Auburn plays at Kentucky today at 1 p.m. ET on CBS.
Kentucky is on a four-game losing streak, with their last loss coming against Arkansas in an 81-80 game. Auburn is coming off a win against Vanderbilt, following (arguably) the Tigers’ worst stretch of the season.
This Kentucky team is still talented. Brandon Boston Jr a former top 10 recruit, has started to hit his stride. Keion Brooks is a second year player who has emerged as a potential game changer, and the Wildcats have a handful of top 100 players sprinkled around them. While they haven’t looked great so far, Kentucky has the talent to turn it on at any point.
What I like: Auburn won the lost game against Kentucky, and beat a Missouri team that imposed the same kind of physicality that Kentucky sometimes trips Auburn up with. Kentucky is also on one of its worst streaks of the season, in an already bad season. Auburn showed it has the pieces to beat Kentucky, but it’ll take a good shooting performance on the road, and Auburn will likely need big games from Allen Flanigan, Sharife Cooper and its other playmakers.
What I don’t like: This Kentucky team can still play efficient defense and likes to slow the game down. Kentucky is also good at offensive rebounding, and Auburn has had problems against teams that play well. Kentucky has the talent to beat Auburn, even if they haven’t been playing at the level their talent suggests they can.
Bottom line: Kentucky still has a chance to make the postseason, even though it drops with every loss. I expect them to be fired up, and that they won’t want a loss against an Auburn team with a very average record. But for Auburn, this is as close as the Tigers’ will get to the postseason. In terms of leaving their mark on this season, Auburn has the chance to sweep Kentucky with a win today and win in Rupp for the first time since 1988.
If Kentucky has one of those games where all its five stars look like five stars and they play defense and rebounds at a high level, the Wildcats will probably come away with a win. However, it’s hard to imagine that happening after Kentucky’s losing streak.
I think Auburn has more to play for in this game alone, better momentum and a good roster to match up with Kentucky on paper. Auburn will need good games from its tough guys like Flanigan, but I have the Tigers sneaking out a rare win in Rupp.