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Closing the book on the Auburn Tigers

If Auburn’s plan was to come into Rupp Arena and play a physical game, mission accomplished.  That well-executed plan did not, however, result in a win.  Kentucky defeated Auburn, 72-62, in a scrappy contest that saw one Tiger ejected and two others foul out.

For Kentucky, the win is its fifth in a row since dropping its only SEC road game at Alabama.  The Wildcats were far from perfect today, but a win is a win and the victory secured second place in the SEC after Ole Miss’s 19-point loss to Missouri. That team we once worried wouldn’t make the tournament is now 17-6 and in contention with Florida to win the regular season conference crown.  They’ll get their first shot at the Gators Tuesday night.

For Auburn, Tony Barbee should plan on not having a voice tomorrow.  He spent a lot of time shouting at his players and causing a ruckus on the Auburn sideline. You might’ve seen him spike the ball out of his point guard’s hands as the SEC Network cut to commercial during a timeout — that sums up Barbee’s afternoon in Rupp Arena.

Let’s run through a few highlights and lowlights before we close the book on the Auburn Tigers for the 2012-13 basketball season…


  Auburn was 0-for-15 from beyond the arc in the last meeting down in Alabama, but the Tigers knocked down two three-pointers for its first six points of the game in the rematch.  It gave Kentucky fans that “here we go again” feeling we get when teams come in and shoot the lights out in Rupp Arena.  The Tigers’ hot shooting continued throughout the afternoon — they finished with over a 50-percent clip from downtown — but it still wasn’t enough to stay in the game.  Kentucky, though not playing its best, was just too much for Tony Barbee’s squad.

  Barbee coached a good game against his friend and mentor; he just doesn’t have the talent to win against a team like Kentucky and in an environment like Rupp Arena.  He obviously wanted a rough game, which he got, and he tried to confuse the young Wildcats team by throwing multiple defenses at them.  The Tigers rotated between zone and man-to-man, sometimes even on the same possession, but UK still managed to hang 72 points, three shy of its point total from the two teams’ first outing.  The Cats’ offense still struggles with the zone, especially with the twin towers in at the same time, but they’ve gotten better.  The best method of attack is to use Wiltjer as a threat in the middle with Poythress working on the baseline.  I say that like it’s so easy to do.

  The teams combined for 50 fouls in the game but that number could’ve easily been much higher.  It was a let-em-play kind of game from another poor SEC officiating crew and Calipari wishes he would’ve heard more whistles.  After the game, he said more fouls should’ve been called. “Call the fouls,” he said. “Call them all. Sixty, seventy. Call them on us.”  I think Auburn would’ve run out of players had the officials called many more.  Dixon-Tatum and your boy Rob Chubb both fouled out for Auburn, while Jordan Grainger watched the game from the locker room for throwing a punch at Archie Goodwin’s back in the first half.  Note to self: Don’t throw a punch at Archie Goodwin’s back.

  While Auburn was lighting up the nets with its three-pointers, Kentucky’s shooters used more iron than Matt Jones getting ready for the IMG show.  UK was just 28-percent from downtown, after shooting around 50-percent over its last two games.  Julius Mays finally cooled off; he hit 2-of-8. Kyle Wiltjer also felt human again with four misses on his six attempts.

  Calipari spoke very highly of the effort he got from Willie Cauley-Stein and Jarrod Polson.  He hopes their teammates saw it and try to emulate that effort next time out.  Cal said too many guys are playing for themselves and not for the team.  “If you play the game for your teammates and not for yourself, it becomes much easier,” he said.  He doesn’t mean they’re selfish when he says they play for themselves, but they’re letting their teammates down by not recovering and hustling after mistakes and missed shots.  Every time he brings this up, I think back to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist losing his man against Kansas and then hustling to the rim for the block.  Man, I miss Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

  Cauley-Stein gave more than just effort in what was maybe his best game to date.  After playing only four minutes before halftime, Willie played 14 minutes in the second half and made all five of his field goal attempts, or, dunks.  He was also involved in my two favorite plays of the game: Alex Poythress’s nasty behind-the-back pass to Willie for the score and the foul, and then the break where Willie ran the point and kicked it to Wiltjer for the three.  The best part of the play with Poythress is Willie finishing it off by making the free throw.  He said after the game that he used to be a great free throw shooter but he can’t get it going at this level.  “I don’t know what the heck happened,” he said. “I won three or four contests in junior high.”  (Pic or it didn’t happen.

