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Snap Judgments: Kentucky

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The fellas were FIRED UP about beating Kentucky this afternoon!

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, so Dylan Cardwell may have all of us beat in how fired up we are about today but still, Auburn found a way to win this game despite offensive struggles in the first half and a tough shooting day from Sharife Cooper. This Kentucky team is quite perplexing and Coach Cal is getting a lot of heat after this one for some of his coaching decisions. Regardless, it’s an Auburn win and it comes on the heels of knocking off Georgia. Now the Tigers have something to build on after an 0-4 start to SEC play. Here’s what the rest of our group thought about what they saw today in Auburn Arena.

“Devan Cambridge may be the player of the game here. He had several huge defensive plays and nearly every shot he made was a key shot that either stopped the bleeding or shifted momentum in our favor. Sharife Cooper seems to have unlocked something in the ole Bounce Man and I am here for it.” -AU Chief

“After two straight games where Sharife Cooper was featured, we got to see what happens when he wasn’t fully on. Devan Cambridge, J.T. Thor, and Allen Flanigan all had huge games today, and even when Coop wasn’t scoring he was dishing, and Devan seems to be a huge recipient of his benevolence. It was wild to see an Auburn team bigger than Kentucky, and we didn’t really have trouble rebounding today. Again, we also didn’t shoot well today but outworked Kentucky. Bruce Pearl effect is real.” -Jack Condon

“What a win. Nobody has grown up as much as Dylan Cardwell. That dude had some plays today. J.T. Thor’s defensive blitzkrieg won us the game, though. Devan played his rear end off, Flan is a future superstar (if not already) and this team hasn’t even had game minutes to play with both Cooper and Powell yet. The best is yet to come, but the present is pretty damn fun.” -Josh Dub

“Allen Flanigan is capable of having quiet 21 point games and that’s a thing that is happening in 2021. Wild. We have a bona fide star on the team in Sharife and he may be the best lob passer I’ve ever seen play college basketball. J.T. Thor is a nightmare. He has to be the most terrifying thing to see if you’re an opposing coach. Just an octopus holding eight chainsaws. -Son of Crow

This was one of the uglier games I’ve seen since the beginning of the Bruce Pearl renaissance, but this team showed some toughness that I wasn’t sure they had. Most importantly, it wasn’t one guy willing them to a win. I can think of key stretches by seven players who all fought tooth and nail to keep Auburn either in the game or in the lead. Flan had maybe the quietest 21 point/9 rebound game in recent memory, which was keyed on going 8-8 from the stripe. Cambridge, perhaps the guy most of us would be the offensive dynamo on this team before the season, has thrived after his move to the bench. This team is as raw as it is talented, but they have progressed almost every single game. I love them -Ryan Sterritt

“Guys, I love this basketball team and I’m so proud of them for finding a way to win this one. They had just 2 points in the first 9 minutes and only 21 at halftime but a really solid 2nd half where Bruce Pearl clearly made much better adjustments than John Calipari. We all knew going into this season there would be growing pains and that has certainly been the case but with an 8 point lead cut to 2 in the closing moments, we saw an Auburn team have the ability to finish the game behind a ridiculous lob from Sharife Cooper to Jaylin Williams and Thor and Flanigan knock down 4 free throws in the final 20 seconds to ice it. This was not Sharife Cooper’s best game, he’s still only made 1 3-pointer so far but at the end of the game, he made a play or two to help win this game. J.T. Thor came in with about 8 minutes to go and made a couple huge plays on both sides of the floor which allowed Auburn to turn a deficit into a 10 point lead with about 5 minutes left. Allen Flanigan’s career high in points came mostly in the second half and he took over like he did during pre-Sharife times at points in the 2nd half. Devan Cambridge and Thor have benefitted the most from Sharife’ arrival as the light has clearly turned on for J.T. and we’re starting to see why he was a Top 10 recruit in the 2021 class before moving into the 2020 class. Dylan Cardwell also outplayed and outworked some 5-star guys and high level transfers in the paint today as well with his work on the glass.

Auburn is now 5-4 since the 2015-2016 season against the Wildcats and 4-1 at Auburn Arena. Auburn hasn’t won in Rupp since 1988 and this would be the year to end that streak. My hope is we’ll see Justin Powell back long before that one but get well soon JP! It’s always a great day to beat Kentucky. War Eagle! -Will McLaughlin

I co-sign everything above. **** Tony. **** Cal. God bless Sharife. -James Jones