Before the Game: Auburn @ LSU

By February 8, 2019Before the Game

Auburn @ LSU Preview

Game Details:

  • When: Saturday, February 9th at 1 pm CT
  • Where: Pete Maravich Assembly Center, Baton Rouge, LA
  • How to Watch: ESPN2, espn.com, ESPN App

Team Spotlights:

  • LSU:

    • Ranked #21 in the AP poll with an 18-4 record overall and an 8-1 record in the SEC
    • 1-1 in their last 2 games  after losing their first SEC game of the season against Arkansas at home last weekend. They bounced back with an OT victory on the road in Starkville, MS. Before these two games, the Tigers won 7 games in a row, all against conference opponents.
    • These Tigers average 83.4 points per game, which is 3rd best in the SEC behind Auburn and Tennessee. On the other hand, they are giving up 73.2 points per game which is 10th out of 14 SEC teams, 0.2 points better than Vanderbilt, who has yet to win a game in the conference.
    • LSU is a great rebounding team, especially offensively where they are second in the SEC (behind Auburn) averaging almost 13 per game.
    • This LSU team is not great defensively, so they rely on turnovers, leading the SEC in steals and steals per game averaging almost 10. Pair their quick hands with their experienced backcourt, and you end up with a 0.7 steal/turnover ratio which is tied for 1st in the SEC (Auburn).
  • Auburn:

    • Ranked #28 in the AP poll sitting at 16-6 overall and 5-4 in the SEC
    • Auburn has won 3 games in a row by an average of 23 points after a 2-4 start in SEC play.
    • The Tigers are second in the SEC in scoring, averaging 83.9 ppg, and their defense has vastly improved of late, dropping their points against average to 68.2, which is tied for 4th in the SEC (Mizzou). The 3 teams above them? Florida (AU just beat them by 14 and put up 76 points), Kentucky (ranked #5 in the AP poll), and Tennessee (ranked #1 in the AP poll).
    • On the interior, Auburn is undersized without Center Austin Wiley, who is slowly returning for injury. After playing 5 minutes against Florida, no one knows how much Wiley will play against a talented, relentless LSU frontcourt.
    • Auburn is 3rd in the SEC (UT, Ark) in assists per game with almost 16 baskets per game coming by way of a good pass. Pair this with being the 3rd best team at taking care of the ball (13 TOs per game, (UF, UT)), and Auburn sits tied for 2nd in the league in assist/turnover margin at 1.2

Player Spotlight:

  • LSU:

    • Tremont Waters:
      • Averaging 15.6 points on 45% shooting with 5.9 assists and 3 steals per game, Waters is on the shortlist of SEC Player of the Year Candidates. The sophomore is the Tigers best player, and it isn’t close. A very smart, very fast floor general, Waters is the heart and soul of this LSU team. As he goes, the team goes: he was 3/12 shooting with 12 points and 5 turnovers in their only SEC loss (to Arkansas). Waters will be going head to head with another experienced point guard in Auburn’s Jared Harper, a matchup that will have a huge effect on the result of the game.
    • Naz Reid:
      • The 6 foot 10 inch freshman is a dominant force inside for LSU. An incredible two man combination with Tremont Waters, Reid can do it all in the screen game. He is a great cutter with good hands when he slips screens, and he even leads the Tigers in 3 point percentage which makes defenders press out on him when he pops after setting screens. Somehow, Reid is only averaging 6 rebounds per game, but he has averaged 8 per game in his last 5. On Wednesday, Reid took over the game @ MSU in the second half, carrying the Tigers to victory behind his 29 point/9 rebound performance. We have seen Auburn have trouble with good, physical big men this season (see: Travis/Washington from UK and Silva from USC).
  • Auburn:

