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Auburn Tigers at Kentucky Wildcats: SEC Tournament Semifinal #1 Preview and Live Game Thread

The streaking Auburn Tigers run into the undefeated Wildcats today. Something's gotta give.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

For the second time this season, the Kentucky Wildcats get to play Bruce Pearl's Auburn Tigers, who have impressive ripped off three games in a row against supposedly superior foes to reach the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament. No matter what the outcome, you have to give a ton of credit to the Tigers for their run through the tournament so far. It's a bit reminiscent of the Georgia Bulldogs back in 2008, the infamous Tornado Tournament. Let's hope there are no tornadoes in Nashville, and no upset of the Wildcats, either.

Game Particulars

Date: Saturday, March 14th
Time: 1:00 PM
Place: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
Radio: UK Sports Network
Audio: Live Audio
Streaming: Watch ESPN
Other: Live Stats

Season so far for Auburn:

  • Overall: 15-19
  • SEC: 4-14

Auburn managed to win a whole 4 games in the SEC regular season, yet in the tournament so far, they have won three straight. This is what is meant by a "Tournament run," and of all the teams I might have figured to make one, Auburn had to be about the last one.

The last time Kentucky and Auburn played in Rupp Arena, the Wildcats crushed them in an offensive explosion, 110-75.

Team Comparison

Rank and Records AU UK
RPI #125 #1
Strength of Schedule #34 #40
Overall 15-19 32-0
Conference 7-14 19-0
Home 9-8 19-0
Away 2-10 10-0
Top 25 0-2 4-0
RPI Top 50 2-4 10-0 #141 #1


Four Factors

Players to watch for Auburn

  • K.T. Harrell is the #1 guy Kentucky must watch out for. The senior transfer from Virginia has lit up the scoreboard the last three games, shooting a combined 10-17 from 3-point range and averaging 24 points per contest. He is a quick, athletic, slashing scorer who can do it all.

  • Cinmeon Bowers is an undersized power forward. The JUCO transfer isn't a big rebounder, but he is a good offensive and defensive rebounder who can surprise you with his intensity.

  • K.C. Ross-Miller is the point guard who can score, and occasionally does so big. Ross-Miller had 21 against Mississippi State even though he shot the ball poorly, and is an exceptional rebounder for a guard.


  • Alex Poythress is out for the season with an ACL tear


With the suspension of Granger, the already small Auburn Tigers get a whole lot smaller, and against the Wildcats, it's really hard to see how they match up at all. The one thing Kentucky must be aware of is Harrell, who is capable of exploding for huge numbers, but it's really hard to envision him being able to score enough on Kentucky's bigger guards to beat the Wildcats all by himself.

Normally, you'd have to give a team on a run like this a puncher's chance, but the reality is that Kentucky is a terrible matchup for Kentucky at every position, and they are so thin I have a hard time rationalizing how they are going to put up enough points on the Wildcats unless Kentucky just doesn't take them seriously and turns the ball over 15 or 20 times. Absent that, Kentucky's going to have to invent something entirely novel for them to lose, like a complete disinterest in defense or shooting 2-20 at point blank range.

Anything is possible, but an Auburn victory here would require something akin to a miracle. We have seen them before (2008 certainly qualifies), but no team in that tournament was even close to the quality of this Kentucky team.