NCAA Tournament: Kentucky vs. Auburn fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Sunday, March 31
Game Time: 2:20 pm ET
Venue: Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO
All You Really Need To Know About Kentucky (30-6)
(SEC), NCAA NET Rank: 6. Midwest 2-seed
It’s going to get blown off a bit because no one except the hardest-core hoops junkie saw Houston play, but that was a really, really good win by Kentucky.
It was a battle until the end, but the Wildcats showed off what they can do in a grinding game. They got the outside shooting from Travis Herro. They got hurt enough help from the various parts at the right time, And they got PJ Washington back from a foot injury, scoring 16 points in more than just a limited role.
Most of all, UK crushed Houston on the boards, winning the battle 36-23 with 11 offensive rebounds. Auburn was able to go up against the biggest, baddest rebounding team going in North Carolina and won, but that can’t happen against UK.
One of the big keys in the win is one of Auburn’s biggest issues. Houston commits a ton of fouls, and so do the Tigers. Mostly thanks to Herro, UK is great on the line, and a whole lot better than it was against the Cougars. However, the Cats made 14 free throws. Houston attempted 12 and made nine. There’s your difference in a four point victory.
All You Really Need To Know About Auburn (29-9)
(SEC), NCAA NET Rank: 18. Midwest 5-seed
Auburn just beat an amazing North Carolina team by 17. It all worked.
Yeah, it was beaten on the boards, but only by four. The Tigers nailed 46% of their three point shots, and UNC only connected on 7-of-28. Who else doesn’t shoot a lot of threes? Kentucky.
Auburn didn’t suffer from a slew of turnovers, moved the ball around well, and hit absolutely everything … except on the line. The Tigers only made 8-of-17 free throws – they can’t get away with that again.
They want to run, they want to get up and down the floor in a hurry, and they want to make this a shootout. However …
What’s Going To Happen
Kentucky has PJ Washington, and Auburn lost Chuma Okeke to a knee injury. Yeah, Auburn was on fire once Okeke went out, but that’s a big, big loss.
How did UK beat Auburn twice during the regular season? It hit its free throws – 24 made to Auburn’s 15 – and came up with a few more key rebounds in the first win by two. That’s when the three were falling for the Tigers. In the second win, Auburn was awful from three and got hammered by 27. What else happened? UK won on … rebounds and free throws, and it happened to hit its threes.
Auburn might be playing far better than it did during the regular season, but Washington’s return is a huge factor, and the fouls will turn into a massive differentiating factor late.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Kentucky 77, Auburn 74
Line: Kentucky -2.5, o/u: 143.5
ATS Confidence: 2
5: Watching games by Vegas pool working on fruity drink No. 3
1: Watching game online while doing TPS reports in your cubicle