The Vanderbilt Commodores put up one of their best efforts in SEC play for a couple of years before eventually falling 71-62 to the No. 13 Kentucky Wildcats.
By Steve Wright
Next up is a visit from Florida and here are the three keys to that game:
One of the best aspects of the game against Kentucky was that the ‘Dores took the fight to the Cats. This is a team that couple easily have given up on the season and while it is true that Kentucky has played to the standard of its competition this year, the ‘Dores still found a way to lead 35-27 at halftime.
That this was on the road – as a 20.5 point underdog – was even more impressive. Sure, the attack ran out of ammunition in the final six minutes, but Vanderbilt controlled almost three-quarters of the game against a team loaded with NBA talent. Playing like this, with the heart and skill shown at Rupp, will be huge going forwards.
Keep feeding Dylan Disu
With major players still missing minutes it has been important for the Commodores to find a player who can pick up some of the slack. Dylan Disu has been that man at times this season and he picked up his third double-double of the campaign against Kentucky.
Disu went for 13 points and 11 rebounds – he added five blocks for good measure – with the 6-foot-9 freshman looking like a player that Vanderbilt can build around both this year and – importantly – over the next few seasons. This rebuild is a long game and in Disu there is at least one piece in place.
Win on the glass
The Gators are a weird team. They have no business riding a three-game losing streak, not least because they let Mississippi State outscore them by 17-points after halftime on Wednesday night. They have some star freshman and an elite transfer in Kerry Blackshear Jr., but for whatever reason it isn’t working.
One area that Vandy need to keep the Gators struggling on is rebounding. This is a problem for Vandy as they don’t match up well against anyone on the boards, but Florida ranking 224th in the country in offensive rebounding and 258th in defensive rebounding means that there might be some potential for success here.