Kentucky Wildcat Basketball: Auburn game notes

The Auburn Tigers invade Rupp Arena to take on the Kentucky Wildcats - USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats take on the Auburn Tigers in an SEC home court afternoon affair.

This afternoon at 4:00 ET in Rupp Arena, the Kentucky Wildcats (16-6, 7-2) will take on the Auburn Tigers (9-13, 3-6) as the 'Cats look to extend their four game SEC winning streak. Kentucky, tied for second place in league play with Ole Miss, and coming off a 77-55 home court win over South Carolina on Tuesday night, will attempt to keep pace with the first place Florida Gators (18-3, 8-1), UK's Super Tuesday opponent on February 12th.

Auburn is coming off a 49-37 win over arch-rival Alabama on Wednesday.

UK vs. Auburn game notes

  • Today's game marks the 105th contest between Kentucky and Auburn. UK holds a decisive 87-17 series lead. The Wildcats have won 14 consecutive games against the Tigers, and 28 of the last 29. The last time Auburn beat UK was in 2000 in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum as the No. 4 ranked Tigers bettered the No. 20 'Cats 66-63.
  • UK holds a 44-2 edge over Auburn in Lexington. The first of the two Lexington losses came in 1983, a 75-67 Tiger triumph over No. 6 UK. In 1988, Auburn beat No. 1 Kentucky 53-52.
  • Auburn head coach Tony Barbee, a John Calipari disciple, is 0-6 versus his old head coach: 0-3 at UTEP, and 0-3 while at Auburn.
  • Barbee first met Cal at Howard Garfinkle's famed Five-Star Camp in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when Barbee was a 14-year old camper. Barbee played for Cal for four years at UMass, 1990-1993, scoring 1,643 points in his college career.
  • In other Auburn/Calipari connections: Assistant coach Milt Wagner, who won a national title with Louisville in 1986, was Cal's coordinator of basketball operations at Memphis; Auburn's executive director of basketball, Steve Smith, was Cal's personal assistant in a relationship that dates back to Cal's days at UMass. Calipari served as best man in Smith's wedding. Tiger administrative assistant Harper Williams played for Cal at UMass from 1990-1993.
  • Today's game features three of the SEC's top scorers: Auburn senior guard Frankie Sullivan is fourth in the league, averaging 16.1 points per game; Archie Goodwin ranks 10th in the league, averaging 14.7 points, and Alex Poythress is 15th in scoring at 12.5 points per contest.
  • Sullivan has moved into the top 10 on Auburn's all-time scoring list with 1,445 points. He is only 85 points behind 10-year NBA veteran Marquis Daniels who played for the Tigers from 1999-to-2003.
  • Chuck Person (1982-1986) is Auburn's all-time leading scorer with 2,311 points. Everybody's favorite NBA commentator, Charles Barkley (1981-1984), ranks 23rd in scoring, posting 1,183 points in his three-year Auburn career.
  • The 37 points Auburn gave up to Alabama on Wednesday night were the fewest points Bama has scored in the 146-game rivalry, as the Tigers outscored Bama 36-14 in the second half. It was the fewest points scored by either team in the rivalry since 1949. The Tiger victory was their first after losing six straight.
  • Auburn trailed the Crimson Tide 23-13 at halftime of their Wednesday match-up.
  • Kentucky defeated Auburn 75-53 on January 19 behind big games from Kyle Wiltjer, who scored 17 points, and Nerlens Noel, who stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks.
  • In the two teams' first meeting UK scorched the nets, making 54.5 percent of its shots for the game, 67 percent in the second stanza.
  • This game marks the first time since the 1990-1991 season that UK and Auburn have hooked-up in a home-and-home series.
  • In all games, Auburn averages 66.7 points per game, while the Tigers are giving up 66.4; in conference games, Barbee's club is averaging 63.6 points, while allowing 68.7 points per contest.
  • On the season, UK is averaging 76.2 points per game, while giving up 62.5; in SEC tilts, the 'Cats score an average of 71.9 points, while allowing 65.0 points.
  • The Tigers are averaging only 58.3 points per game in their last six games, and making 35.3 percent of their shots from the floor, 24.8 percent from long-distance.
  • Since Sullivan made 5-of-11 trifectas against Arkansas on January 16 (an 88-80 overtime loss), he has connected on only 7-of-36 from beyond the arc in the six games since (19.4 percent).
  • Sullivan leads Auburn with 18 double-digit scoring games, and nine contests with at least 20 points (second most in the SEC). Alex Pothress leads UK with five 20 point games. Sullivan is also the active career SEC steals leader with 185 pilfers in his career.
  • Tiger senior forward Ron Chubb is seventh in the SEC in rebounding, snagging 7.5 boards per game, and senior guard Josh Wallace has a 4.3 assist/turnover ratio over the last 17 games, dishing out 64 assists to only 15 turnovers.
  • Wallace was awarded an athletic scholarship for the first time this season after being on a nearly full Engineering scholarship his first three years.
  • Auburn's 6-foot-5 freshman Jordan Price made 11 straight 3-pointers over a three-game span versus Grambling State, Furman, and Tennessee Tech. The incredible streak came to an unceremonious end after Price got a haircut prior to Auburn's game with Winthrop on December 22, and promptly missed his first long-distance attempt of the contest. On the season, Price is averaging 5.4 points per game and shooting 42.3 percent from distance (22-52).
  • Auburn has made 11 three-pointers four times this season, going 1-3 in those contests.
  • In non-conference play, Auburn freshman Brian Greene averaged only 1.5 points per game. In SEC play, though, Greene has found his scoring stride, averaging 5.6 points per contest (in only 13.6 minutes per game) on the strength of 64.3 percent 3-point accuracy (9-14), and 56.3 percent overall shooting.
  • Auburn enters the game with an RPI of 204 (according to ESPN), Kentucky's RPI stands at 41.

Thanks for reading and Go 'Cats, beat Auburn!

To follow me on Twitter go here: @KenHowlett

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