"We are just trying to stay positive and make sure the guys understand it is one game at a time," Auburn coach Tony Barbee said. "We played Florida State and Vandy on their home floors and they are two of the better defensive teams in the country. We have to get back to playing with confidence. When you don't make shots, you can't let that affect you on the defensive end and right now we are, and that's what happens when you have a young team.
"In our last two games, we have got as good of looks as we have all year. We are not sticking them in the rim. That can deflate you. We just have to have guys step up and knock them down."
Auburn is shooting only 43 percent from the field on the year and scoring just 66 points per game. Kentucky opponents are shooting just 35 percent from the field and scoring only 59 points per game.
Guards Frankie Sullivan (11.2 points per game) and Varez Ward (9.2 points) and transfer forward Noel Johnson (1.3 points) sat out all or part of last season, but they have not helped a team that lost 20 games last year as much as anticipated. . Their impact hasn't been as great as hoped this year, particularly in back-to-back blowouts to Vandy and Florida State in which Auburn was trounced 150-91.
"For whatever reason, the guys who were supposed to be catalysts and difference-makers on this team, they're making a difference in the wrong way," Barbee said after Saturday's loss. "They're making a difference in us losing because they're not producing anything." Auburn has been outscored 88-35 in the first halves of the last two games.
Leading scorer Kenny Gabriel (11.9 points) was 1-for-7 against Vanderbilt. Rob Chubb, who is scoring 9.7 points per game, was 1-for-10. "It doesn't matter who we're playing," Barbee said. "If you're going to be as ineffective offensively and then be the softest team I've ever been around, you're not beating anybody."