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Vegas Showdown Basketball Tournament: Game 1 - Vanderbilt

When you think of Thanksgiving, if your first thought is, “Let’s Go To Vegas!” You just might be a Wolfpacker!

2023 Pac-12 Football Media Day Photo by Louis Grasse/Getty Images

When: Thursday November 23 - 10:00 PM Eastern

Where: Vegas Showdown – Las Vegas, Michelob ULTRA Arena, Mandalay Bay

Opponent: Vanderbilt Commodores (SEC Conference)


Vanderbilt Preseason Conference Prediction: 11th (of 14) in the SEC

Pomeroy Score Prediction: Wolfpack 75 – 67

Wolfpack Snapshot: Pomeroy # 53

The Pack begins an important four game road trip that will significantly influence our post season resume. Win them all and we will point to them as evidence of our worthiness, lose any of them and someone else will do the pointing. It’s time to find out what we’re made of this season.

The Wolfpack joins the Vanderbilt Commodores, BYU Cougars, and the Arizona State Sun Devils in the inaugural, four team, Vegas Showdown tournament. Two games will be played both Thursday and Friday nights. The winners of the Thursday games will play Friday at 10:00 Eastern in the championship game, the losers at 8:00 Eastern in the third place game. The two more eastern teams are in the opener - probably so the fans will stay up, our first opponent is Vanderbilt.

The Commodores (KP #133) are the first of our three SEC opponents this season. We get them in ascending SEC preseason ranking, the Commodores were picked 11th, Ole Miss 10th, and Tennessee 1st, none of the games are at home.

Vanderbilt is coming off 22-15 NIT season during which they beat both Kentucky (twice) and Tennessee and lost to the Wolfpack at the Legends of Basketball Showcase in Chicago. They lost eight players from that team, including two of their top five scorers, so Coach Stackhouse has assembled basically an entirely new team. (sound familiar?) That, coupled with short term injuries to three key players - including their leading returning scorer, makes it difficult to know what lineup to prepare for.

Similar to the Pack, the ‘Dores (3-1) are starting their season softly, playing (and losing to) Presbyterian (KP # 263) 62-68, then beating USC Upstate (KP #291) 74-67, UNC Greensboro (KP #124) 74-70, and Central Arkansas (KP # 335) 75-71. UNC-G just topped #14 Arkansas, so that’s a solid win. Also like the Pack, this will be their first game away from home.

Team Comparison

Team Ppg FG% 3PT % 3PT pg Rpg Apg TOpg Spg Bpg
Team Ppg FG% 3PT % 3PT pg Rpg Apg TOpg Spg Bpg
NCS 81 47.40% 31.30% 7 37.3 15 7.7 8 3.7
Vanderbilt 71.3 40.60% 31.60% 9 39.5 10 12.8 5.5 2

Key Commodore Players Missing In Action

The expectation in Nashville is that we could see these guys in uniform for the first time this season on Thursday. TBD

  • Tyrin Lawrence – Preseason All SEC Guard (SR, 6’4”, 200) – At the beginning of the season Coach Stackhouse reported he was in a walking boot, he was not expected to miss more than a few weeks, but no timetable for return. Lawrence started the most games on the team last season, scored 13.1 ppg, pulled 4.4 rpg, and shot 36% from 3PT.
  • Lee Dort – (SO, 6’10”, 245) – Highly regarded recruit out of high school last season, they are expecting great things from him as a rim protector during his sophomore year. He also is expected to miss a few weeks, but is expected to play an important role this season and might move into the starting role at center.
  • Ven-Allen Lubin - (6’8”, 230) - The Sophmore transferred from Notre Dame. He started 7 games, and averaged 6.2 ppg and 4.3 Rpg, with 23 blocks for the Irish.

Probable Starters

Player Class Pos Height Weight PTS 3PT% REB ASST BLK STL TO PF
Player Class Pos Height Weight PTS 3PT% REB ASST BLK STL TO PF
Colin Smith SO F 6'8" 220 9.5 32% 9.5 0.5 0.5 1 1.25 2.25
Isaiah West FR G 6'2' 190 6.8 27% 1 0.8 1 1.25 1
Ezra Manjon GR G 6'0" 170 18.8 40% 4.8 4 2 2 1
Evan Taylor GR G/F 6'6" 205 10.5 35% 4 0.3 0.3 1 0.75 1.25
Carter Lang FR F 6'9" 235 3.3 0 6.3 0.8 0 1.75 2

Keys To The Game

The Commodores are averaging 71.3 ppg, averaging 9 3PT per game at 31.6%, they have out rebounded their opponents by 9.3 per game. They’ve had 7 different players start, and the rotation won’t settle down until the MIA players return. Based on minutes per game and shot attempts, it looks like they currently go about 8 deep consistently with Lewis being the first guard and Kamateros the first forward subs.

  • Defend the ball – While Lawrence is sidelined, this is Ezra Manjon’s team. The PG leads the team in points per game, assists per game, steals and is their 3rd leading rebounder. He doesn’t shoot the 3PT a lot (2.5pg) but has been to the free throw line 34 times (22 more than anyone else on the team) and shoots 91% from the stripe. Slow him down, while avoiding sending him to the line, and the Commodores will have a problem.
  • Three point shooting - Without Lawrence, their most dangerous 3PT shooters are the wing Taylor (35%, 6.5 attempts per game) and forward Smith (32%, 5.5 attempts per game). They take more than twice as many as the starting guards.
  • Guard the forward - Sophomore Colin Smith has stepped into the starting lineup this season and is coming into his own. He has had back to back double-doubles.
  • Off the Bench - Grad forward Tasos Kamateros – (6’8” 240) – The big man is averaging 9ppg, shooting 50% (8/16) from 3PT, and a nice 55% field goal percentage overall. (however, DJB - 71.4% - is not impressed) Against USC Upstate he was 7-8 including 4-5 from 3PT for 21 points. Need to keep an eye on him so he doesn’t get any crazy ideas.

*** Wolfpack Recruiting News *** Top 100, 4-star high school recruits Paul McNeil Jr (Guard, 6’6”, 185) and Trey Parker (Guard, 6’2”, 170) have signed their Letters of Intent for the 2024 season. This gives the Pack currently the #26 recruiting class in the country, and 5th best in the ACC. The current players with remaining eligibility, plus these two additions, look pretty decent for next season should everyone choose to return. At this point, it looks like we’re just short a big man. But it’s seldom that simple in Raleigh.