  Calipari said on his radio show that Alex Poythress couldn’t dunk off one foot when he got to Kentucky.  Now, I would never call John Vincent Calipari a liar, especially on the day before his birthday, but that can’t be right.  Can it?  I find that so hard to believe.

  Regardless of what he could and couldn’t do when he arrived on campus, Poythress played a pretty good game against Auburn.  He made a couple NBA moves to get to the rim and was aggressive defensively.  Poythress is getting there, baby step at a time, but he’s getting there.  Too bad this isn’t an 82 game season.

  Ryan Harrow had more blocks than Nerlens Noel.  Read that again.  Ryan Harrow had more blocks than Nerlens Noel.  I blame myself for jinxing him by predicting a triple-double.  He was only nine blocks away though!!!  So close.

  Though Harrow outshined his teammate in the blocks category, it still wasn’t the game Calipari expects from him.  Cal said afterwards that Ryan is capable of being the physical point guard he needs to be, but he’s choosing not to at times.  He needs to develop a winning attitude.  Cal added that he’s not giving up on Harrow, or anyone else on the team.

Harrow isn’t doing it every game, obviously, but we know he has it in him; he showed us in the last game against Auburn when he had five rebounds and played excellent defense.

  Ladies and gentlemen, John Boehner, your Speaker of the United States House of Representatives


  Archie, Archie, Archie.  I don’t even know what to say.  1-of-6 from the field, 1-of-4 from the line, and two silly turnovers.  I never thought I’d say this, but I don’t mind seeing him sitting on the bench.  Julius and Jarrod are playing much better than he is right now.  I still love him, though.

  And, finally, the best part of the day:  The Firecrackers were the halftime show!!!!! If you’ve seen The Firecrackers jump roping act, you know why I’m so excited.  And if you haven’t seen The Firecrackers jump roping act, get to YouTube as fast as you can.

That’ll do it for now.  Enjoy your Saturday night and Go Irish!


Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

51 Comments for Closing the book on the Auburn Tigers

  1. Temendous
    7:53 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Please use the reverse-jinx next time and talk about how bad the blocks were last game.

  2. Leroy Jenkins
    7:57 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    I want to see Goodwin start out on the bench next game…

  3. Fica in culo
    7:58 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Archie’s best position is on the bench. Cal should not start him at Fla, maybe he might play better coming off the bench

  4. Linda Taylor
    7:58 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    The most surprising thing about the game today was that Boehner didn’t cry.

  5. UKalum
    8:03 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Anyone have a link to video of the punch on Archie?

  6. it only took 4 comments
    8:04 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    …shocked it took so long to turn this to politics

  7. No partisanship intended
    8:08 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    IDK – Boehner might be an Auburn fan – with the jacket he’s orange and blue so I’m not sure!

  8. BigPerm
    8:08 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    If we played against real teams, we would have 8 or 9 losses. Playing in the sorry sec has actually helped us this year.

  9. Tt
    8:08 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    The best line up right now is:
    1. Polson
    2. Depends on the day
    3. AP/KW
    4. KW/Noel
    5. Noel/WCS

    And before all you harrow supporters show up, I’ll educate you. He got 5 quick points & got taken our cause he wasn’t executing the game plan or facilitating. Oh yeah, no D either. He’s not wall, knight, or even Teague. The offense needs to run through the others not him & if he ain’t got it by FEB. He ain’t gonna.

  10. Tt
    8:09 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink


  11. Linda Taylor
    8:09 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    6 – I usually refrain from making political comments and this was not a political comment. Seriously, have you ever known anyone, male or female who cries as much as Boehner does? I find it kind of fascinating actually, in an odd sort of way.

  12. Steady
    8:13 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    11. Yes, you, right now.

  13. tankercat
    8:14 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    so says #8 the troll

  14. tdogg40330
    8:15 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Tuesday night UK will begin gettin respect again. They gonna show UF who is still
    king of the SEC …. GO CATS !!!

