Vanderbilt travels to Brooklyn to take on Virginia in NIT Tip-Off


Claire Barnett

Vanderbilt plays the University of Southern California in basketball on Sunday, November 19, 2017. (Photo by Claire Barnett)

Cutler Klein, Sports Editor

The Vanderbilt Commodores are hitting the Big Apple.

As families across the country sit down for turkey, gravy and stuffing, the Commodores will be looking for their third win of the season when they take on the 25th-ranked Virginia Cavaliers in the NIT Tip-Off at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

This will be the seventh all-time meeting between the Cavaliers and the Commodores, and the first on neutral court.

Here’s the skinny on this showdown in the five boroughs.

The Basics

Time: 3 p.m. central

Place: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York


Matchups to Watch

G Kyle Guy vs. G Matthew Fisher-Davis

Virginia’s shooting guard has been lighting it up through four games this season, putting up more than 13 points in each of their first four games. He’s also been a workhorse for the Cavaliers, leading the team in minutes per game. Whether he’s on or off the ball, he’s a skilled player in the backcourt that will be the team’s leader. Virginia’s projected three-guard formation will also allow Guy to open up his game a bit.

Fisher-Davis was lights-out for Vanderbilt against USC, racking up 30 points and 11 rebounds. However, in this game, his biggest contributions might be on defense. He may have to take on Guy on defense and slow him down. This will be a tall task, but if Fisher-Davis can effectively slow down Guy, Vanderbilt will have a much easier time with this game.

Vanderbilt’s height vs. Virginia’s height

According to their game notes, Virginia plans on starting three guards (Guy, Devon Hall and Ty Jerome), but their biggest strength might be in their big men. 6’7” senior Isaiah Wilkins is Virginia’s best player by far, and he’ll be a force to be reckoned with on the floor. They’ll also likely start 6’10” center Jack Salt.

This might create a problem for Vanderbilt. The Commodores have three big men on their roster: Djery Baptiste, Ejike Obinna and Clevon Brown. Head coach Bryce Drew tends to only play one of them at a time to avoid foul trouble, but if Wilkins and Salt get going, he may be forced into playing two bigs at once. Baptiste was a standout against USC, and if he continues to improve, he’ll be a big help to Vanderbilt. However, if any of Vanderbilt’s centers find themselves in early foul trouble, the Commodores could have a tough day on the glass.

Stat Nuggets and Fun Facts

-Fisher-Davis’ 30-point, 11-rebound performance against USC was the first 30-10 outing for Vanderbilt since A.J. Ogilvy’s against LSU on March 4, 2009

-Vanderbilt is 5-1 all-time against Virginia, with their last matchup coming on December 12, 1995, a 61-48 Vanderbilt win in Charlottesville

-Virginia is last in the ACC in rebounds per game with 31.5, while they are tied for 11th in the conference in points per game

-This will be the Commodores’ third game all-time at the Barclays Center, having participated in the 2014 Barclays Center Classic. In that tournament, they fell by three to Rutgers before beating La Salle 68-55

-Vanderbilt will be playing in a Tri-State area preseason tournament for the third time in six years, having played in the 2014 Barclays Center Classic and the TicketCity Legends Classic at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey in 2011, knocking off NC State 86-79

-Both Vanderbilt Hustler sports editors hail from New York

The Vanderbilt Hustler’s New York-based editorial staff will be on-site at the Barclays Center to provide live coverage of the Commodores’ two games in Brooklyn this week.