over Kentucky at Rupp Arena last season that spoiled the Wildcats’ Senior Night. Vandy will be back at Rupp on Wednesday for another UK Senior Night contest. Silas Walker/swalker@herald-leader.com
Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse directed the Commodores to a 68-66 win over Kentucky at Rupp Arena last season that spoiled the Wildcats’ Senior Night. Vandy will be back at Rupp on Wednesday for another UK Senior Night contest. Silas Walker/swalker@herald-leader.com

Most recent meeting

Antonio Reeves led six Kentucky players in double figures with 24 points as the Wildcats blasted Vanderbilt 109-77 at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville on Feb. 6, 2024.

Rob Dillingham chipped in 20 points for UK, followed by Justin Edwards with 17, Jordan Burks with 13, Aaron Bradshaw 12 and Zvonimir Ivisic 11.

Evan Taylor had 20 points to lead Vanderbilt.

UK won without two of its normal starters, as point guard D.J. Wagner (ankle) and forward Tre Mitchell (back) missed the contest due to injuries.

Kentucky guard Antonio Reeves (12) had a game-high 24 points in UK’s 109-77 win at Vanderbilt on Feb. 6. Silas Walker/swalker@herald-leader.com
Kentucky guard Antonio Reeves (12) had a game-high 24 points in UK’s 109-77 win at Vanderbilt on Feb. 6. Silas Walker/swalker@herald-leader.com

Power rankings

In the Pomeroy Ratings, Kentucky is No. 18 and Vanderbilt No. 192.

The NCAA NET rankings have Kentucky No. 20, Vanderbilt No. 215.

Know your foe

1. After losing 14 straight games against Kentucky, Vanderbilt came into Rupp Arena on March 1, 2023, and spoiled UK’s Senior Night with a 68-66 win.

Vandy’s Jordan Wright scored the final four of his 23 points in the final minute to lift the Commodores from a 66-64 deficit to victory. Wright drove baseline for a layup with 42 seconds left to tie the game. He then won it for Vandy by draining an 8-foot fall-away jumper with 2.6 seconds left.

Vanderbilt guard Jordan Wright (4) shoots the game-winning shot over Kentucky forward Chris Livingston (24) during their game in Rupp Arena last year. Silas Walker/swalker@herald-leader.com
Vanderbilt guard Jordan Wright (4) shoots the game-winning shot over Kentucky forward Chris Livingston (24) during their game in Rupp Arena last year. Silas Walker/swalker@herald-leader.com

Kentucky suffered through a horrid shooting night, making only 19 of 59 on field-goal tries and 3 of 19 3-pointers. UK missed 10 free throws, too, going 25-for-35.

Vanderbilt’s upset gave John Calipari his third loss in the past four senior send-off games at Rupp Arena. Calipari and UK also lost on Senior Night/Day to Tennessee (81-73) in 2019-20 and Florida (71-67) in 2020-21.

Since Rupp Arena opened in 1976-77, UK is 41-6 in Senior Night/Day games.

2. In what has been a challenging season, Vanderbilt earned its best result of the season Tuesday night when the Commodores surprised Arkansas in Fayetteville 85-82.

Vandy got big games from veteran guards Erza Manjon (22 points) and Tyrin Lawrence (21) as well as sophomore forward Ven-Allen Lubin (19 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks).

The victory at Arkansas was only Vanderbilt’s third win this season against another power conference opponent and was the Commodores’ first such victory outside of Nashville.

3. Vanderbilt’s primary issue in 2023-24 has been its difficulty in scoring.

Out of 351 NCAA Division I teams, the Commodores entered play Saturday ranked No. 317 in points a game (66.8).

Vanderbilt entered Saturday’s game with LSU 339th in NCAA Division I in field-goal percentage (39.5%) and No. 342 in 3-point percentage (28.5%).

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