Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Kentucky vs Auburn....A Preview

Kentucky vs Auburn….2/12/14 Wednesday 8PM (SEC TV-Network)
UK leads the series 88-17

Auburn Tigers

Location: Auburn, Alabama
Enrollment: 25,469
Arena: 9,600

Head Coach: Tony Barbee
Career Record: 117-111 (51.3%) 7 Seasons
At Auburn: 35-59 (37.2%) 3 Seasons

2012-13 Record: 9-23
2012-13 SEC Record: 3-15 
2012-13 Postseason: None

2013-14 Record: 11-10
2013-14 SEC Record: 3-7

Auburn 76 Nicholls St. 56
Northwestern St. 111 Auburn 92
Auburn 78 Jacksonville St. 54
Auburn 75 Murray St. 67
Auburn 78 Tennessee St. 73
Iowa State 99 Auburn 70
Illinois 81 Auburn 62
Auburn 66 Clemson 64
Auburn 77 Boston College 67
Auburn 91 Arkansas-Pine Bluff 59
Auburn 81 Florida A&M 50
Ole Miss 65 Auburn 62
Missouri 70 Auburn 68
Tennessee 78 Auburn 67
Florida 68 Auburn 61
Mississippi St. 82 Auburn 74
Arkansas 86 Auburn 67
Auburn 74 Alabama 55
Auburn 74 Georgia 67
Auburn 79 South Carolina 74
LSU 87 Auburn 80

Auburn Stats:

PPG-73.9
FG%-45.2%
3 PT%-31.9% (5.8 PG)
FT%-70.3%
RPG-35.1 (-0.6 RPG)
APG-12.5
TPG-12.7
SPG-6.2
BPG-4.7

Probable Starting Lineup:

Allen Payne-F 6’6” Sr………………….………7.0 PPG
Assuhn Dixon-Tatum-C 7.0 Sr…….…………..5.6 PPG
KT Harrell-G 6’4” Jr…………………………..19.4 PPG
Chris Denson-G 6’2” Sr………………………..20.2 PPG
Tahj Shamsid-Deen-G 5’10” Fr…………….…..9.4 PPG

Other Key Players:

Dion Wade-G 6’5” Fr…………………………...3.2 PPG
Alex Thompson-F 6’8” Fr…………………….…1.4 PPG
Jordon Granger-F 6’8” Soph…………………….1.1 PPG
Matthew Atewe-C 6’9” Fr………………….……1.5 PPG

Auburn coach, Tony Barbee, who was an assistant under coach Cal at U Mass and Memphis is struggling at Auburn to get the program on the right track. Barbee’s first 3 years at Auburn were 11-20..15-16…9-23…and this season they are 11-10. A winning record of 37% at Auburn after nearly 4 years is going to put coach Barbee on the hot seat…..in addition, attendance at Auburn home games is averaging a dismal 5,647. 

Auburn lost 4 starters from last season’s team, but they won’t be missed after achieving a terrible 9-23 record. This season starting senior Allen Payne returns and KT Harrell, a transfer from Virginia, has become eligible. Barbee also brought in freshman Tahi Shamsid-Deen who was Mr. Basketball in Georgia and played on the Georgia state champion team. Several other key freshmen were added to the roster this season.

Overall, Auburn is not a good shooting perimeter team….however, transfer KT Harrell is an excellent long range shooter hitting 50-128 for 39.1%. Dixon-Tatum and Payne lead the Tigers in rebounds….and Dixon-Tatum also leads in blocks with 42. Starting freshman Shamsid-Deen is leading Auburn in assists with 63. 

The Tigers are 10-3 at home with 5 of their 7 SEC losses coming on the road. At home they lost to Missouri 70-68 and to Florida by only 68-61. So it’s obvious that Auburn will be tough on their home floor….and you can bet that the arena will have it’s best home attendance of the season. 

UK Stats:

PPG-79.5
FG%-47.5%
3 PT%-31.9% (5.1 PG)
FT%-67.8%
RPG-41.6% (+10.1 PG)
APG-12.2
TPG-12.1
SPG-4.7
BPG-6.8

After good wins over Missouri and Ole Miss where the Cats played hard and with passion….for some reason they decided they didn’t have to show up at Mississippi St. Yes, it was a win, but it was an ugly win….and if UK had been playing a better team they could have easily lost. It is beyond disappointing that after 23 games coach Cal still has players that mail in their performance. It was good to see Cal go to his bench and sit these players down on the bench. 

I realize that Cal does his best to protect his players and always gives the excuse that they are young….I understand that. But as a fan, I understand there is a learning curve for freshmen, but for goodness sake….we only have 8 games left in the regular season and we still have players that have to have a fire lit under them to play hard and play transition defense. I’m sorry, this kind of lackluster play is totally inexcusable this late in the season!

This season UK has had several very good games, but they have yet to play 40 minutes of great basketball….offensively and defensively. Perimeter shooting remains a huge concern….at this stage of the season…31.9% is very poor for any team that wants to advance in the NCAA. The last 2 games UK is a horrible 6-31 for 19%! As more and more teams use zone defenses against the Cats….perimeter shooting becomes even more important. 

The window is closing fast on this team improving and even coming close to expectations. This is one of the most inconsistent UK teams in memory. Let’s hope that finally this UK team steps forward and plays each remaining game with great energy and passion!!!! I see a close game at Auburn with UK winning by 5-8 points. GO CATS!

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