Bucknell (0-1) at (18) Vanderbilt (1-1)
Tuesday, November 15th, 8:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Gymnasium (14,168) -- Nashville, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: Bucknell 0-0, Vanderbilt 1-1. Away Record: Bucknell 0-1, Vanderbilt 0-0. Neutral Record: Bucknell 0-0, Vanderbilt 0-0. Conference Record: Bucknell 0-0, Vanderbilt 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The 18th-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores seek a quick turnaround, as they welcome the Bucknell Bison to Nashville for Legend's Classic action at Memorial Gymnasium.
There was a great deal of optimism heading into the 2011-12 season for Vanderbilt. The Commodores opened the season with a solid 78-64 victory over Oregon at home. However, the optimism has been tempered a bit following Sunday's 71-58 home loss to Cleveland State. With the setback, Vanderbilt plummeted out of the top-10 in the national poll, settling in at number 18 this week.
The Bison won the Patriot League last season and finished the year with an impressive 25-9 overall record. With the Patriot League Player of the Year back in the fold, it should be another solid season for Dave Paulsen's squad. However, an ambitious early season schedule has already resulted in a loss, as Bucknell dropped the season-opener at Minnesota, 70-58.
This marks the first-ever meeting between these two teams on the hardwood.
The Bison had their hands full at Minnesota in the opener, as the team struggled finding its offensive groove, shooting just .348 from the floor overall, including a dismal .227 in the second half, turning a two-point halftime deficit into a 12-point loss. Bryson Johnson led the way for Bucknell with 16 points, going 4-of-9 from three-point range. Cameron Ayers added perimeter support with 13 points. Last year's Patriot League Player of the Year Mike Muscala struggled with his shot (2-of-10), but still finished with a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. The Bison know what they have in Muscala, but it will be up to his supporting cast to keep the Bison competitive against the better teams on the schedule this year.
Vanderbilt was done in by a cold shooting performance against the Vikings, spotting Cleveland State a 16-point lead early on and unable to get back in the game. The Commodores shot a mere 35.3 percent in the game, weighed down by a 29.2-percent clip in the first half. In addition, the team turned the ball over a costly 21 times, which Cleveland State turned into 22 points. John Jenkins led the way offensively for Vandy with 17 points. He was joined in double figures by Lance Goulbourne, who netted 11. Jenkins, who led the SEC in scoring last season (19.5 ppg), is getting it done again, starting the season off with 20.5 ppg two games in. Jeffery Taylor (15.0 ppg) and Brad Tinsley (10.0 ppg) have been solid early on as well.
The Commodores are certainly disappointed with their performance on Sunday. Look for a much more energized bunch this evening. Muscala is likely to get his, but Vanderbilt's overall depth will prove to be too much in the end.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Vanderbilt 73, Bucknell 57
11/15 10:34:46 ET