  15. lexslamman
    8:21 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Funny, I always thought Boehner was a Syracuse or Tennessee fan.

  16. mudcreekmark
    8:21 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    9) Harrow has it in him and we saw that for about 6 or 7 games in a row and now he has reverted back to looking for his shot first and not looking for shots for his team mates. We really need him to be at his best. He should go back and watch some of last years games. When Teague was looking for his shot he would end up scoring 12 points on 14 shots, when he was looking to get his team mates shots , he’d end up with 12 points on 8 shots. The 14 shots were ugly hard shots and the 8 shots would be layups or open jumpers. Let the game to you, it makes it so much more fluid and fun to watch.

  17. SpinCat
    8:27 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Archie continues to be my favorite. The kid seems to have to fight for everything he gets. He’ll be fine. Kudos to him for not unleashing on Granger, who wouldn’t have?

  18. Confused
    8:28 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Hi, I’m Confused. But what about Harrow having 12 pts and ZERO turnovers makes you think he’s soft or that Polson deserves to start over him. Harrow consistently has 0 or 1 turnovers a game and usually 5-7 assists. The assists weren’t really there for him tonight but I’d much rather have a guy who is scoring and not committing turnovers. The dude also had 2 blocks tonight, and the assist on Polson’s only basket. I’ve said my piece, everyone may continue to hate on Harrow.

  19. yawn
    8:30 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    9) we get it you LOVE polson. Polson provides a spark off the bench. No way in hell this team reaches its potenial with polson as our starting p.g. harrow avg. double figures. Polson has 1 or 2 games in his CAREER where he scored 10 or more points. Last time I checked this team needs. All the points they can get. Sorry, I will trust cal on this one.

  20. Goodwin Lottery Pick
    8:35 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    I understand Goodwin is young and inexperienced, but how in the world is he a projected lottery pick?

  21. yawn
    8:35 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    18) some of The BBN has had it in for this kid since he missed the first few games. If polson has the exact same game harrow had tonight,some would be calling him the next kyle macy. That being said I cheer for polson like crazy love his toughness. He should not be the starting p.g though

  22. blueblue
    8:43 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Book closed!! Bring on the Gators!!

  23. HOO
    8:45 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    You hillbillies are lucky you don’t play in a real conference. Do you even have an RPI top 50 win yet?

  24. mudcreekmark
    8:49 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Can someone please help me understand how NBA GM’s still think that Archie Goodwin is a top 10 draft pick? I am being totally serious, please explain what they are seeing that I’m not.He is a shooting guard of average height that not only cannot shoot the three, he cannot shoot a mid range shot either and I don’t remember him shooting any floaters either. So basically all he can shoot is layups. He isn’t a lock down defender, actually he isn’t very good on the defensive end of the floor. He has no basketball I.Q thus he does not make basketball plays for his team mates. I am being serious, exactly what does he do so well that it merits millions of dollars?

  25. Syrin
    8:49 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Wiltjer seemed reluctant to shoot some open threes. Cal on his case?

  26. Jarrod T
    8:49 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Dem or Rep, you have to absolutely love the third most powerful person on the planet’s only remaining superpower is wearing a UK jacket and cheering. Unreal.

  27. Greg
    8:50 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    I know most people probably don’t care, but if you’re interesting in seeing Louisville lose tonight, here’s a link to a live stream: http;//

  28. mudcreekmark
    8:51 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    20)Evidently I was writing my novel while you were Great minds think alike.

  29. Syrin
    8:51 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Hey HOO, you’re not even the best basketball program in your state. You have a top 5 NBA prospect and he took 6 shots in your LOSS, and all of those came off rebounds or in transition. Sweet Sixteen Crean SUX ASS as a coach. You know it too. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here. Care to guess how many times I’ve even LOOKED for an Indiana message board? Hint: It rhymes with Schmero

  30. Adolph Crean
    8:51 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Question: Is John Boehner a Kentucky fan?
    Thought he was from OHIO. Kraft has been killing it and is due.
    Understandably, much blood fled north to OH and MI – for the automobile industrial jobs…many moons ago. Point is: alot of DNA left in OH & MI.
    Irish eyes smile; often behind the shroud of tobacco smoke and crows eyes.
    May the passion continue on whatever floor.

