The Vanderbilt Commodores (20-8, 9-4 Southeastern Conference) will be looking for some payback Saturday as they invade Rupp Arena to take on the No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats (27-1, 13-0 SEC). The Commodores, fresh off a 59-48 victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks on Wednesday night, have not lost since going down to the Cats two weeks ago.
Kentucky, coming off a hard-fought, come-from-behind 73-64 win at Mississippi State on Tuesday night, will attempt to take one more step toward accomplishing UK’s first undefeated SEC season since the 2003 league schedule.
The first meeting
On Feb. 11, Kentucky traveled to Nashville, Tenn., to take on the Commodores and came away with a 69-63 win. The Cats led by 13 points at the half, but behind the outstanding second-half 3-point shooting of Brad Tinsley (2 of 3), Jeffery Taylor (2 of 4) and John Jenkins (1 of 4) the ‘Dores made a strong run at UK, leading 55-51 with 8:42 remaining. UK held steady, though, with Vandy’s last lead coming with 4:10 remaining at 63-61. UK’s Doron Lamb then nailed a trey of his own, putting the Cats up one point, a lead they would not relinquish.
Kentucky placed four players in double figures, led by Lamb’s 16 points and Anthony Davis’ 15 points and seven blocks. Terrence Jones added 14 points and nine rebounds, while Marquis Teague dropped in 13 points and dished out eight assists. Kentucky connected on 48.3 percent of its shots, while holding Vandy to only 38.5 percent field-goal accuracy.
Vanderbilt also had four players score in double digits. Jenkins led the ‘Dores with 15 points on 2-of-7 3-point shooting, and Taylor, Tinsley and Festus Ezeli all scored 13 points.
Overall, UK leads the series with Vandy 135-44, with the Cats posting a 75-14 record against the ‘Dores in Lexington. Kentucky has won four of the last five meetings between the two schools, and UK head coach John Calipari is 5-1 versus the Commodores.
UK as No. 1
The Cats boast a 164-25 mark when playing as the No. 1 team in the nation. This season, Kentucky is 10-1 as No. 1, and the Wildcats are 18-4 over their last 22 games as the top ranked outfit in the country. When playing at home as the No.1 team, Kentucky is 62-7 all-time.
Coach Cal, over the life of his career, has posted a 52-7 mark as the coach of the No. 1 team.
UK winning steaks and excellence from Cal
- Currently, Kentucky is on a 50-game home court winning streak, the longest such stretch in the nation. Harvard is next in line, having won 27 in a row at home.
- On the season, UK has won 19 straight games, which ties Calipari’s longest winning streak since he arrived in Lexington nearly three years ago. In addition, the Cats’ 19-game win streak ranks 10th all-time in Kentucky history, 13 games behind the 32 consecutive contests the Adolph Rupp-led Wildcats won between Dec. 5, 1953 and Jan. 8, 1955.
- Kentucky’s 13-0 start to the SEC slate is the school’s best league start since the 2003 season.
- Since the 2005-06 season, John Calipari has posted a 226-26 record (.897), the best winning percentage in the nation in that time.
UK has held its opponents to an average of 54.6 points per game … The Cats lead the SEC in 11 statistical categories: scoring defense (58.2), scoring margin (plus-19.4), free-throw percentage (72.1), field-goal percentage (48.5), field-goal percentage defense (36.3), rebounding offense (39.3), rebounding defense (32.0), rebounding margin (plus-7.3), blocked shots per game (9.1), defensive rebounds per game (26.7), offensive rebound percentage (38.8) … Kentucky is currently 14th all-time in most blocks in a college basketball season with 255, 60 blocks behind UConn’s record 315 blocks in 2004 … Marquis Teague’s assist/turnover ratio in SEC games sits at 1.9, better than either John Wall (1.3) or Brandon Knight (1.4) … Over the last 10 games, Teague has handed out 56 assists to only 23 turnovers, good for an outstanding 2.4 assist/turnover ratio … Teague, with his 132 assists, ranks fifth all-time on UK’s freshman assist list, 109 dimes behind John Wall (2009-10) … With 133 blocks on the season, Anthony Davis ranks 11th on UK’s CAREER block shot list, two behind Nazr Mohammed, seven behind Tayshaun Prince and eight behind Marquis Estill.
Tip-off is scheduled for noon ET, with television by CBS.