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NCAA Basketball Auburn TigersKentucky WildcatsSEC Basketball

Kentucky Rolls Past Auburn Despite Absence of Willie Cauley-Stein

Mark Zerof-USA Today Sports

Earlier this week, reports surfaced that Kentucky freshman Willie Cauley-Stein would be forced to miss the next few games after having a minor procedure done on his knee.

On the season, the 7-foot freshman is averaging 7.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, becoming a key component in John Calipari‘s front court rotation.

After a sluggish first half on the road at Auburn, the Wildcats picked things up after the intermission, en-route to a 75-53 victory. Now while Kentucky was able find a solid balance on the road against the Tigers on Saturday, the loss of Cauley-Stein may hold higher implications in the coming contests.

There are scarce details involving Cauley-Stein’s surgical procedure although it was believed to be minor. With the injury however, Kentucky must now turn their focus to yet another road game, this time against an Alabama squad who could use a victory over the ‘Cats on Tuesday night to their own benefit. It is likely that Kentucky will once again be without their 7-footer as this week progresses.

The Wildcats have been amongst the more disappointing teams this season, but a lot of that criticism may simply hold true because of their preseason hype and expectations. Overall, the Wildcats have had some tough beats along the way, but this young team does sit at 3-1 within the SEC and expectations of winning the conference are certainly not out of the question, despite the decrease in their potential.

The health of Cauley-Stein though holds an equal importance in their improvement as the season rolls along. With Alabama and LSU on the docket this week, it could be more a survival week for the ‘Cats, as the opportunity to gather some momentum is at the forefront.

 

Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS