Show Me My Opponent, 2020-21: Vanderbilt (#1)

Lineup notes

Vanderbilt:

  • Jerry Stackhouse has run out six different starting lineups in nine games. Amazingly, he’s one of the few coaches I’ve seen to actually revert to his first starting lineup in a stretch like this. So: Pippen, Evans, Harvey, Disu, Millora-Brown.
  • Vanderbilt’s best luck and schedule-adjusted lineup, per Hoop-Explorer, is Pippen/Thomas/Harvey/Stute/Disu. Naturally, they started this lineup one time (Florida, when it outscored the Gators 33-26 in a game they lost 91-72) and never went back to it.
  • Stackhouse has regularly given nine guys 10+ minutes a game. Ejike Obinna is the swing guy, as he played three minutes against Kentucky and eight against Mississippi State.

Tennessee:

  • Well, Tennessee’s run out three different starting lineups in the last three games, but the most recent starting lineup outscored Texas A&M by 11 points in 14 minutes. So: Vescovi, Springer, James, Pons, Fulkerson.
  • That also happens to be Tennessee’s best luck and schedule-adjusted lineup so far.
  • Two trends I’m watching for: Rick Barnes seems to be slowly working towards a seven-man rotation, as E.J. Anosike has played just 10 minutes in the last two games. Also, Olivier Nkamhoua went from playing at least eight minutes in all but one non-conference game to getting no more than four minutes in any SEC game.

Key matchups

Scotty Pippen, Jr. vs. Santiago Vescovi. Kinda seems like the matchup. Vescovi probably won’t go 6-for-10 from three again, but Pippen isn’t a great defender and Vescovi should have several opportunities to score. Tennessee may experiment with doubling Pippen in the ball-screen sets and forcing the ball out of his hands.

Dylan Disu vs. Yves Pons. Or also Fulkerson, but to start, it’ll likely be Pons. Disu is the only non-Pippen player that has even a prayer of creating his own shot, mostly inside. Pons is an elite defender, but I’d like to see him back down Disu in the post and force Disu to either get aggressive or make Vanderbilt double in the post to create an offensive 4-on-3 situation.

Three predictions

  1. Tennessee will win the turnover margin for the 11th straight game;
  2. Tennessee gets at least 20 free throw attempts;
  3. Tennessee, 77-59.

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