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JwgreDeux

Kentucky - Preview

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Auburn vs. #6 Kentucky (M Basketball)

Auburn (11-5, 1-3) at Kentucky (14-2, 4-0)

Auburn comes limping into this game, physically and mentally, after a much needed road win at Mizzou.  Kentucky has it rolling and their young guns seem to be finding their mid-season form right on schedule. They are the top scoring team in the country, winning games by an average of 22 points, they don't turn the ball over, they rebound, shoot a good percentage from the floor, and love to push the tempo. They are favored by almost everyone to win the SEC and go very deep in the tourney, likely the final four, and a shot at another title. 

We can analyse this game a number of ways, hope to avoid a blowout, just keep it close for a while, beat the Vegas line (which isn't out yet, but it will be big 20+ in favor of UK), or we can look at any chance we have to actually win the game; I will look at the latter. 

Kentucky is not unbeatable, they have two losses on the season to this point, and only a couple of other close games.  Looking at their results, one loss (to UCLA) and one close game (win over UNC) have been when they were confronted with another team who had the athletes to play up tempo games and stood toe to toe in a shoot out. Their other loss (to Louisville) and a close game (win over Vandy) were slower games where UK was held to 70 and 87 points respectively in mostly half court contests. Looking at this, we don't fit either mold very well for replicating others' success vs the Cats. So what do we do? Let's start by looking at what UK struggles with and what our strong suits are: 

Statistically speaking UK's worst areas (150th or worse) are allowing 62.4 field goal attempts per game, allowing 21.4 three point attempts per game, and allowing 21 free throws per game, and allowing 10 offensive rebounds per game, they also only shoot 34% from three vs 56% from two. 

Statistically speaking AU's best areas (top 60 or better) are field goals attempted per game 61, three pointers made per game 9, three pointers attempted per game 25, Free throws made per game 18 (#15 nationally), free throws attempted per game 27 (#5 nationally), opposing three points % per game 31.6%, we rank well in steels and blocks as well. 

So what do we have to do? It starts with slowing them down on offense, the way we do that is to press less, and make shots. Shooting a good percentage not only puts points up on the board, but if forces the other team to gather the made shot and inbound the ball. Additionally, we have to guard the paint and force them to shoot jump shots away from the basket, and when they miss we need to have the best defensive rebounding game of the season. IF we are able to do a good job of this, on offense we need to look to drive for fouls and move the ball for open three point shots. UK is pretty aggressive on defense, ball fakes and ball movement can lead to open jump shots, at that point we simply need to make them. Not some crazy percentage, but we need to shoot above 50% from the floor, and above 40% from three. We can greatly help ourselves out in both of those areas, by shooting a high percentage from the charity stripe, 73%. We don't have to shoot great from all three, but two of the three is a must.  That's our recipe. Do almost all of those things and we could have a chance to shock the basketball world. 

I will be watching Wiley, Brown and Harper in this game. Wiley might be our only player that will have a physical advantage when on the floor, Brown will likely draw the task of guarding Monk and Harper will be facing a tremendous size disadvantage. How all respond will be a key in this game. 

You hope our players see this as an opportunity rather than a daunting challenge. Remember, they are young as well, and youth can make mistakes.

War Eagle!

 

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The way we are currently playing defense, I see a 95 - 65 type game.  I just don't see the horses or the confidence to keep it close.  We don't move our feet so I see Kentucky driving at will against us. We will be jacking up the 3's so our only hope is to be on fire from 3 point land to keep it close.

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9 minutes ago, tigeraddikt said:

I love optimism.

Not saying I expect AU to win, just wanted to look at what our best chance would be......So you're (I'm) saying there's a chance  

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1 minute ago, JwgreDeux said:

Not saying I expect AU to win, just wanted to look at what our best chance would be......So you're (I'm) saying there's a chance  

I know you aren't; I just appreciate objective analysis slanted toward the sun, but with a realistic expectation of losing by 17-24 points. 

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4 minutes ago, Hooverwareagle said:

The way we are currently playing defense, I see a 95 - 65 type game.  I just don't see the horses or the confidence to keep it close.  We don't move our feet so I see Kentucky driving at will against us. We will be jacking up the 3's so our only hope is to be on fire from 3 point land to keep it close.

