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Auburn @ Kentucky: Open Game Thread


This is the official A Sea of Blue open game thread for the Auburn Tigers @ Kentucky Wildcats basketball game tonight at Rupp Arena, Wednesday, January 21st @ 9:00 PM.

Particulars of this game are as follows:

Now that the 'Cats have validated their big win against the Volunteers with a follow-on road win in Athens against the Georgia Bulldogs, it's time for them to defend their home court against the Auburn Tigers.

During Gillispie's tenure here, the 'Cats have yet to lose a conference game in Rupp Arena. That is a streak I'm sure the coach would like to defend, and I guarantee you I want to see it defended, along with about 8,256,140 (give or take a few million) other fans of the Big Blue.

Auburn comes in playing better of late, having given Florida a scare in the O'Dome and beating a talented but underachieving Alabama team on their home floor. Jeff Lebo would obviously love to take Patterson, Meeks & Co. down and build a case to protect his position at Auburn. Make no mistake, the Tigers will be fired up and ready.

Things Kentucky needs to do well to win:

  1. Get the ball into half court. Auburn will press, harass and harangue their way into turnovers, but Kentucky needs to minimize that number.
    Play great three point defense. Auburn will shoot a lot of three point shots. Their odds of knocking them down go up greatly if they are open shots.
    Attack Auburn's pressure defense. There are plenty of opportunities for transition baskets against Auburn. UK must take advantage, but without bad lobs and such.

Things that will make it hard for Kentucky to win:

  1. Allowing Auburn to get off early. If we are not well ahead after 6 or 7 minutes, this game will get tough quick.
    Underestimate Auburn. It's easy to take the Tigers for granted, because fan support of their basketball team is pretty poor. But Lebo knows that beating the Wildcats is the first step toward changing that.
    Allowing penetration in the paint. It's hard enough to stop Auburn from shooting threes normally, but when you allow the guards to get into the paint, Barber can get layups and shooters can get inside-outs for unopposed looks. Did I mention letting Auburn get off early was a bad idea?

Auburn is not a great team, but they are athletic hand have 5 or six decent players who are capable of scoring a ton of points if they get hot. UK needs to give this team the respect that they have earned and defend them like they are the Boston Celtics.

Go, Cats!