TV: Saturday, February 13, 1:00 PM ET on CBS
Location – Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY
While this may not be a matchup of two of the top teams in the SEC as in previous years, this is a matchup that will for sure be entertaining to watch as the series between the two has been split 5-5 in the last 10 meetings between the Wildcats and the Tigers.
It has certainly been a forgetful year for the Kentucky Wildcats. After bringing in arguably the top recruiting class in the country, Big Blue has struggled mightily this season en route to a 5-13 overall record, as well as 4-7 in the SEC.
You might have to look hard to find some positives for the Wildcats so far this season. Kentucky is only averaging 68.5 PPG, while allowing 70.1 PPG, and has only scored over 70 points in eight of their eighteen games. This season’s version of coach John Calipari’s Wildcats have plenty of talent, including Brandon Boston Jr, Keion Brooks Jr, and Olivier Sarr, but have just never been able to fully click as a group this season.
Meanwhile, there are some positives that can be found for the Auburn Tigers. The Tigers are barely above .500 sitting at 11-10 overall, while also being 5-7 in the SEC.
Auburn is averaging 78.8 PPG on 44.9% shooting, and are led by one of the best players in college basketball in freshman guard Sharife Cooper. Cooper is averaging 20.2 PPG and 8.7 APG during his ten games played so far this season and is key to the success of the Tigers due to his ability to completely take over the game at any moment. This youthful Tigers team also displays a few young players having breakout seasons such as Allen Flanigan, Jaylin Williams, and JT Thor.
This game should play out just about how the previous game was between these two, however, I expect the score to be a little higher. Auburn defeated Kentucky 66-59 back in mid-January inside Auburn Arena in a game where neither team played well at all.
This game will be close throughout, and you should expect both teams to shoot the ball better than the previous meeting in particular. Look for Cooper to be more of a scoring factor offensively, and a bounce-back game from Boston, who only scored 5 points on 2/9 shooting in the previous matchup.
Prediction: Kentucky 76, Auburn 72