Kentucky Basketball vs. Auburn Tigers
- Time: 1 pm ET on January 22nd, 2022.
- Location: Auburn Arena in Auburn, Alabama.
- TV Channel: CBS will have today’s TV coverage.
- Announcers: Brad Nessler, Bill Raftery and Gary Parrish.
- Live Online Stream: You can stream the game live online using CBS Sports and the CBS Sports app.
- Replay: SEC Network (check local listings)
- Listen: UK Sports Network with Tom Leach and Mike Pratt
- Satellite Radio: Sirius 158 | XM 191 | SXM App 962
- Rosters: UK I AU
- Stats To Know: UK I AU
- Team Sheets: UK I AU
- Odds: DraftKings has Auburn favored by 4 points. ESPN’s matchup predictor gives the Cats a 43.3% chance of winning, while KenPom gives them a 40% chance of achieving victory. Barttorvik projects Auburn to be a 5-point favorite.
- Predictions: KenPom went with a 77-74 win for Auburn. Barrtovik projects a 78-73 win for the Tigers. TeamRankings has Auburn winning 76-72.
The matchup of the weekend will take place in Auburn as the No. 12 Kentucky Wildcats take on the No. 2 Tigers.
In what will be a top-15 matchup, the Cats and Tigers will ultimately be fighting for the pole position heading into the final month of conference play.
For Kentucky, they are coming off of a hard-fought win in College Station as they knocked off Texas A&M on Wednesday night. In what was mostly a forgettable game, it is the gutsy type of performance you like to see, especially before they walk into an environment like Auburn will be Saturday afternoon.
We have seen the tale of two stories for the Cats over the last two games though. Flashback a week ago to the offensive masterpiece that led to them destroying Tennessee, to the seemingly rattled squad we saw Wednesday.
What’s the plus side to both of those stories? They both ended in a win.
As the season continues to progress, one thing to point out is how much John Calipari is beginning to trust TyTy Washington. For most of the season, it has been Sahvir Wheeler or Oscar Tshiebwe who have the ball in their hands when the team needs a basket.
Whether it was to feed it to Oscar on the block or let Sahvir go and create, those seemed to be the two trustworthy options. But now things seem to be shifting in Washington’s favor as the go-to guy on this team.
You saw it several times against the Aggies late in the game as Wheeler struggled to maintain possession of the ball. We have continued to talk about the budding superstar that is TyTy and, if this trend continues, don’t be shocked to see him be the guy with the ball in his hands in these late-game situations.
Overall, Kentucky continues to still be effective on offense. To this point, UK is averaging 82.9 points per game on 49.8% shooting from the field and 35.3% from behind the arch.
Defensively this squad has been trending upwards on the season, getting better and better each game. For a chance to pull off the win on Saturday, this will need to continue to be the case.
For Auburn, they are arguably the No. 1 team in the country.
Bruce Pearl has completely changed the culture of the program, making them a threat to make a deep tournament run in the past several seasons. This season is much of the same.
Sitting at 17-1 (6-0), the Tigers' lone loss came to the hands of UConn in double overtime in their fifth game of the season. Since that point, there have only been a handful of close games.
On the season, Auburn is averaging 80.7 points per game on 45.6% shooting and 34.1% from deep.
Led by the potential No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, Jabari Smith has been all Bruce Pearl could have ever hoped for, even drawing Kevin Durant comparisons to this point in the season from a select few. He is currently averaging 15.8 points on 45.7% from the field, and 43% from three. He is a legit NBA talent, that is a mismatch nightmare for the Kentucky squad.
Smith is accompanied on offense by Wendell Green Jr. (13.1 ppg), KD Johnson (12.8 ppg), and Walker Kessler (10.3 ppg).
Kessler and Johnson are also a force to be reckoned with on the opposite end of the court ad Kessler is averaging 4.2 blocks per game, and Johnson is averaging 2.2 steals per game.
All around as a team, the Tigers are solid on defense as they only allow on average 65.6 points per game on 38.6% shooting to their opponents. They also average 8.4 blocks and 9.8 steals per game.
This game is going to be all about fight and momentum. Similar to Reed Arena on Wednesday night, Auburn Arena will be rocking, and this experienced group will have to weather the storm.
Come out cold and sluggish, and this Auburn team could have a field day early. But if the Cats come out aggressive, controlling the pace, this should be a fun one to the end.
Auburn has struggled at times this season, much like any team, but a win on Saturday for Kentucky would absolutely put them towards the top of the list for title contenders.
Who’s ready for a heavyweight fight?