Before the Game: Ole Miss @ Auburn Preview
- When: Wednesday, February 13 @ 7:30 pm CT
- Where: Auburn Arena, Auburn, AL
- How to Watch: SECN, espn.com, ESPN App
- Ranked #27 in the AP poll sitting at 16-7 overall and 5-5 in the SEC
- Auburn had won 3 games in a row until blowing a double digit lead at LSU on Saturday.
- The Tigers are a high scoring team, averaging 83.6 ppg, but they struggle to defend without fouling, especially on the inside. Deceptively, Auburn has only given up 68.9 points per game on the season.
- On the interior, Auburn is undersized without Center Austin Wiley, who is slowly returning for injury. After playing 5 minutes against Florida, he tallied 2 TOs in 3 minutes against LSU, and no one knows how much Wiley will play against a less talented Ole Miss team.
- Auburn is led by its experienced backcourt, which is surprising because when Auburn loses, it is usually because they struggle to not turn the ball over.
- Auburn has been much better at home this year, only losing one game: to UK after Auburn missed a shot to tie the game in the closing seconds.
- No longer ranked in the AP poll with an 16-7 record overall and an 6-4 record in the SEC
- The Rebels ended a 4 game skid with back to back wins against Texas A&M and UGA last week.
- Led by Head Coach Kermit Davis, Ole Miss averages almost 78 points per game and gives up 70.7.
- On January 9, this team handed Auburn its worst loss of the season: a 82-67 beatdown in Oxford.
- The Rebels held Auburn to 32.8% shooting, forced 16 Tiger turnovers, and won the rebounding battle by 8 a little over a month ago en route to a 2-0 conference start.
- Since the Auburn win, the Rebels have gone 4-5 with their only wins coming against Arkansas, Texas A&M, and UGA. The latter two are two of the three worst teams in the conference.
- Bryce Brown
- Auburn’s leading scorer, the senior from Stone Mountain, GA averages 16.7 points per game and shoots over 41% from behind the 3 point line. 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 can catch fire in a hurry, but sometimes it seems like he is just as likely to be ice cold. In certain games this season, Brown appears to disappear. That cannot happen against Ole Miss. The last time these two teams played, Brown was the only Tiger with more than 11 points. If Brown can score efficiently, the Tigers will be in a great situation to win.
- Chuma Okeke
- The Tiger who projects as the best NBA player, Okeke is the cornerstone of the interior for the Tigers this year. With Center Austin Wiley injured, it becomes Okeke’s responsibility to set the tone on the inside. In the last outing against Ole Miss, Okeke was 2-6 from the field and finished with 5 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 turnovers. Okeke has completely turned his season around since that game. On the season, he is averaging almost 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 50% from the field. Okeke is being more aggressive offensively, and it is opening up the offense for the backcourt. If Okeke continues to develop and be aggressive, this could be a long night for the Rebels.
- Bryce Brown
- Breein Tyree
- A junior from Somerset, NJ, the 6 ft 2 in Breein Tyree is the leading scorer for the Rebels this season. He averages 18.5 points per game on a very efficient 12 shots per game coupled with an average of 48% shooting. Tyree doesn’t turn the ball over, which will be key against an Auburn defense that thrives on taking the ball away from opponents. He will have his hands full on defense guarding the high power Auburn guards, but look for the Rebels to lean heavily on the guy who has emerged as a true offensive star for this team.
- Terence Davis
- The other half of the explosive Rebel backcourt, the senior from Southaven, MS scored 27 points and tallied 12 rebounds in the first game against Auburn this season. This carried the Rebels during a night when Tyree only had 5 points of his own. We have seen how vulnerable Auburn can be on the offensive glass, so look for Davis to lead the Rebel charge on the glass again this time around. Davis is another deadeye shooter, averaging 5 attempts and 2 makes per game.
- Breein Tyree
Auburn Network Predictions:
Zac Blackerby, After the Game: Basketball, ESPN 106.7
- Auburn flexes it’s muscles again at home. The Tigers get revenge from their stumble earlier in conference play. Auburn 82-71.
Olivia Crew, #1 Intern
- After losing a tough game on the road, I expect a big bounce back from Auburn. They were bested at Ole Miss earlier in the season, but with the improvement on the defensive end, Auburn will win 80-72.
Rich Perkins, Rich and Jeremy in the Morning, Wings 94.3
- Auburn has had a ton of close games against conference opponents, and those close games have tended to be losses. Most of the wins have been pretty big. The Ole Black Miss Rebel Land Bear Sharks (or whatever they are calling themselves post NCAA -hammer) should feel fortunate that they stole one at home from Auburn in January (and frankly should feel lucky that they didn’t have to vacate basketball wins and be forced to mow Nick Saban’s lawn). This is a different Auburn team and the Tigers are playing home. Marshall Henderson isn’t walking out of that tunnel. AU- 88 UM- 71.
Bill Cameron, The Drive with Bill Cameron, ESPN 106.7
- Thank goodness Auburn is back home! They are a much better team (especially defensively) at Auburn Arena. This Ole Miss team that looked so good in Oxford ended a 5-game losing streak with a home win over Texas A&M before blasting Georgia in Athens, but this ain’t Athens. Auburn 86-72.
Will Schuette, The SEC Report, ESPN 106.7
- Ole Miss might have given Auburn its worst beating of the season in January, but there’s still a reason the Rebs were picked by many to finish last in the SEC. Kermit Davis is doing a great job in his debut season in Oxford, but Auburn is the deeper and more talented squad. The Tigers also remain one of the nation’s best when the game takes place on their home floor. Auburn 82, Ole Miss 74.
Riley Hubbard, Production Assistant
- Saturday was a rough day for Auburn in Baton Rouge. Honestly, they were lucky to still be in the game late after all of the turnovers, poor ball movement, and horrible shot selection. Everybody knows that Auburn is a much better team at home than they are on the road and Ole Miss is not a bad team, but Auburn is superior from a talent standpoint. I believe that Auburn will get their momentum and their field goal shooting back in front of their home crowd and will take this one 87-79.
- Auburn shot historically poorly in Oxford the first time these two teams played. When you couple that with Ole Miss playing its best basketball of the year, it was truly the perfect storm. Auburn has been incredible at home outside of about 15 minutes against Kentucky. This is as close to a Must-Win game that Auburn can have in the SEC right now. The Tigers need to start winning games and winning them convincingly if they are going to be an NCAA Tournament lock. Look for Bryce Brown and Jared Harper to keep leading the charge at home. I am looking for Malik Dunbar to duplicate his 11 point performance, and Danjel Purifoy needs to continue his offensive resurgence this season. Auburn 90-70.