The Kentucky Wildcats are in Alabama this weekend to take on Bruce Pearl's Auburn Tigers.
The Cats are coming off a so-so showing against Mississippi State this past Tuesday, a game in which the Bulldogs rallied from a 20-point deficit in the second half and trailed 74-71 with 1:14 remaining, but the Wildcats made six free throws over the final 47 seconds to seal the win.
Kentucky’s starting guard rotation of Isaiah Briscoe, Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis combined for 57 points, 13 assists, eight rebounds and four steals in leading UK to an 80-74 win. The Wildcats now lead the SEC in field-goal percentage (.476), rebounding defense (31.9) and are second in the league with 14.0 offensive boards per game.
This matchup is the 109th meeting between the Tigers and Wildcats with the Cats holding a commanding 91- 17 series lead. The Wildcats have won 18 straight games in the series and 32 of the last 33.
The last Tigers win in the series came when then-No. 4 Auburn beat No. 20 Kentucky 66-63 in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum in 2000. The Tigers have a 13-30 record against Kentucky in Auburn with the UK defeating the Tigers eight straight times.
UK is 15-2 against Auburn at neutral sites, including last season’s Wildcat win over Auburn in the SEC Tournament semifinals in Nashville. Auburn has also lost 15 straight games to ranked teams and 21 of the last 22.
The Tigers’ last win against a ranked team came in a 65- 55 victory over No. 23 Miss. State on Feb. 18, 2012, in Auburn. Prior to the 2012 win, the previous win against a ranked team came over SEC Champion and No. 11 LSU 69-53 on March 7, 2009, in Auburn.
Needless to say, history is not on the side of the Tigers, but we've seen these Cats play down to their competition several times this season, especially in game away from Rupp Arena.
Here is everything you'll need to watch and follow UK take on Auburn.
When: Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016
Location: Auburn Arena in Auburn, Alabama
Game Time: 4 p.m. ET
Online Stream: Watch ESPN
Radio: UK Radio Network (Tom Leach, Mike Pratt)
Odds: UK is a 12-point favorite, per Vegas Insider
Series: UK leads 91-17
John Calipari’s Record vs. Auburn: 8-0
Projected AU Starters
#1 G - Kareem Canty, 5-7, 185 lbs
#23 G - TJ Lang, 6-7, 200 lbs
#25 G - Jordon Granger, 6-8, 220 lbs
#0 F - Horace Spencer, 6-9, 220 lbs
#12 F - Tyler Harris, 6-10, 228 lbs
Projected UK Starters
#3 G - Tyler Ulis, 5-9, 160 lbs
#13 G - Isaiah Briscoe, 6-3, 202 lbs
#23 G - Jamal Murray, 6-4, 207 lbs
#22 F - Alex Poythress, 6-8, 230 lbs
#00 F - Marcus Lee, 6-9, 224 lbs
My Prediction: Thanks to one Cinmeon Bowers, the Cats come into this game with a little added motivation that keeps them from getting off to the kind of sluggish starts they've had many times this season against inferior competition. Auburn is playing at home though and will have enough firepower to keep within striking distance for the first half, but the Cats ultimately where these Tigers down and run away with a comfortable win in the second half.
Final Score: Kentucky 73, Auburn 62