Auburn Tigers @ Kentucky Wildcats (13) :  Pregame

Tonight, the Kentucky Wildcats welcome the BCS champion Auburn Tigers into Rupp Arena.  The problem is, Cam Newton doesn't play basketball, and as good as he is in football, he is no better than the average Auburn fan when it comes to affecting the outcome of this game.

A quick comparison of the two teams' season so far:


Kentucky Auburn
Split W-L Pct W-L Pct
Home 7-0 1 7-6 0.54
Away 1-2 0.33 0-1 0
Neutral 4-1 0.8 0-1 0
Conference 0-1 0 0-1 0
Conf Home 0-0 - 0-1 0
Conf Away 0-1 0 0-0 -
Conf Neutral 0-0 - 0-0 -
Top 25 2-0 1 0-0 -
RPI 1-50 2-2 0.5 0-0 -
RPI 51-100 1-1 0.5 1-1 0.5
RPI 101-150 1-0 1 0-2 0
RPI 151-200 3-0 1 0-2 0
RPI 200+ 1-0 1 4-0 1


Auburn comes in off a 55-62 loss to the LSU Tigers at home on Saturday, and Kentucky is coming off a road loss to the Georgia Bulldogs.  Both teams need this win to establish themselves as contenders in the SEC, but this game is definitely bigger for the Wildcats right now after the tough loss to the Dawgs.

More after the jump

Personnel:

Personnel-wise, Auburn lost just about their entire team to graduation.  Gone are Tay Waller, Lucas Hargrove, Johnnie Lett, DeWayne Reed, and Brendan KnoxLuke Cothron, a big-time recruit, could not qualify, and neither could Shawn Kemp.  That left Tony Barbee's team relatively short on experience and new blood.

Here is a look at the roster:


Auburn Tigers Basketball Roster

# Pos. Comments
W H College
Ty Armstrong 5 F Out for season
220 6-9 sophomore
Rob Chubb 41 C   Starter 222 6-10 sophomore
Chris Denson 3 G Minor reserve 180 6-2 freshman
Jake Drum 25 F Minor reserve 215 6-5 junior
Adrian Forbes 45 F Major reserve, good 3-pt shooter 230 6-8 junior
Kenny Gabriel 22 F Starter, 3rd leading scorer, 2nd leading rebounder 190 6-8 junior
Josh Langford - G Starter, 3-point specialist 207 6-7 freshman
Andre Malone 1 G Starter, 2nd leading scorer 210 6-5 sophomore
Tony Neysmith 15 G Major reserve 205 6-5 junior
Allen Payne 2 F Major reserve 205 6-6 freshman
Earnest Ross 33 G Starter, leading scorer, rebounder 215 6-5 sophomore
Dylan Spencer 44 G Rarely plays 190 6-4 sophomore
Frankie Sullivan 20 G Major reserve, leads steals
195 6-1 junior
Josh Wallace 11 G Starter, leading assists 160 5-10 sophomore
Varez Ward 50 G Year in residence - Transfer from Texas 192 6-2 sophomore

Auburn went from being a very mature team last year to a really young team this year.  Swingman Earnest Ross is doing the iron man duty for the Tigers, showing the way in most categories.  Frankie Sullivan is taking a major role as sixth man off the bench this year, and Josh Langford, Kenny Gabriel and Rob Chubb form a fair-sized front line.

Four Factors:

 

Game Analysis:

Auburn is a weak team this year in the SEC, but does have a marquee win against the Florida St. Seminoles.  Every other halfway decent team has handled them, though, and even some bad ones like Presbyterian and Samford.

Still Auburn is getting used to a new coach in Calipari disciple Tony Barbee, and it could be that the FSU victory just two games back represents the light finally coming on for his young team.

Auburn shoots the three pretty well, which makes them dangerous, but they are not an efficient scoring team.  The Tigers are decent on the offensive glass, though, and that can always be a problem.

Overall, Auburn is a good team for Kentucky to face coming off a loss.  They are strong enough to challenge the young Wildcats if Kentucky plays soft, but not strong enough to beat them at home if Kentucky plays reasonably well.

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