I'm not that into predictions, but you may be right. I will tell you our defensive execution will be more important that being on "fire" from three. 1st priority has to be to keep them out of the paint as much as possible. 

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2 hours ago, tigeraddikt said:

I know you aren't; I just appreciate objective analysis slanted toward the sun, but with a realistic expectation of losing by 17-24 points. 

we can make it respectable or it can be a 40 point loss if our shooters don't show up.

 

We are going to need UK to play well below their standard and for us to be on fire from outside to have a chance here IMO

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Line is out and it's U.K. -22.5 

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4 hours ago, Tiger said:

we can make it respectable or it can be a 40 point loss if our shooters don't show up.

 

We are going to need UK to play well below their standard and for us to be on fire from outside to have a chance here IMO

Yeah, Kentucky just has too m many horses that can stampede over us. Hopefully, they will be able to keep it respectable.

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Is Purifoy expected to play? Sorry, I am traveling and not watching the updates very closely. Would love to see Bryce Brown get his mojo going and play some great D. Monk has a size advantage but if he goes inside and we double him, he has talented help to take the open shots. Let's shoot well, keep our cool when they get hot, and hit our free throws while executing on defense. Big ask I know. I really hope that Heron and Purifoy are healthy to keep them from ripping the lid off of the game. War Eagle!

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13 hours ago, jamstanjr said:

Is Purifoy expected to play?

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn forward Danjel Purifoy has made progress in his recovery from an ankle injury, but it won't be enough to put him back on the court for the Tigers' game Saturday at No. 6 Kentucky.

"He is out of the boot and moving around and progressing faster than we thought when he was originally diagnosed," Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said Friday. "He will not travel to Kentucky."

Purifoy sprained his ankle in the first half of Auburn's loss to Ole Miss and did not travel with the team for the Tigers' win at Missouri on Tuesday night.

His absence leaves Auburn without its second-leading scorer and rebounder, as the redshirt freshman has averaged 13.7 points and 5.8 boards over 15 games this season.

Anfernee McLemore, who replaced Purifoy in the starting lineup against Missouri, did not score but had four rebounds in his first career start.

Auburn tips off against Kentucky at 3 p.m. CT Saturday on ESPN.

http://auburn.247sports.com/Bolt/Bruce-Pearl-updates-Danjel-Purifoys-status-50524447

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23 minutes ago, aufan57 said:

 

13 hours ago, jamstanjr said:

Is Purifoy expected to play?

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn forward Danjel Purifoy has made progress in his recovery from an ankle injury, but it won't be enough to put him back on the court for the Tigers' game Saturday at No. 6 Kentucky.

 

Thanks 57. Well, this may very well be an "Exhibition game". I think I know what the Cats will be exhibiting, I just hope that the product that we put out on the floor today is worthy of this team's promise. We go to college to get an education and one thing is for certain which is that we will be getting an education today in more ways than one.

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While we certainly will not be favored today, and while many of us are already warming up the criticism we will have for the team after today, just remember this: Auburn Basketball is in a position, today, where a win would most likely bolt them into, or close, to a top 25 ranking. A Win over Texas Tech and non-home victories against 2 power five schools and Kentucky would look pretty impressive and could be the beginning of a season to remember. Don't expect it today, just know that while it is certainly a daunting task, it is also a huge opportunity to be the turning point of the program. 

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11 minutes ago, tigerbrotha12 said:

While we certainly will not be favored today, and while many of us are already warming up the criticism we will have for the team after today, just remember this: Auburn Basketball is in a position, today, where a win would most likely bolt them into, or close, to a top 25 ranking. A Win over Texas Tech and non-home victories against 2 power five schools and Kentucky would look pretty impressive and could be the beginning of a season to remember. Don't expect it today, just know that while it is certainly a daunting task, it is also a huge opportunity to be the turning point of the program. 

No it won't. We just lost 3 of our last 4 games and they were to 3 teams not even getting top 25 votes much less be ranked in the top 25.

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