It is game night so here are the Kentucky Wildcats vs Auburn Tigers Game Notes courtesy of the UKAA:
• The Wildcats are in their 111th season of basketball and are the national leaders in total wins with 2,129.
• Kentucky and Auburn will meet on Wednesday for the lone regular season matchup of the season. UK leads the all-time series by an 88-17 margin including a 29-13 mark in Auburn.
• UK has used an all freshmen starting lineup in each of the last three games. The Wildcats are 3-0 in those contests. Dakari Johnson was terrific at Mississippi State posting nine points and a team-high eight rebounds in the victory.
• The Wildcats held Mississippi State to just one made 3-pointer on Saturday. That’s the sixth time in the John Calipari era that UK has held an opponent to just one made 3-pointer. Last year at Auburn, UK held the Tigers to zero 3-pointers.
• Freshman Aaron Harrison has been the epitome of consistency for the Cats this season. Harrison posted nine points and had six rebounds and assists against Mississippi State. The six boards and dimes were just one shy of career high marks in both categories.
• Seniors Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson played significant roles in the win at Mississippi State. Polson played a season-high 30 minutes, while Hood contributed 13 minutes and a team-best plus/minus average of +15.
• Kentucky continues its brutal stretch of playing five of seven games on the road at Auburn. UK will return home vs. Florida on Saturday before completing the stretch at Ole Miss next Tuesday.
• In the latest release of the RPI, Kentucky’s strength of schedule ranks at No. 5 in the nation with 10 victories over teams rated in the top 100 of the RPI.
Happy Birthday Coach!
Coach John Calipari celebrated his 55th birthday on Feb. 10. During his time at UK he is 6-2 during his birthday week.
Tough to Hit From Long Range vs. the Cats
Kentucky is limiting opponents to a .304 shooting percentage from behind the arc in 2014. SEC foes are only managing a .297 clip against the Cats. At Mississippi State, the Wildcats held their sixth opponent in the John Calipari era to just one made 3-point field goal.
Wildcats Dominating the Paint
UK is shooting at a .470 percentage against SEC opponents and a lot of that success can be contributed to the Cats’ dominance inside the paint. The Wildcats are scoring 54.6 points per game from two-point range, with just 19.4 points per outing coming from long range. With a shooting percentage of .537 within the arc it is a mark that ranks as the 15th best in the nation.
Kentucky’s success in the paint is directly contributed to its offensive rebounding percentage which ranks second in the nation at a .427 clip. The Blue and White is averaging 16.4 second chance points per game.
Every Lineup Working
Against SEC opponents, Kentucky is outscoring its opponents by a 10.5 margin. No UK player has a negative plus-minus average against SEC opponents. Freshman James Young leads the way with a plus-minus average of 10.7, while Andrew Harrison is next at 8.0. UK’s strongest lineup against SEC foes at +26 is Young, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Julius Randle and Dakari Johnson.
Kentucky Approaching Win No. 20
Kentucky currently owns an 18-5 overall record and is quickly approaching its 58th 20-win season. Head coach John Calipari has coached a 20-win season at UK in each of his previous four seasons and currently has 19 in his collegiate coaching career. With a 20-win season in 2014, Calipari will have coached 20 consecutive 20-win squads.
Offense is Clicking
The Wildcats owned an offensive efficiency rating of 119.5 by KenPom.com, a mark that ranked as the fifth best total in the nation following its game with Ole Miss. During a stretch of three victories (Georgia, Missouri, Ole Miss), UK’s points-per-possession have topped over 1.20 per game. Furthermore, UK is hitting the boards for points. The Blue and White rank first nationally with an offensive rebounding percentage of .432. Kentucky averages 16.5 second chance points a game.
Kentucky owned a one-point halftime advantage over Ole Miss on Tuesday before outscoring the Rebels 45-30 in the second half. UK was dominant in the paint scoring 25 of its final 27 points inside 15-feet resulting in a .600 performance from the floor in the second stanza.
UK’s top-four scoring leaders are freshmen for the first time in the John Calipari era. The only other team during the last five years with leading scorers comprised of freshmen was the 2010-11 squad. That squad was comprised of Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb. UK’s top scorers in 2013-14 are Julius Randle, JamesYoung, Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison.