UK vs. Auburn preview (with video)

During the media session the day before the game, Auburn head coach Tony Barbee passed through.

“I told him he’s welcome to stay,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “It seems like we’re running about the same thing. It’s not like we’re going to confuse him.”

The two are as familiar with each other’s styles as they are with each other as persons. Calipari recruited Barbee at Massachusetts, and they ended up coaching together. If that wasn’t enough to deter Calipari, there’s also this: Auburn scored six points in the first half against LSU in its last game.

“I think we set the game back about 50 years,” Barbee said of the offensive performance.

They did score 49 points in the second half in a seven-point loss. But that first half did little to make people regard them as serious threats. Still, UK is not ready to overlook the Tigers. Not after losing their SEC opener, and not with the memory of a lackluster first half against Penn that led to a double-digit deficit in the first half still fresh.

“You take this game like you did Penn and you’ll be in the same position,” Calipari said. “I would say this team is better than Penn.”

What they do well: Force turnovers (23.8 turnover percentage).

What they don’t do well: Shoot (42.2 FG % on two-pointers). Win (7-8). And those six points.

Projected win percentage: 99 percent for UK.

The four factors: UK holds an advantage in the three most important categories. Auburn has an advantage in getting to the free throw line. Considering the lopsided free throw differential when UK played Georgia, will be interesting to see how that particular segment plays out.