Brendon Mulvihill is an RTC contributor. You can find him @themulv on Twitter. See bottom of the post for the Official RTC Star System.
More great conference action tonight as one team looks to prevent history from repeating and repeating and repeating.
Vanderbilt at Alabama – 7:00PM EST on ESPN2 HD (****)
- Vanderbilt is a different team with Festus Ezeli on the court. The Commodores are 5-3 without Ezeli and 8-1 with him. While the schedule was also more difficult when he was injured, his impact on both the offense and defense is undeniable. Keep a close eye on how he manages the interior against Alabama’s JaMychal Green. Green lit up the Commodores for 23 points last year in a losing effort. Vanderbilt has certainly torn through its first three SEC opponents this year, shooting 47% from three and almost 55% from two. Alabama and its top-five defense will present very difficult obstacle for Kevin Stallings’ team particularly on the Crimson Tide’s home court. A key factor in this game will be Vanderbilt’s ability to get second chance points on missed shots. Alabama’s field goal defense is so strong, especially against the three, that the Commodores can easily go one and done and shoot themselves out of this game.
- Alabama is only allowing teams to shoot 25.7% from three-point land. With Vanderbilt’s bread and butter being the long ball, this sets up for very interesting situation on the perimeter when Alabama is on defense. Give the edge to Alabama as they have only allowed two opponents to shoot over 50% eFG so far this season. The Commodores shoot 42% of their field goal attempts from downtown. Look to see how Vanderbilt adjusts their offense against such tough perimeter defense.
- This game sets up as another offense versus defense match-up. However, the key may actually be on the offensive boards. Neither team is particularly fantastic on the defensive glass and offensive rebounding is a key factor in the offensive efficiency of both teams. The team with more second chance points should win this game.