College Basketball Game of the Week: Kentucky vs. Auburn
The top two teams in the SEC will face off for the second time this year in a game that can very well determine the regular season champion of the conference, as the 15th-ranked Auburn Tigers will travel to Lexington, Kentucky to take on the Wildcats. The Tigers come into this game with an overall record of 24-4, with an 11-4 conference play record.
The Wildcats come in at 23-5 but hold a 13-2 record in the conference. The game will be a sellout in Rupp Arena, something that John Calipari and Co. have become used to this time of year.
The Auburn Tigers come in winners of their previous two games, with two losses against decent opponents in Missouri and Georgia. They rebounded with solid wins against Tennessee and Ole Miss at home. The Tigers love to spread the wealth on offense this season, as four starters are averaging at least 10 points per game.
Out of those four, senior guard Samir Doughty leads with 16.1 per game. In their last meeting against Kentucky, Doughty had a solid game with 23 points and five rebounds. Senior center Austin Wiley had arguably the best game for the Tigers in their win on February 1, as he put up a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds in just 18 minutes of action.
Since that game, Wiley has played no less than 11 minutes in any game. The Tigers will need him to be dominant in the paint again if they want to sweep the season series.
For the Wildcats, they are currently on a seven-game win streak with their last loss coming to Auburn. They have beaten several quality opponents in Mississippi State, Tennessee, LSU, Florida and Texas A&M.
The Wildcats are playing some of their best basketball of the whole season in February. The majority of the credit goes to sophomore guard Immanuel Quickley, who has been on a tear since the Auburn loss, in which he still put up 23 points and five rebounds. He has scored no less than 17 points in any game, including performances 21, 26, and 30 points in his last three games.
The pain will be controlled by junior forward Nick Richards, who is averaging just under eight rebounds per game and just over two blocks. His matchup against Wiley will most likely determine who will win this game, as both teams love to dominate and score in the paint.
In a game that should be just as good as the first one when Auburn won 75-66 at Auburn Arena. Going into the final week of the regular season, both teams would love to continue their winning streaks going into the SEC tournament and get at least a share of the regular-season title.
A sellout crowd will definitely favor the Wildcats, as they have only one loss at home this season. The Tigers have a record of 4-4 on the road, which gives you just about all the information you need to know who wins this one.
Prediction: Kentucky 76, Auburn 73
Danny Murray is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.