KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- It's an orange jacket game for Bruce Pearl, which means either Kentucky or Vanderbilt must be in town.
In this case, it's the red-hot Commodores, and it's Pearl's way of paying homage to former Tennessee coach Ray Mears.
Pearl has never lost to Vanderbilt in Thompson-Boling Arena, but that streak will be put to the test Wednesday night.
The 21st-ranked Commodores have won nine straight games, and according to Pearl, are playing as well as anybody that's come to Thompson-Boling Arena this season. And that includes Kansas.
Vanderbilt is 4-0 in SEC play for the first time in the Kevin Stallings' era. It's also a team that doesn't go quietly even if you get it down by double digits. The Commodores trailed by as many as 16 points in their last game against Auburn, but rallied to win 82-74.
With a trip to Kentucky looming on Saturday, this is a critical game for the Commodores if they're going to keep their momentum going.