As Jerry Tipton writes, the “elephant in the room” with regard to Sunday’s Midwest Regional finals between Kentucky and Auburn is Auburn’s three-point shooting.
Bruce Pearl’s Tigers have been on fire from beyond the three-point line during the postseason. How hot? Let’s take a look at the numbers.
Here is Auburn game-by-game in the postseason, including the four SEC Tournament games and the three NCAA Tournament games. You must keep in mind that overall college basketball teams are shooting 34.4 percent from the three-point line this season.
Here’s the percentage of three-point shots Auburn has taken compared to the Tigers’ field goal attempts overall.
And here’s a chart with the individual three-point shooting stats for Auburn players in the postseason.
The two teams have played twice already this season. Kentucky hung on for an 82-80 win over Auburn on Jan. 19 at Auburn. Then the Cats ran the Tigers out of Rupp Arena with an 80-53 victory on Feb. 23.
In the game at Auburn, the Tigers were 13-of-30 from three-point range for 43.3 percent. Of their 56 field goal attempts, 53.6 percent came from beyond the arc. Kentucky was 6-of-15 from three in that game.
At Rupp Arena, Auburn was just 8-of-27 from three-point range for 29.6 percent. Meanwhile, Kentucky was 11-of-24 for 45.8 percent. Auburn took 58 shots in the loss, so 46.6 percent were three-pointers.
One more stat: Auburn gets 43.8 percent of its points off three-pointers. That ranks sixth in the nation.
And it should be noted the Tigers will not have Chuma Okeke on Sunday. The 6-foot-8 forward tore his ACL on Friday night in Auburn’s win over North Carolina.