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Auburn Tigers at Kentucky Wildcats: Game Preview

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Auburn visits the Kentucky Wildcats in Rupp Arena today with hopes of upsetting the surging Wildcats. A Sea of Blue looks at the game.

Kyle Wiltjer was a major factor in Kentucky's victory on the Plains.
Kyle Wiltjer was a major factor in Kentucky's victory on the Plains.
USA TODAY Sports

Having already played the Auburn Tigers once this year and looked at the team in detail, this preview will be short and to the point. It's a good idea to catch up on A Sea of Blue's last examination of the Tigers before continuing.

Via Statsheet.com, here is the updated team comparison:

Rank and Records AU UK
RPI #206 #45
Strength of Schedule #120 #64
Overall 9-13 16-6
Conference 3-6 7-2
Home 7-5 11-2
Away 1-5 4-3
Top 25 0-1 0-3
RPI Top 50 0-4 1-4

Series history

Kentucky and Auburn have been playing since 1921 almost without interruption, every year. The Wildcats hold a commanding 87-17 lead overall, but there was a stretch between 1988 and 1990 when Auburn was 3-2 against Kentucky.

The most points ever scored against Kentucky by an Auburn player was 42 by John Mengelt in 1969. The most points ever scored against Auburn by a Kentucky player was also 42 by Dan Issel the very next year.

History information courtesy of Jon Scott's BigBlueHistory.net.

Personnel and statistics

NO NAME Status POS HT WT CLASS PPG FG% RPG APG SPG BPG
41 Rob Chubb S C 6-10 250 SR 9.5 50.9 7.5 0.8 0.5 1.0
2 Allen Payne S F 6-6 215 JR 8.4 46.9 4.7 1.3 1.4 0.1
25 Jordon Granger S F 6-9 215 FR 1.1 28.6 1.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
11 Josh Wallace S G 5-10 170 SR 3.9 34.2 2.0 3.2 1.4 0.1
23 Frankie Sullivan S G 6-1 206 SR 16.1 37.7 4.2 2.9 1.3 0.3
0 Asauhn Dixon-Tatum MR C 7-0 230 JR 4.2 50.0 3.4 0.2 0.4 1.0
32 Noel Johnson MR F 6-6 205 SR 5.5 34.5 2.3 0.5 0.3 0.3
3 Chris Denson MR G 6-2 175 JR 11.5 44.6 3.0 1.5 0.8 0.3
24 Brian Greene Jr. MR G 6-3 205 FR 3.4 41.7 0.7 1.2 0.8 0.1
5 Shaquille Johnson R F 6-5 210 FR 4.6 36.0 2.9 1.4 0.7 0.4
4 Dylan Spencer R G 6-4 195 SR 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0
10 Jordan Price R G 6-5 225 FR 5.4 39.2 1.6 0.9 0.5 0.1
12 Nick Pellar R G 6-6 200 FR 1.5 50.0 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0
22 C.J. Holmes R G 6-0 195 FR 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

The big difference between this time and last, from the Tiger perspective, is the availability of Denson and Price, who were unavailable for the last game at Auburn.

Price gives some additional heft to the lineup, but doesn't see a lot of minutes. Denson is a major contributor who will do much to offset the availability of Willie Cauley-Stein, who wasn't able to play for Kentucky last time.

Four Factors

Game analysis

Kentucky pretty much dominated the Tigers down in Auburn, but the Tigers themselves helped the Kentucky cause by going 0-15 from the 3-point line. With the return of Denson, who is one of Auburn's better shooters from distance, you can't expect that to happen in Rupp Arena.

Auburn is more healthy and more dangerous than they were the last time the two teams played, but Rupp Arena is a very big advantage to Kentucky, who is surging of late and beginning to look like a threat to challenge for the SEC regular-season title. Despite Auburn's return to health, this is a tough spot for them.

Expect to see some zone, and a lot of 3-point shots from Auburn today. If they get hot, this could be another one of those games like LSU, where a notably weaker team gives Kentucky all they want. With this schizophrenic Kentucky team, I have no more idea what to expect than you do, other than I do expect Kentucky to win this game in the end. The Wildcats are starting to learn how to finish, and that gives them yet another edge.