Wednesday Headlines: Senior Night and Vanderbilt Gameday Edition

Mar 1, 2023 - 12:40 PM
Syndication: The Tennessean
George Walker IV / / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tonight is special in many ways, but most importantly because the Kentucky Wildcats will honor their seniors vs. Vanderbilt in UK’s final home game of the season. Unlike most John Calipari-coached teams, this year’s roster has six seniors on it: Antonio Reeves, Brennan Canada, CJ Fredrick, Jacob Toppin, Oscar Tshiebwe and Sahvir Wheeler.

Reeves, Toppin and Tshiebwe are all healthy and have been playing big minutes this season. Fredrick was able to return from a lingering injury on Saturday vs. Auburn, but Wheeler has remained sidelined with his own bugging injury.

Canada has only played in eight minutes this season across a total of four games.

It’s unclear who will start tonight, but Calipari did mention on his weekly radio show that he would start five seniors.

Kentucky’s first matchup against Vanderbilt came just over a month ago when the Wildcats beat the Commodores, 69-53. However, Kentucky followed up that performance with a 2-3 record over their next five games — including their crumbling loss to Georgia.

This is a new Kentucky team, though, as they’ve won four straight games since that Georgia loss. All four of those wins have been Quad One victories, too.

In fact, the Wildcats have been so impressive over the last two weeks that they’re now back in the Associated Press Top-25 rankings at No. 23.

In regards to the postseason, a win tonight would lock up the No. 3 seed for Kentucky in next week’s SEC Tournament. That No. 3 seed seemed like something that was impossible just a few weeks ago, but recent success against Tennessee and Auburn have turned things around for the Wildcats.

A win over Vanderbilt also gives Kentucky more momentum heading into their clash with Arkansas on Saturday. The Wildcats were ran off their home court back in early February, so a redemption win would have to feel pretty good as the regular season comes to a close.

Tonight’s tip-off vs. Vanderbilt is scheduled for 7 PM ET with coverage on the SEC Network.

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