No. 8 Northwestern vs. No. 9 Vanderbilt Prediction, Game Preview

Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt prediction and game preview, as the No. 8 Wildcats and No. 9 Commodores face off in the NCAA Tournament.

The drought is over. Northwestern has finally made the NCAA Tournament for the first time ever, earning the No. 8 seed in the West Region. The Wildcats have won a program-record 23 games and will try to advance with a win over No. 9 seed Vanderbilt. The Commodores are 19-15 and became the first team with at least 15 losses to receive an at-large bid into the Tournament. They did it in the first year under coach Bryce Drew.

Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt Game Preview

Date: Thursday, March 16
Venue:  Vivant Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah

Northwestern Strengths

The Wildcats are all about balance. They lack a true star but have quality depth, including Bryant McIntosh, Scottie Lindsey, Vic Law and Dererk Pardon. The assist on roughly 60 percent of their field goals made and share the ball effectively.

Northwestern Weaknesses

Northwestern really doesn’t have a true go-to player when it’s crunch time. That can hurt when buckets are needed down the stretch of a close game in the tournament.

Northwestern Wildcats In-Depth Analysis

[ooyala code=”c3b2RhYTE6Jq5Jqdzthc9Ef8JKcCOso6″ player_id=”85d68cda3f97481cbe4e9c09cdb87ae8″ width=”500″ height=”400″ auto=”false” platform=”html5-priority”]

Vanderbilt Strengths

How does a team that was waxed by Middle Tennessee and lost five games in the middle of January make the NCAA Tournament? Well, sweeping the Florida Gators and thumping South Carolina certainly helps. The quintessential bubble team, Vanderbilt is a team that’ll make you pull your hair out. If the threes are dropping, then hold on to your butts. Vandy averaged 38% from beyond the arc during the regular season, making roughly 10 a game. Shooting 77% from the charity stripe is also a plus.

Vanderbilt Weaknesses

As the old saying goes: live by the three, die by the three. At only 13 assists per game, it’s no wonder Vandy’s assist-turnover ratio (1.06) was so low during the regular season. The Commodores’ scoring margin also leaves a lot to be desired. Essentially, hope for the Dores to catch lightning in a bottle and drop buckets for a good stretch.

Vanderbilt Commodores In-Depth Analysis

[ooyala code=”prbmRhYTE6wvqA-_NdvPMMdIADIqLMcV” player_id=”85d68cda3f97481cbe4e9c09cdb87ae8″ width=”500″ height=”400″ auto=”false” platform=”html5-priority”]

Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt By The Numbers

Northwestern Statistics

Scoring Margin: 6.5 (69th in the nation)
Rebounding Margin: 0.5 (178)
Turnover Margin: 1.7 (75)
3-Point FG Percentage: 33.7 (240)

Vanderbilt Statistics

Scoring Margin: 2.7 (146)
Rebounding Margin: 0.4 (182)
Turnover Margin: 1.8 (290)
3-Point FG Percentage: 37.7 (59)

Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt Prediction

Northwestern’s historic run continues. The Wildcats get big performances from Scottie Lindsey and Bryant McIntosh to knock off Vanderbilt and advance to the second round, likely against No. 1 seed Gonzaga.

Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt Score Prediction: Northwestern 68, Vanderbilt 61

MORE: Complete NCAA Tournament Bracket, Previews, Predictions