  31. Syrin
    8:53 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    #20 – I’ve said the same thing. An NBA shooting guard that can’t shot? He’s shooting under 10% from the three point line in conference play, bad decision making with the ball, average defender. All the raw potential is there, but if there ever was a project, this is it. Wall couldn’t shoot, and he STILL can’t shoot, but at least he was a decent defender and a great distributor.

  32. mudcreekmark
    8:54 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    25) If you haven’t noticed, Wiltjer isn’t allowed to miss a shot or make a mistake without being taken out. One thing I liked about Pitino, if he had a shooter like Wiltjer, he could miss 10 in a row, as long as he was taking good shots, and he wouldn’t have to worry about being taken out. A shooter needs that confidence from the coach. If not, he ends up passing up shots and looking at the bench when he misses one.

  33. Linda Taylor
    8:54 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    25 – I don’t think it was a result of Cal being on his case, in fact Cal has been praising him like crazy lately. I think it had more to do with self-confidence, he wasn’t hitting them early on and seemed to become more hesitant after missing his initial shots from beyond the arc.

  34. GMoney46
    9:07 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    I’m tired of hearing about teams shooting lights out against us. Just play defense!!!

  35. Linda Taylor
    9:13 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    26 – Totally agree. I was wondering if Cal invited Boehner to the game when he went to the National Prayer Breakfast this week. No basketball fan in their right mind would pass up court-side seats to a UK Basketball game in Rupp. Next year’s team is going to be so incredible there is no telling who we might see in Rupp. I think we can all agree that no matter our political persuasion, there is only one color that matters when it comes to our Cats: True Blue.

  36. Syrin
    9:14 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    32- No, I’ve noticed and said the exact same thing you have in other threads. Cal seemed to let him miss a few shots recently without benching him for missing a good shot. The irony? He kept playing Goodwin who would miss numerous AWFUL shots.

  37. kentuckyrules
    9:26 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    32: I agree. I think as long as they are GOOD SHOTS, then let him keep going. GOOD shots are what the team is looking for. Now, forced or simply bad choice shots- sit him down. Same for ANY player.

  38. mudcreekmark
    9:31 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    36)I’ll give Cal credit, he has started to bench Goodwin some but he is still infatuated with Mays. I know Mays had a couple of games that he was hot but even when he was in his shooting slump he was still getting 34 minutes a game. Tonight is a good example, Mays got 37 minutes and Wiltjer 22. Before the year is out I’d like to see one game where he lets Wiltjer get 32 minutes or more and see what happens.

  39. The Realist
    10:01 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    Does Cal show favoritism toward projected draft picks? (at teams expense)

  40. tankercat
    10:06 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    #20 I’d only worry about IU if the NCAA’s were played on their home court, they are softer than philly cream cheeese on the road lol

  41. Han
    11:56 pm February 9, 2013 Permalink

    One of Archie’s problems, I think, is most of his penetrating and shots come off his own dribbling. It leads to charges, doubleteams he doesn’t pass out of, and turnovers. Sometimes he manages a wild shot (does he know how to shoot a proper floater or layup?). He doesn’t seem able to create his own shot, so he should probably stop trying for a while. Pump fake and dribble when the opportunity presents itself, but stop trying to take on the whole team. That’s what bad Joe Crawford used to do.

    9) Polson sometimes gets into foul trouble and has trouble staying in front of his man against more athletic teams. If he gets beat, then Noel has to leave his man to stop the ball, which leaves Noel’s man open for a pass or lob. Sometimes this means a foul for Noel or Poythress or someone else trying to help. The same goes for Wiltjer or Mays if they don’t stay in front of their man. (Mays is usually better, but sometimes he loses his man too much.) Polson has had some strong performances, and he played a lot of minutes tonight, but at their best, Harrow or Goodwin should be able to beat out Polson. They’re just more athletic, faster. Polson is playing a lot smarter right now, though.

