Date/Time: Saturday January 30th, 2010, 4:00p TV: ESPN
Vandy comes into Rupp Saturday on a 10-game win streak as Kentucky is coming off of its first loss of the season. Vandy is 10-0 at home, and the fact that this game is at Rupp obviously plays huge in Kentucky’s favor. The Nashville crowd would surely be a factor in encouraging their boys to dig their claws even deeper into an already “wounded” Kentucky. Again, Kentucky plays on a nationally-televised stage: ESPN.
The ‘Dores are coming off a big 85-76 win at Tennessee on Wednesday, no small feat against a team that had been rolling after some publicly embarrassing off the court issues. Tennessee had won 7 straight before losing to Georgia and then Vandy. Against the Vols the Dores had 4 players in double figures, led by guard Jermaine Beal with 25.
Vanderbilt has 4 players averaging in double figures on the season, topping out with Jeffrey Taylor and A. J. Ogilvy at 14; they each also contribute 5 and 6 rebounds per game, respectively. Other notable wins include victories over Arizona, Missouri, Florida, and South Carolina. Currently Vandy sits alone atop the SEC standings, being undefeated in conference play with a 5-0 record.
Needless to say, this is a big game for the Wildcats. How they respond in this game will tell us a lot about the team, not only in how well they do or do not play, but in terms of their mentality. Many in Big Blue Nation had a mild stroke after the frustrating loss against South Carolina on Tuesday, some going as far as sending messages to players’ Facebook inboxes. I firmly believe these idiots are in the minority when it comes to UK fans, but it’s that side of the fanbase that the media loves to talk about, and those few mentally unstable UK fans venting their frustrations to players personal emails (and the like) give UK fans on the whole an absolutely awful name and reputation. We forget these players are kids. We forget that the players we’re recruiting in high school are even younger kids, and they are watching. We love this game and we love this team and we love Kentucky Baskeball, but at times I think it’s imperative we all just simmer down and realize that (perhaps some think it’s a cardinal sin for any UK fan to say this) it really is just a game.
With that said, I think the Cats come away with a double-digit victory. I think Rupp will be extra-up for this game; plus, I really think we all just overreacted to the loss because we were undefeated and it was SOUTH freaking CAROLINA, of all teams. (To pat myself on the back, I did say the SEC was overlooked every year – Is there a more overlooked player than Devan Downey?) As of now, our record is a still a staggering 19-1 and we are still the number 1 team in the nation. I really have no predictions for this game except a UK victory, and look for Demarcus Cousins to be dominant again. I don’t see anyone coming close to stopping this kid anytime soon. As for the other players, I’m sure all of them know what they’re lacking in terms of performance and results, and they are working like hell to remedy it, whatever the case may be. We’ll see who steps up, who emerges, or who re-emerges.
Johnny Cash’s daugher, Roseanne, graduated from Vandy, so that’s a good excuse to post a video of Johnny: