Cats Destroy Auburn, Lock up Tournament Berth
Heading into the final six games of the season, we said that Auburn had three very winnable games (during which they went 2-1), and three very difficult games. In try one of the three difficult games, a road matchup in Lexington against John Calipari’s Wildcats, Auburn did not just fail. They failed to show up. In a game where a win would have likely locked up a trip to the NCAA Tournament for Auburn, they instead were overwhelmed in a 32-point beatdown.
Kentucky, on the other hand, appears to be playing their best basketball at the right time after the wheels seemed to be coming off early in the season. A hell of a coaching job by John Calipari to have this team as someone nobody wants to play in March given where they were at early on in the year. Oscar Tshiebwe continues to shine for Big Blue, putting up 22 points and 17 rebounds, while Cason Wallace contributed 19 points and 9 assists and Antonio Reeves added 21 points.
Auburn has put themselves in a very tough spot here. They head to Tuscaloosa on Wednesday to try to avoid the sweep against the Crimson Tide, but Alabama will be extra motivated now that they can win the SEC regular season title and cut down the nets at home with a victory. The Tigers have one more home game this Saturday against Tennessee, and a win in either of the final two would all but guarantee their status headed into the SEC Tournament.
Losing both would really be playing with fire, however. If you lose both of these games, you almost have to win a game or two in the the SEC Tournament to guarantee yourself a spot in the big dance. Bruce Pearl certainly doesn’t want to leave it up to the decision makers, so his Tigers would do themselves a big favor by winning one of the next two.