By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer
On Wednesday night, the 2017-18 Cats joined a short list of six other Kentucky basketball teams that have lost four games in a row when they fell by 10 points at Auburn to the league leading Tigers.
The Cats fought the good fight for 33 minutes, and led by 4 points, 57-53, at the under 8 media timeout with 7:52 remaining. The Cats and Tigers traded baskets to a 59-55 Kentucky lead, and when the Cats had a chance to extend their lead, a 3 point attempt by Hamidou Diallo from the left corner touched every inch of the rim before spinning out and away from the basket.
Auburn scored the next 5 points to move back on top, 60-59, and Auburn extended the lead to 5 points, 66-61 at the under 4 media timeout. Over the final four minutes, Auburn outscored the Cats 10-5 for the final 10 point margin, 76-66.
The Cats return to Rupp Arena for perhaps the most important home game of the 2017-18 basketball season. Given the current four game losing streak, the Cats are desperate to win and stop the streak now because a loss to Alabama on Saturday afternoon, would make this only the third UK team in the last 89 seasons to lose at least five in a row.
The Cats hold a 110-37 overall record over Alabama in a series that goes back to 1923. In games played in Lexington, the Cats hold a 56-10 advantage, and for games played in Kentucky, but not on the Kentucky campus, the Cats are 5-0. During the Calipari Era, the Cats hold a 12-2 advantage, including 5-0 at Rupp.
Alabama currently tied with Missouri and Florida for third in the SEC with a 8-5 conference record, and overall Alabama sports a 17-9 record. Alabama’s most impressive win of the season was over #13 Auburn by 5 in Tuscaloosa, and the Crimson Tide’s most difficult loss was to #95 Minnesota by 5 on a neutral court. Alabama’s 17-9, 8-5 record has produced an ANE of 0.164 ppp (#44) by playing a schedule with a strength of 0.090 ppp (#21).
The Cats’ 17-9, 6-7 record has produced an ANE of 0.171 ppp (#41) by playing a schedule with a strength of 0.106 ppp (#7). The ANE analysis gives the edge to Kentucky by 6 points, 75-69, in a game played at a pace of 74 possessions. Pomeroy has the Kentucky favored by 4, 72-68 with a pace of 70 possessions. Vegas opened today with Kentucky a 3 1/2 point favorite.
Use the following link to see how other UK fans handicap this game at 247Sports, The Cats Pause message board:
You can participate in the score prediction contest at 247Sports at the following link: