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Kentucky vs. Auburn - 3/31/19 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Game
Auburn at Kentucky
Date & Time Sunday March 31, 2019, 2:20 PM (EDT)
Location
Sprint Center
Kansas City, MO
The Line
Kentucky Wildcats -2.5 -- O/U: 144.5
TV Channel
CBS
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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Auburn Tigers and the Kentucky Wildcats meet in an all-SEC elite 8 matchup in an NCAA tournament matchup in college basketball action from the Sprint Center on Sunday.

The Auburn Tigers punched their ticket to the regional finals after a 97-80 win over North Carolina in the sweet 16. Chuma Okeke led the Tigers with 20 points on 8 of 11 shooting with 3 threes and a team-high 11 rebounds for the double-double while Malik Dunbar added 13 points with 3 triples. Bryce Brown and Danjel Purifoy each added 12 points and Samir Doughty and J’Von McCormick each had 10 points to round out the group of double-digit scorers for Auburn in the win. Jared Harper added 9 points and a team-high 11 assists as well in the winning effort. Brown leads Auburn in scoring with 15.8 points per game while Okeke leads the Tigers on the glass with 6.8 rebounds per game and Harper leads Auburn in assists with 5.8 assists per game this season. As a team, Auburn is averaging 80.2 points per game on 45.3% shooting from the field, 38.1% from behind the arc and 70.8% from the foul line this season.

The Kentucky Wildcats booked their spot in the elite 8 after a 62-58 win over Houston on Friday. Tyler Herro led the Wildcats with 19 points while PJ Washington chipped in 16 points off of the bench as the only other Kentucky player to score in double figures in the win. Reid Travis had 6 points with a team-high 10 rebounds while Keldon Johnson had 7 points, 8 rebounds and a team-high 4 assists. Washington leads Kentucky in scoring and rebounding with 14.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game while Ashton Hagans leads the Wildcats in assists with 4.3 assists per game this season. As a team, Kentucky is averaging 76 points per game on 47.8% shooting from the field, 35.8% from behind the 3-point line and 74.3% from the foul line this season.

Auburn is 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games overall and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games while the under is 12-3 in their last 15 games against a team with a winning record. Kentucky is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall and 35-16-4 ATS in their last 55 neutral site games while the under is 22-5 in their last 27 games following a win. The under is 12-3 in the last 15 meetings between these two teams.

Kentucky won both meetings in the regular season, on the road by 2 points and at home by 27, so I can understand the Wildcats being favored here. However, even though I had Kentucky in the final four in my bracket, I’ve become a believer in what the Tigers are selling here. Auburn isn’t always pretty, but the Tigers are finding different ways to win games and are lighting up the scoreboard offensively in the process. Kentucky has done a good job with their defense, but it’s hard to beat the same time three times in a single season and I think Auburn has revenge on their minds and what better way to get revenge than to knock the other team out of the national tournament. Auburn opened a lot of eyes with their performance against UNC, and I think the Tigers have another one in them so I’ll side with Auburn and the points in a game I see the Tigers winning outright to punch their ticket to the final four.

Pick:
Auburn +2.5

Chris has been a sports fan from when he was old enough to pick up a basketball and was a standout offensive lineman throughout high school and college. Chris uses that same instinct, determination and drive to analyze trends and statistics to find and produce winners on a consistent basis. Chris has been writing for Sports Chat Place since 2016 and covers a wide array of sports from college and pro football, college basketball, hockey and baseball.

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