    • Bryce Brown
      • Auburn’s leading scorer, the senior from Stone Mountain, GA averages 17 points per game and shoots over 41% from behind the 3 point line. With Jared Harper going toe to toe with Tremont Waters, the Tigers are going to need Brown to find the bottom of the bucket early and often. Brown is at his best when his 3 point shot is falling, and he can use his deadly precision from downtown to open up driving lanes for himself. Brown has matured before our eyes as the season has gone on, relying less on the 3 point shot and taking the ball to the basket when his team needs him to.
    • Anfernee McLemore/Horace Spencer
      • With Austin Wiley still not playing serious minutes, the responsibility of controlling the paint falls to McLemore and Spencer. The duo has struggled mightily with defending down low and not fouling. This task won’t get any easier when they get to Baton Rouge. This is an aggressive, athletic LSU team with a grown man down low. If McLemore and Spencer can stay in this game, Auburn will be in a great position to win. On the other hand, if they get into foul trouble early, this is going to be much, much tougher for the road Tigers.

Auburn Network Predictions:

  • Rich Perkins, Rich and Jeremy in the Morning, Wings 94.3

    • Being an expert on hoops, I can say with certainty Coach Pearl will have the team ready for the LSWho Fake Tigers. Score prediction: AU – eleventy billion, LSU- 7.
  • Riley Hubbard, Production Assistant

    • LSU has proved to be a bit of a surprise this season in the SEC, and Tremont Waters has been a solid leader of this team. However, this is a good time for Auburn to be making the trip to Baton Rouge since LSU has dropped into a two game skid. Auburn had an incredible homestand with big momentum wins over Missouri, Alabama, and Florida where they really proved they can take down anybody if they shoot well from the field. Since Auburn has been shooting well as of late and has some big momentum on their side going into this one, I’ve got Auburn taking a close win, 88-82. A much closer win that it likely would be if this game were being played in Auburn Arena.
  • Mike Hubbard, Our Fearless Leader

    • I predict that Pete Maravich will score 72 points for LSU. (You young folks probably have no idea who Pete Maravich was!).
  • Zac Blackerby, After the Game: Basketball, ESPN 106.7

    • Auburn 82. LSU 74. Auburn gets their biggest road win of the season. They’ve found a groove over their three game home stand and I believe they are beginning to look like the team that won the conference a year ago. Tigers get a win and reappear in the top 20 in the next AP Poll.
  • Bill Cameron, The Drive with Bill Cameron, ESPN 106.7

    • Auburn has gotten well over the last three home games, but life is different on the road. LSU has gotten into the habit of falling behind and making furious comebacks, but if Auburn gets a double-digit lead it will be tougher for the home Tigers to come all the way back. AU’s defense has really improved lately, and if that continues, give me the road Tigers in a squeaker, 81-79.
  • Olivia Crew, #1 Intern

    • Since Wiley is back, they will overcome the faults they have had in the past conference games. Road games have been difficult for Auburn, but I predict they will defeat LSU, 82-78.
  • Will Schuette, The SEC Report, ESPN 106.7

    • Auburn is coming off its best two performances of the season, but the lack of signature road win still provides concern. Auburn hasn’t been able to slow down many offenses like LSU and I’m not sure that changes Saturday. Give me LSU, 86-79.
  • Painter Sharpless, The Lunch Break, ESPN 106.7

    • Auburn’s improved continuity and defensive play coupled with a surging Samir Doughty and more assertive Chuma Okeke leads Auburn to victory against a talented LSU team that can score with ease — particularly in the paint.  Auburn wins a game in the high 80s.

My Prediction:

  • Auburn is better than LSU at all of LSU’s strengths. Auburn should win this game by double digits; however, it is very difficult to win on the road in the SEC, and Auburn hasn’t shown they can do it. This is not quite a must win game for Auburn, but it sure is close. It is time to show that they can win games away from Auburn Arena. I think that Auburn will get it done, but that this game with be close throughout. Look for Auburn to have to keep LSU at bay for most of the second half. The key to this game for Auburn will be controlling Naz Reid inside. my score prediction is that Auburn will win by 9, 85-76, after LSU fouls late causing the score to look more lopsided that the game really was.