Dave Klinger (Photo: Marquette Athletics)
It’s game day. Your Marquette Golden Eagles face the Vanderbilt Commodores tonight at the U.S. Naval Academy in the Veterans Classic tip-off at 5:30 CT on CBS Sports Network.
In an effort to preview the opponent, we spoke with SB Nation’s Anchor of Gold.
Why will Vanderbilt win?
AOG: New Vanderbilt head coach Bryce Drew emphasizes defense and rebounding, and the latter is something Marquette was bad at last season. Vanderbilt can do quite a bit to take away easy baskets at the rim, and they have some dangerous shooters on the perimeter. If Marquette’s not hitting their jump shots, this could be a long night for the Golden Eagles.
Why will Vanderbilt lose?
AOG: Marquette needs Luke Fischer to come up big here. Vanderbilt’s Luke Kornet led the SEC in blocks last year, and so much of what Vanderbilt tries to do defensively goes through him. If Marquette can get him in foul trouble, the house of cards falls apart because Vanderbilt doesn’t have much quality depth up front, and Vanderbilt’s guards would have to double down to compensate and free up the perimeter. That would also mean for Vanderbilt either playing small or going with untested redshirt freshman Djery Baptiste down low.
On the other end, Vanderbilt’s adjusting to a new coach and a new playing style, and there may still be some kinks to work out.
Who should I be afraid of?
AOG: My answer’s probably pretty obvious right now, but it’s Luke Kornet: 7’1″, 250 pounds, decent jump shooter, good shot blocker, and pretty good in the post. Why shouldn’t you be afraid?
Make a prediction.
AOG: I like Vanderbilt in a close one. I’ll say 67-65 is the final. The Commodores will hit just enough shots to make up for some of the inevitable mistakes that come with a new system.
Tweet us your thoughts at @mubbnation, or comment below.