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Kentucky hopes to continue dominance against Auburn

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The Kentucky Wildcats visit the Auburn Tigers in a game that they can’t overlook. Kentucky could easily look past this game at Auburn with a showdown against Florida looming Saturday, but they have won 15 straight meetings and 29 of the last 30 encounters, while head coach John Calipari is 7-0 against Auburn counterpart Tony Barbee, who played under Calipari at Massachusetts and served as his assistant for six seasons during a successful run in Memphis, which means that there’s a lot on the line.

Kentucky beat Mississippi State 69-59 on Saturday for their third straight win while Auburn’s win streak was snapped by LSU 87-80 on Saturday.

While Kentucky is among the nation’s elite teams and a national championship contender, they have struggled on the road 4-5, including 3-3 in true road contests, as their heralded freshmen look to gain more experience prior to the NCAA Tournament.

Freshman forward Julius Randle averages 16.0 points and is second in the SEC with 9.8 rebounds in what is expected to be the future NBA lottery pick’s only season with Kentucky. Randle leads all freshmen with 11 double-doubles, but recorded only one in his last seven games.

First-year players James Young (14.5 points), Aaron Harrison (14.0 points) and Andrew Harrison (10.7 points) are Kentucky’s other double-figure scorers.

The team must improve on their 3-point shooting (31.9) and free-throw (67.8) percentages, while they need to play with a greater sense of urgency with March Madness approaching quickly.

The Auburn frontcourt was outscored 46-8 on Saturday and they face another stern challenge. Senior guard Chris Denson leads the SEC in scoring at 20.2 points and averaged 26 over the last four games, while shooting 56.7 percent from the field, after recording 29 against LSU.

Auburn last defeated Kentucky 66-63 on January 11, 2000.

According to the NCAAB Lines at OddsBay, Kentucky is a 7-point favorite at most sportsbooks.

Game Details:

What: No. 14 Kentucky Wildcats (18-5) vs. Auburn Tigers (11-10)

When: 8:00 PM ET, February 12

Where: Auburn Arena

Coverage: ESPN3

Line: Kentucky -7

Total: 146½

Betting Trends:

– Kentucky is 1-5 ATS in road games

– Kentucky is 5-5 ATS against conference opponents

– Kentucky is 9-11 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record

– Auburn is 6-5 ATS as an underdog

– Auburn is 7-2 ATS in home games

– Auburn is 5-6 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record

– The total has gone UNDER in 10 of the last 14 games in this series

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