GAMEDAY THREAD: UK vs Auburn

John Calipari takes his team to Auburn tonight for a matchup he does not particularly relish. The Kentucky coach is 5-0 in his career against the Tigers, but four of those have come against a close friend in his former UMass player, Tony Barbee.

DISCUSS THE CATS VS. TIGERS

John Calipari takes his team to Auburn tonight for a matchup he does not particularly relish.

The Kentucky coach is 5-0 in his career against the Tigers, but four of those have come against a close friend in his former UMass player, Tony Barbee.

Sign up for AllWildcats!

This matchup may represent Barbee's best shot at knocking off his old coach. Auburn (11-10, 3-7 SEC) has two of the better offensive threats in the league this year in guards Chris Denson (20.2 ppg) and K.T. Harrell (19.4 ppg).

Kentucky (18-5, 8-2 SEC) has struggled at times against teams with good guard play, especially when it comes to transition defense.

"We've been working on it for quite a while," said UK assistant coach Kenny Payne, who sat in for Calipari during Tuesday's press conference. "I think the thing that we have to continue to do is continue to build on it, continue to remind them of how important it is because every team seems to be using that as an advantage for them. It's a weakness of our team that we need to address.

"There is a saying that we are ‘taking pictures'. So the ball goes up, somebody shoots it, and we're watching the ball instead of getting back on defense."

And for those who believe in the concept of "trap games," the No. 14 Wildcats are in danger of getting caught looking ahead to a Saturday showdown with No. 3 Florida at Rupp Arena.

"If we walk in there and just think that we're going to beat them, it's not happening," Payne said.

Here are a few tidbits to get you ready for tonight's 8 p.m. ET matchup on the SEC Network:

• UK leads the all-time series 88-17, including a 29-13 mark in Auburn. The Cats have won 15 straight over the Tigers dating back to a 66-63 loss in 2000. Auburn has only two wins against UK since 1990.

• Calipari celebrated his 55th birthday on Monday. During his time at UK, the Cats are 6-2 during his birthday week.

• UK ranks first nationally with an offensive rebounding percentage of .432. The Cats average 16.5 second-chance points per game.

• Freshman forward Julius Randle leads UK in scoring (16.0 ppg) and rebounding (9.8 rpg).

• Freshman wing James Young leads the Cats with a plus/minus average of 10.7 during SEC play.

• Sophomore center Willie Cauley-Stein has blocked 72 shots this season. He needs just eight more to move into a tie with Sam Bowie (1980-81) for fifth place on UK's single-season blocks list.

Join us for discussion of tonight's game on our basketball forum, linked below:

DISCUSS THE CATS VS. TIGERS


AllWildcats Top Stories