Auburn Tigers (18-8) vs #4 Kentucky Wildcats (22-4)
NCAA Basketball: Saturday, February 23, 2019, at 1:30 PM EST, Rupp Arena
Spread: -7 Over/Under: 143.5
FREE ESPN NCAA Basketball Pick Auburn Tigers vs #4 Kentucky Wildcats
An SEC rematch! The Auburn Tigers take on the Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena Saturday afternoon. Since Kentucky beat Auburn in the first go around, both teams have been on different trajectories. Kentucky has shot off and has a record of 8-1 since that game in Auburn, Alabama. As for the Tigers, they are 5-4 since then and 2-2 in the last four games. Can the Tigers steal one in Lexington and boost their tournament resume, or will Kentucky show everyone that they are indeed worthy of a #1 seed in March?
The Auburn Tigers are trying to get back to bring a ranked team, but it won’t be easy. The Tigers are getting their star forward, Austin Wiley, more minutes as he is getting back to playing after being injured and missing six games. The success of this Bruce Pearl squad is hinging on the success of Wiley and the two guards, Bryce Brown and Jared Harper.
Speaking of Brown and Harper they are the leading scorers for this year’s Auburn team. They average 16.3 and 15.2PPG respectively while Harper is dishing out 6.2APG. They can both easily get hot from deep and are shooting right at 40% as a tandem from deep. This is an offensive team that likes to run and score a lot of points. They shoot well overall from the field and from deep as a team.
The Auburn Tigers are averaging 81.58PPG, 45.37% from the field, 37.89% from three, and pulling down 36.96RPG. Compared to the rest of the NCAA those averages are ranked 23rd, 104th, 26th, and 79th respectively. The Tigers are only hitting 69.23% of their free throws and in a close game that could hinder them. KenPom has the Tigers rated 14th overall with the 15th most efficient offense and 29th most efficient defense. This team is going to be underseeded come March and will be a danger to some higher seeds.
Kentucky is fresh off of two back-to-back wins after controversially losing to LSU. They absolutely dismantled Tennessee last week and will look to do the same to Auburn. This team has been on a roll since losing to Alabama in January. They are sitting at #4 in the AP and Coaches Poll. The emergence of PJ Washington as a potential SEC POY and All-America candidate has helped tremendously.
The Wildcats are led in scoring by PJ Washington. Washington has averaged 14.9PPG and is averaging over 20PPG over the last month. His three-point shooting has been ridiculous this season. The sophomore forward is averaging 43.9% of his shots from beyond the arc and looks to feel comfortable shooting from that range.
On the season the Wildcats have averaged 78.19PPG, 47.8% from the field, 35.41% from three, and 38.62RPG. Those averages are good for 45th, 26th, 99th, and 30th in the nation respectively. The offense has really come along for this team lately. The Wildcats find themselves at 6th in the KenPom ratings with the 14th most efficient offense and the 9th most efficient defense. They have held three SEC opponents to less than 50 points this season and have proven their defensive prowess time and time again.
Cover the Spread 365 Betting Trends
Auburn is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games
Auburn is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Auburn’s last 5 games
Auburn is 2-6 ATS in its last 8 games on the road
Auburn is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games on the road
#4 Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 games
Kentucky is 12-1 SU in its last 13 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Kentucky’s last 6 games
Kentucky is 1-3-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Auburn
Kentucky is 20-2 SU in its last 22 games when playing Auburn
FREE ESPN NCAA Basketball Pick #4 Kentucky Wildcats vs Auburn Tigers
I would feel confident in the Cats covering, but they are without their 5th-year senior, Reid Travis. Travis is out with a mild knee sprain, ala Zion Williamson. Without that experience and presence inside it will take big games from EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards to pull it off. Not only that, but teams seem to get hot from deep when they play in Rupp Arena. I think Bryce Brown and Jared Harper step up and hit big shots at big times. The Wildcats get another close win over Auburn, but they don’t cover.