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What should we know about Auburn?
At 13-3 on the season, 2-1 in conference play, and 9-0 at home, the Auburn Tigers are no joke.
They’ve beaten Xavier, Arizona, Georgia, and Texas A&M, while their losses have come on a neutral floor against Duke (78-72), at NC State (78-71), and at Ole Miss (82-67).
We’ve hammered it home over the last several days, but the two biggest takeaways heading into Kentucky’s matchup at Auburn involves three-point shooting and slow starts.
For Auburn, the Tigers are tied for fifth in the nation and first in the SEC with 10.9 made three-pointers per game. They also average 30 attempts from deep per game, good for fourth in the country.
In terms of total offensive production, Auburn averages a whopping 84.5 points per game, No. 2 in the SEC. The Tigers line to put their foot on the gas pedal from the tip and keep it there through the final buzzer.
As for Kentucky, the Wildcats rank No. 286 overall out of 351 total teams at 36.3 percent in terms of defending the three. In SEC play, the Cats have allowed a ridiculous 38.5 percent from beyond the arc.
If they continue with yet another slow start and fail to defend the three-point line against Auburn, there is a solid chance they’ll go home with a loss. Plain and simple.
Despite Kentucky’s impressive second-half turnaround against Georgia, the fine folks out in Las Vegas still don’t have much faith in the Cats to get the job done on the road this afternoon.
The line opened at -4 in favor of Auburn, and it has since spread to -4.5 on a few major betting outlets. ESPN currently lists the over/under at 146.
As always, we encourage folks to bet wager responsibly here at KSR.
Prepare on the KSR Pregame Show
Before the Kentucky takes the court, listen to the KSR crew preview the matchup between the Cats and Auburn. All of the action begins on 630 WLAP or online at 1:30 pm.
How to Watch and Listen
Bob Wischusen and Dick Vitale will be on the call for ESPN beginning at 4:00 p.m. If you’re stuck on the road and can’t watch, there are multiple ways to listen to The Voice of the Wildcats.
- AM: 840 WHAS, 630 WLAP
- FM: 98.1 WBUL
- Satellite: XM-190 and Sirius-119
- Online: iHeart Radio
Another Wildcat takes on the school he was once committed to
For the second consecutive game, a Kentucky Wildcat will have to handle the pressure of taking on the school he was once committed to in high school.
Kentucky forward EJ Montgomery, a Marietta, GA native, was committed to Auburn from September of 2016 through September of 2017, but decided to back off of his pledge when then-Auburn associate head coach Chuck Person was arrested following the controversial FBI investigation into college basketball.
In April of 2018, Montgomery made the decision to attend Kentucky, and in his first meeting with his former school of choice, the five-star big man will almost certainly find himself showered with boos when he takes the floor.
Wildcat point guard Ashton Hagans had to take on his hometown Georgia Bulldogs on the road on Tuesday, but thrived under the spotlight. Hagans finished the day with a career-high 23 points, five rebounds, four assists, and four steals.
How will Montgomery handle the pressure?
The Cats are ready
This morning, the Kentucky men’s basketball Twitter account released a video from practice yesterday, giving fans an inside look at how the Wildcats are preparing for their matchup with Auburn.
And by the looks of things, we’ll be hearing, “Go, go, go, GO!” from John Calipari quite a bit this afternoon.
Check it out:
“Here’s where you start conquering yourself.”
We couldn’t think of a better way to start off a big game day here in Auburn.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) January 19, 2019
It’s only going to get tougher from here
Think the path gets any easier following Kentucky’s much-awaited top-15 matchup with Auburn this afternoon? Think again.
After taking on No. 14 Auburn today, Kentucky will host No. 24 Mississippi State and No. 7 Kansas at Rupp Arena over the next two games, the first time since the 2015 NCAA Tournament the Wildcats have had to take on three consecutive ranked opponents.
According to UK Athletics, it will also be the first time it’s happened in the regular season since the end of the 2005-06 season under Tubby Smith.
John Calipari’s go-to catchphrase this season has been, “We win or we learn,” but hopefully the Cats find a way to do both over the next three games.