    32) Wiltjer gets pulled for losing his man, not running, not diving on the floor, and most importantly, for passing up open shots. The fact that he gets pulled after missing a shot has more to do with not doing the other stuff, because if he’s doing none of it, Cal can’t keep him on the floor. If, however, he’s rebounding or getting assists, setting solid picks, hustling, Cal doesn’t mind it if he doesn’t shoot. Cal needs him to be aggressive, and he wasn’t today, and to be a leader.

    39) Archie seems allowed to play through more mistakes than Harrow, but otherwise, which non-draft picks would you be playing more? Polson? Hood? Even if you just mean the 3-4 guys likely to jump this year, it’s not like Wiltjer or Mays are getting ignored. And when they are on the bench, it’s because Wiltjer didn’t play D or run, and Mays is cold on offense.

  42. Han
    12:01 am February 10, 2013 Permalink

    2) I think if Cal doesn’t bench him, it’s because he thinks Archie won’t be helped by that kind of motivation. The bench works for some players. Yelling works for some players. Quiet encouragement works for some players. For some guys, if you put them on the bench, they shut down for days. Too many of them have been high school stars for too long and don’t really know how to push themselves. Other coaches can keep a freshman on the bench and then rely on him more toward the end of the year as a sub, or rely on him more in his soph or junior year. Cal’s recruiting style and playing style demand his freshmen to play well all year. When they don’t, we can get 10 losses. Remember that the team anchored by Knight, Harrelson, and Miller has a lot of inconsistent performances from Jones and Lamb, and even Knight at times.

    Maybe benching Archie will work, but if Cal doesn’t do it, it’s because he doesn’t think that’s the right coaching style for Archie.

  43. Han
    12:04 am February 10, 2013 Permalink

    Does anyone else remember a game where Mays had like 10 assists? Where did that go? He’s mostly jacking up 3s now. Probably because Wiltjer, the only other real 3-point threat, often passes them up.

    Cal needs to put the whole team through some more passing and lob drills.

  44. rainman
    1:00 am February 10, 2013 Permalink

    Wow, I just threw up in my mouth seeing Beenor
    in a Ky. jacket! Please say it ain’t so!

  45. Wildcatsteeler
    3:00 am February 10, 2013 Permalink

    @44 I couldn’t agree more. Better than nutjob Rand Paul though. Boner is actually somewhat of a rational Republican. He just has a bunch of teaparty morons pulling his party to the far, insane right that don’t have to listen to him because there are idiot states like Kentucky that will vote them in.

  46. SammyB
    5:30 am February 10, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t care what ANY draft sight has Archie goin to the League,…that shi just ain’t happening,..not this year. The only player that wouldn’t go str8 to the D-league is Nerlens and anyone that actually knows this sport, knows that. @9 Don’t understand your comment about Harrow,..and for that matter I did wonder why Cal pulled him, cant see your reasoning though. There is NO WAY he should have been taken out at that point, IMOP you should never take a player out that has got a HOT HAND and there had not really been enough PT at that point to make any judgement on how he was playing in other areas of the game.
    Polson has definitely been stepping his game up but needs to get a little more confident about taken some shots, he would be a lot more effective that way, saw him pass up a few OPEN shots today. Starting lineup should be
    Need to keep a good rotation goin with Jarrod and Willy as needed depending on how things are going. Archie has ALOT of work to do, but I think he can be a break out performer next year once he gets it out of his head that he isn’t goin to The League in 2013.

  47. SammyB
    5:37 am February 10, 2013 Permalink

    Wltjer needs to get that “Killer Instinct” back,..seems like its been wearing off lately,we absolutely need him to have any chance of a run this year.

  48. Red headed blue blood
    9:13 am February 10, 2013 Permalink

    4 you are correct. With who we have at the wheel he should never stop crying
    With an ounce of reflection we should all join him
    GoBlue and redwhiteandblue

  49. BurnerTurner5
    9:36 am February 10, 2013 Permalink

    Wildcatsteeler. You say far right like it’s a bad thing. Better than the extreme left tree hugging socialist anarchy loving pieces of shit!!!

    4:48 pm February 10, 2013 Permalink

    Nice picture of the Speaker. I bet if it he was a democrat you would have posted a picture of him smiling or cheering.

  51. Andy
    9:12 pm February 10, 2013 Permalink

    #11. Half the country is crying now that that Burger King was reelected as President.