UKmadness

Kentucky vs. Auburn Preview

Posted by ibleedblue040 on January 16, 2010

On Saturday afternoon UK hosts an Auburn Tigers team that is coming off an embarassing 81-55 loss at Tennessee thursday night but looks to rebound with an upset of the undefeated Cats tomorrow.

Led by senior DeWayne Reed (16.1 ppg), the Tigers are already 0-2 in the SEC and have the same record against ranked opponents this season. Auburn not only will come into the game with only one full day’s rest but is extremely undersized, starting only one player taller than 6’6 where as UK starts three.

Kentucky has been playing great as of late, winning at Florida handily earlier this week and recent victories over Louisville and Georgia at home. One key for the Cats has been the increased level of play by UK “role players” like Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton, who each had great games against Florida.

When Kentucky can have players other than Wall, Patterson, and Cousins step up, especially underclassmen, it makes them 10x more dangerous because it makes them impossible to guard defensively because you simply can not stop 4-5 guys all at once for an extended period of time. It has been great to watch Eric Bledsoe take over games when the defenses are geared to stop John Wall because ironically it opens things up on the court for Wall.

Projected Starting Lineups

G — DeWayne Reed vs. John Wall
Advantage: John Wall, UK
Why: Wall will have the advantage in every matchup he plays this season because he has simply been the best player in the nation. His combination of speed, athleticsm, and diversity offensively have NBA scouts salivating and college basketball fans shaking their heads in amazement.

G — Tay Waller vs. Eric Bledsoe
Advantage: Eric Bledsoe, UK
Why: In a matchup of #24’s Bledsoe gets the advantage largely because of his supporting cast. Bledsoe can allow the game to come to him without rushing his game because his team is far superior skill-wise. Bledsoe is coming off a career-high 25 points as opposed to Waller’s 7 point outing against Tennessee

G — Frankie Sullivan vs. F — Darius Miller
Advantage: Darius Miller, UK
Why:
Miller at 6’7 as a gigantic height advantage over the 6’2 Sullivan and I’m sure Coach Cal will have several ways to implement this mismatch into the gameplan. I would be surprised if you don’t see a breakout game by Miller against an opponent that he can shoot without worry against and can drive the lane at will.

F — Lucas Hargrove vs. Patrick Patterson
Advantage: Patrick Patterson, UK
Why: Pattrson has been the premiere big man in the SEC for the past season now and he will have a severe advantage at the upsettingly undersized Hargrove. Patterson has about two inches and thiry pounds on Hargrove and should be fed in the post several times early to expose Auburn’s lack of size.
F — Johnnie Lett vs. C — DeMarcus Cousins
Advantage: DeMarcus Cousins
Why: Big Cuz too will have a size advantage because he stands nearly seven-feet tall and two-hundred sixty pounds. Cousins has dominated every single game this season when he stays out of foul trouble and against a player who is four inches shorter than himself he should be able to avoid foul trouble by simply standing tall.

Notable Facts

– Kentucky is 83-17 all-time against Auburn
– Kentucky has won 10 straight meetings and is 24-1 in the last 25 meetings
– The most single-game points Kentucky has scored against Auburn is 119 (119-76 win) in 1975
– Kentucky is 169-24 all-time when ranked #2 in the country with the last loss coming in the NCAA Tournament to UAB in 2004
– The last game Kentucky played against Auburn while ranked was an 81-73 win in 2005

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