Wildcats vs. Tigers – An SEC Showdown

Wildcats vs. Tigers – An SEC Showdown

The No. 15 Auburn Tigers will travel to Lexington, Kentucky, to face the eighth ranked Wildcats at 3:45 p.m. tomorrow. The Tigers have won the past two meetings against the Wildcats, including beating Kentucky in the Elite Eight in overtime last year.

What’s at stake?

Wildcats

Kentucky currently leads the SEC with a 13-2 conference record. The Wildcats are on a seven game win streak, including four road games. With a win on Saturday, Kentucky can clinch the SEC regular season title and a No. 1 seed in the SEC tournament.

Coach Calipari’s team is led by Immanuel Quickley. He’s averaging 16.2 points a game, but lately it has been much, much more than that. In three consecutive games, he has accounted for at least 29 points. During Tuesday’s matchup against the Texas A&M Aggies, Quickley scored 30 points.

Junior forward Nick Richards has also been crucial to Kentucky’s success thus far. He leads the team with 7.9 rebounds.

After the showdown with the Tigers, Kentucky will host Tennessee at home and face the Gators in Gainesville to close out the regular season.

Tigers

Coach Bruce Pearl’s Tigers are sitting in second place of the SEC as of right now. Kentucky holds a two-game lead over Auburn.

Auburn has lost its last two road games falling to Missouri and Georgia. If they were to get a win on Saturday, it would certainly add some drama to the last week of regular season play. Auburn faces both Tennessee and Texas A&M next week.

The Tigers’ shooting percentage this season has dropped from 46 percent to 39 percent when playing on the road.

Senior guard Samir Doughty leads the Tigers in scoring with an average of 16.1 points per game. Doughty scored 14 points in Auburn’s win over Ole Miss Tuesday. This makes it 11 games straight in which he’s scored in the double digits.

Auburn has a tough task awaiting them inside Rupp Arena Saturday afternoon. Kentucky is 48-2 all-time against the Tigers in Lexington.

 

Story can also be found at wruf.com for ESPN Gainesville. 

Ole Miss Head Coaching Hunt

The Ole Miss Rebels finished their season 4-8 after a loss to in-state rival Mississippi State on Thanksgiving. On Sunday, news broke that head coach Matt Luke was fired after spending three seasons with the Rebels achieving a 15-21 overall record.

Luke’s Tenure at Ole Miss

Luke, former assistant coach at Ole Miss, was named interim head coach back in 2017 after Hugh Freeze’s firing. The Rebels went 6-6 in his interim year and decided to retain Luke. In his time at Mississippi, the team never finished better than sixth in the SEC West and did not have any bowl game appearances. According to Ole Miss athletic director, Keith Carter, it was time for a program change.

With Luke’s firing, there are now three head coaching vacancies in the SEC. Both Arkansas and Missouri are also searching for a new head football coach. Ole Miss is moving fast; the search is underway in Oxford.

“We want energy, passion and a track record for success,” said Carter.

Potential Candidates

Some possible candidates to replace Luke are:

  • Mike Norvell– Norvell has led a winning program at Memphis for the past four years. Currently, Memphis is 11-1, and the team is preparing to face Cincinnati in the AAC title game on Saturday. With a win, the Memphis Tigers would be AAC champions for the fourth consecutive year and would likely make it into a New Year’s Six bowl game. Because of Norvell’s offensive background and proximity to Ole Miss, it would not be surprising if Mississippi goes after him. It is only a matter of time before Norvell makes the jump to a Power 5 school.
  • Lane Kiffin– Kiffin, FAU head coach, has experience in the SEC and on championship staffs. In his three seasons at FAU, Kiffin has led the program to two Conference USA East Division titles.
  • Billy Napier– Head coach of the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Billy Napier has guided the team to a 10-2 season and a berth in the Sun Belt Conference championship game. Napier has a strong offensive background having served as an assistant on Alabama, Clemson and Arizona State’s staffs.
  • Mike Leach– Leach, Washington State head coach, has gone 55-46 in eight seasons with the program. Prior to Washington State, Leach was the Texas Tech head coach for 10 seasons. He led the Red Raiders to winning records in all 10 seasons. Reports say that Arkansas has already met with Leach to discuss their vacancy.

 

Story can also be found via ESPN Gainesville at wruf.com.