Kentucky vs. Auburn score: No. 4 Wildcats cruise to another easy SEC win over Tigers

As fourth-ranked Kentucky was cruising in the second half on Saturday en route to a comfortable 80-53 blowout of Auburn, 800 miles away, the fifth-ranked Tennessee Volunteers were taking their second loss of the week -- an equalizer that places LSU, UK and UT in a tie atop the league standings.

Don't let the standings fool you, though. Kentucky's the best team in the conference. After the week its had, you could argue that extends to the entire country.

The shorthanded Wildcats, without graduate transfer Reid Travis, whooped up on the visiting Tigers in the same way they did then-No. 1 Tennessee all of seven days ago: by dominating the boards, swatting shots like flies and deploying their stifling defense that leads the SEC in adjusted efficiency and ranks second, behind only Florida, in scoring defense. Auburn's 53 points is the lowest scoring output for the Tigers since they fizzled out in the second round of last season's NCAA Tournament.

Leading the way Saturday over Auburn, its 13th victim in 14 games, was Kentucky's star sophomore PJ Washington. Washington, whose rise has coincided with Kentucky's, scored a team-high 24 points. He didn't score in the final eight minutes of play, either, simply because he didn't have to. When he hit a free throw with 8:48 remaining, he put UK up 28 points. Kentucky was already cruising well past blowout territory.

LSU and Tennessee have cases of their own. LSU beat the Tigers on Feb. 12 at the buzzer and Tennessee was 23-1 just eight days ago. Both have made cases to be worthy of top-3 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, and may be among the 10 or so teams capable of winning it all.

But Kentucky looks every bit the preseason top-2 team -- finally. With another blowout win, the 'Cats are on their way to perhaps clinching a 1 seed. Is there any team in America playing better than UK right now?

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