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Vanderbilt at Purdue: Preview, Odds, & How to Watch

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Purdue gets a rematch with Vanderbilt, who earned a 10-point win over the Boilers last year.

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You want a win over a ranked team in the non-conference? Well, here is chance number two. Purdue came up short in a comeback bid Saturday against Butler, but No. 25 Vanderbilt comes to Mackey Arena tonight as Purdue looks to close out the non-conference portion of the schedule. Sure, the win at Pittsburgh was fantastic and the Panthers will eventually be in the top 25, but when you beat a team with a little number next to their name at game time it means just a little bit more.

A Purdue victory tonight would give it four very, very good wins in non-conference play (Pittsburgh, Florida, and New Mexico are all already good). Most Purdue fans would have taken a 12-1 non-conference mark when the year started, too. Hopefully this will calm down the large "WE LOST A GAME FIRE PAINTER!" contingent that emerged. To that, I say RELAX. Purdue lost a game to a ranked team on a "neutral" floor. It was clearly one of those "off" days where few things go right and the Boilers still had the basketball with a chance to tie in the last 30 seconds. If Purdue can play as poorly as it did on Saturday and still have a chance to beat a ranked team I think we'll be okay.

The chance to rebound and show it was just a blip begins tonight. I will be in attendance with a credential for the second straight game, so hopefully I am not the reason for the loss on Saturday.

Opponent

Vanderbilt Commodores

Location:

Nashville, TN

Date:

12/22/2015

Venue:

Mackey Arena (14,846), West Lafayette, IN

TV:

Big Ten Network

Radio Stream:

TuneIn

Satellite Radio:

SIRI 136, XM

Odds:

Purdue by 6

Tickets:

As low as $50 on Stubhub

Tipoff:

8pm

KenPom Ranking:

17 of 351

RPI:

51

Blog Representation:

Anchor of Gold

2015-16 Record:

7-3

All-time series

Vanderbilt leads 3-2

Last Purdue win:

43-22 on 12/30/29 at Purdue

Last Vanderbilt Win:

81-71 on 12/13/2014 at Vanderbilt

2014-15 Record:

20-14, 9-9 SEC (Reached NIT quarterfinals)

Last NCAA appearance:

2012 (13 appearances) Best finish, 1965 Elite 8

Coach:

Kevin Stallings (17th Season at Vanderbilt, 320-209), 443-272 overall

It has been almost 86 years since Vanderbilt played at Purdue. Mackey arena didn't even exist then. In fact, John Wooden was a rising sophomore star the last time they came to Purdue, which was also the last win in this series for the Boilermakers. Last season the two teams played for the first time in almost 40 years and the Commodores used a hot shooting from Riley LaChance (26 points on 9 of 13 shooting) to get a 10 points win in Nashville. It was right in the middle of Purdue's worst stretch of play all season.

Much of the same team for Vandy is back, and that is a reason they have been in the top 25 all year. They were the runner-up out in Maui, pushing Kansas before losing by 7 in the final. They lost by two points at Baylor and fell to a very good Dayton team in Nashville for their other two losses. So far they are 0-3 in major RPI-building games, so this is a bit of a must-win for them to get any heft out of their own non-conference schedule. To date their best win is over either Detroit or Wake Forest. They would have played Indiana in the semifinals in Maui had the Hoosiers not lost to Wake Forest.

Purdue and Vanderbilt are almost mirror-image teams. Purdue averages 82.1 points per game while Vanderbilt averages 81.4. Purdue ranks first nationally for adjusted defense according to KenPom while Vanderbilt is also very good at 17th. In adjusted offense Purdue is 27th while Vanderbilt is 23rd. Both of these teams also feature multiple 7-footers.

One major difference is that Vanderbilt will be without one of their 7-footers tonight. Luke Kornet, their No. 3 scorer at 9.5 points will be out with a knee injury. He is also a major presence on defense with 6.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game. One would thing that would be a major advantage for Purdue, but in last season's game foul trouble limited him to just two rebounds, two blocks, and not even a single shot attempt in 23 minutes.

Vanderbilt still has two other 7-footers they can throw at Purdue. Damian Jones is more of a scorer at 13.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Unlike Kornet, he plays much closer to the basket. He had 15 points against Purdue with five rebounds. Kornet has been known to venture outside with 22 three-points in eights games. He is just not good at it with only three makes. A third 7-footer, Josh Henderson, plays well in relief of Jones. Henderson averages 5.1 points and 2.8 rebounds as a solid back-up.

The fun battle tonight will be Rapheal Davis defensively on Wade Baldwin IV. Some draft boards have Baldwin as a first round pick, and he is averaging 14.8 points and 3.2 assists to lead Vanderbilt in both categories. He is shooting better than 50% both from the floor and from three, so he is a dangerous player that can get hot. Last year Purdue held him to just three points, however.

LaChance is also still playing for the Commodores, and he is as dangerous as ever from long range. He is the epitome of "never leave the white guy open" as a sharpshooting 6'2" guard. He is hitting 44.7% from three, and Matthew Fisher-Davis is even better at 48.9%. LaChance and Fisher-Davis are a combined 39 of 83 from long range.

Vanderbilt is going to be a tough, tough matchup because they have three very good shooters plus a post presence that can match up with our size inside. They also take care of the basketball and rebound well. This is really a game where we will see if Purdue can beat Purdue.