Auburn does not have fond memories of their Elite Eight opponent Kentucky as they are 0-2 against them in 2019 including an 80-53 loss in Rupp Arena. Since that loss, Auburn has gone on an 11-game winning streak. The Wildcats are 7-2 since then with both losses coming to Tennessee. They have many strengths and few weaknesses with a great resume.
Kentucky is a very big team and they use the size to their advantage, especially inside. They average 38.4 rebounds per game and only allow 28.9 rebounds per game. In the two previous meetings between the teams, Auburn was out-rebounded by 26 combined rebounds.
Auburn was only out-rebounded by a great rebounding team in North Carolina by four. Auburn will be without their leading rebounder in that game as Chuma Okeke will be out for the rest of the tournament with a torn ACL.
PJ Washington is Kentucky’s leading rebounder averaging 7.4 per game this season. He missed the first two games of the NCAA tournament with a foot injury. In his return against Houston in the Sweet 16, he scored 16 points but only grabbed two rebounds.
Auburn will need to do what they did against North Carolina especially on the offensive glass to limit Kentucky’s dominance.
One area which Kentucky does struggle with is turning the ball over which really plays into Auburn’s favor.
The Wildcats average 12.6 turnovers per game while Auburn forces 17.4 per game.
Ashton Hagans averages 2.4 turnovers per game, so whatever Auburn guard is matched up with him will look to wreak havoc. Auburn forced 14 turnovers and scored 19 points off of those turnovers. They will need to have a similar stat line to pull off the upset.
The resume for Kentucky is impressive but has a few blemishes. They have strong wins against North Carolina, Kansas, Tennessee and the two against Auburn.
The blemishes include a 34-point loss to Duke, a loss to Seton Hall, Alabama and two to Tennessee. All of these losses have one thing in common and that is they were away from Rupp Arena.
The 34-point loss to Duke was in the opening game of the season when the trio of Duke freshmen came onto the scene. Kentucky only scored 52 points in the first loss to Tennessee and lost an eight-point lead with under three minutes to go in the second loss.
Kentucky will be playing for their eighteenth Final Four appearance and first since 2015 while Auburn will be playing for their first in program history.
Auburn and Kentucky will tip-off on Sunday at 1:20 p.m. CT on CBS.