One of the most exciting head-to-head matchups in men's basketball in the last year-plus has been between Auburn and Kentucky. They've played four times since January 2019, and each school has won twice.
Auburn has won the last two meetings — 77-71 in overtime in the 2019 NCAA Tournament to go to its first-ever Final Four and again at home on Feb. 1, 75-66. The Wildcats swept the Tigers in the regular season last year, including a thrilling 82-80 victory on the road.
With four games left in the regular season, No. 8 Kentucky (23-5, 13-2 SEC) has a two-game lead over No. 15 Auburn (24-4, 11-4 SEC).
Given the way both teams are playing this season, don't be surprised if their next game isn't the last time they play this year.
Auburn at Kentucky: Time, TV channel
Kentucky will host Auburn at 3:45 p.m. ET Saturday, Feb. 29. The game will be broadcast on CBS.
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Auburn at Kentucky: Preview, prediction
These are two of the most balanced teams in the conference with Kentucky's offense ranked No. 28 on kenpom.com and its defense ranked No. 45, entering Wednesday's games. Auburn ranks No. 38 and No. 60, respectively.
Samir Doughty scored a team-high 23 points in Auburn's victory earlier this month on 4-of-10 shooting, thanks to a 14-of-15 mark from the free-throw line. The Tigers got to the line 44 times to the Wildcats' 24.
Auburn's free-throw rate and its incredible offensive rebounding (17 offensive boards on 33 missed shots) made it possible for the Tigers to win by nine even though they shot just 6-of-23 from 3-point range.
Kentucky guards Immanuel Quickley (23 points) and Tyrese Maxey (22 points) both scored efficiently but the 'Cats struggled on the defensive glass. Fellow guard Ashton Hagans had six turnovers and the team committed 29 fouls with five different players finishing with four or five fouls.
Hagans, who made just 2-of-5 shots for five points, needs to play better in the rematch and Kentucky will need a big performance from Nick Richards, who's the leading rebounder on a Kentucky team that was decimated on the boards.
Neither team is even an average 3-point shooting club, which means offensive rebounding and getting to the free-throw line — two things Auburn excels at and did well last time the two sides met — will be critical.
Kentucky has lost just twice in 2020 (and one of those losses was against the Tigers) and the Wildcats are 15-1 at home this season with the lone loss coming against Evansville back in mid-November. Playing a road game inside Rupp Arena is a tall task for anyone, especially a Tigers team that lost its last two road games against Missouri and Georgia teams that are a combined 9-19 in SEC play.
Prediction: Kentucky defeats Auburn.