Auburn (12-8, 2-4) faces yet another road test in Knoxville on Saturday after a disappointing finish in their last game. The Tigers were looking for their first SEC road win but were unable to tie the game at the buzzer, falling to Arkansas 56-53 Tuesday night. Senior Kenny Gabriel put up 13 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Chris Denson and junior Frankie Sullivan each had 10 points. Auburn continued to outrebound its competition, 44-29, and despite a 7 point lead with 13 minutes left in the game, the pressure from the Razorbacks proved to be too much. Having junior Varez Ward and sophomore Josh Langford for less than a full half did not help matters. Both are expected to play Saturday.
Tennessee (9-11, 1-4) is also looking to pick up a win at home after a 65-47 loss in Nashville to Vanderbilt. Even with the debut of the orange blazer on Coach Cuonzo Martin, the Volunteers only managed to hit 1 of 7 three pointers. Junior Jeronne Maymon has his 12th double double for the season but only put up 10 points (the only double digit UT scorer in the game). The 47 points were a season low for the Vols. Vandy took the lead early and never let up.
Auburn-Tennessee Series History and Game Facts
•Auburn Head Coach: Tony Barbee (UMass '93)
at Auburn: 23-28 (.451), second year
Overall: 105-80 (.568)
•Tennessee Head Coach: Cuonzo Martin (Purdue '00)
at Tennessee: 9-11 (.450), first year
Overall: 70-52 (.574), fourth year
•Series Record: Vols leads 70-37
•at Auburn: Tigers leads 26-21
•at Knoxville: Vols leads 43-7, including 13-2 in Thompson-Boiling Arena
•Neutral Sites: Vols leads 6-4
•Current Streak: Vols by 3
•Last Meeting: Vols 69, AU 56
Auburn Basketball On the Air
Radio: Auburn IMG Sports Network, Saturday, 4:30 p.m. CT. Play-by-Play: Rod Bramlett, Color: Paul Ellen.
Satellite Radio: XM91 (UT Broadcast)
Internet Radio: auburntigers.com
TV: ESPN2, Saturday, 5 p.m. CT. Play-by-Play: Brad Nessler, Color: Jimmy Dykes.
At this point in the preview, I turn you guys over to our in house expert, Jared Robertson.
Tennessee Scouting Report
Tennessee is a very similair team to the Tigers. They play good defense and struggle to score with the ball at times. They lack a true center and have two-forward, three-guard lineup that is very physical and swarms to the ball on defense.
Freshman Jarnell Stokes is a load inside at 6'8 250, and Trae Golden has played very well for the Vols leading the team in scoring at 13.2 ppg, leading the SEC in assists with 5 per game.Senior gaurd Cameron Tatum has been through the good and bad at Tennessee and has always been a solid player for the Vols.
Tennessee will shoot alot of threes, with over a third of their FG attempts coming from behind the arc. Tennessee is traditionally very good at Thompson-Boiling Arena, and picked up a win over no. 13 UConn last Tuesday, 60-57. The Vols' lone league win came at home as well, beating Florida 67-56.
Tennessee will run a ball control offense and work for a good shot. Look for the Vols to start looking to Stokes more often and playing some inside out with him. They will try to get Stokes going early and hope to force the Tigers to double him, opening up some room for their three point shooters. On defense, the Vols won't press much but they do play very well on defense and rebound well. Stokes has made a real difference for this team on both sides of the ball, and Auburn will have to try and contain him inside and on the boards.
Tennessee has a slight lead in scoring (57.4) over Auburn (55.2). Both teams struggle to score at times, so it will be key for Auburn to take full advantage of each possession. The pace will favor niether team, as both teams like to work the ball in the half court for a good shot.
Scoring defense also slightly favors the Vols (61.0) over Auburn (62.3). Both teams will run a man defense, but you may see some zone from Tennessee since Auburn lacks a pure shooter outside of Frankie Sullivan. If the Vols do decide to zone Auburn, the Tigers need to take advantage and knock down some shots. When the Vols are in man, the Tigers need to execute their flex-style to get good shots and get in the paint.
Rebounding favors Auburn (37.3) over Tennessee (36.2). Both teams rebound very well and both are outrebounding their opponets by and average of 2 rpg. If Tennessee does go zone, the Tigers need to crash the offensive boards very hard. It is harder to rebound out of a zone since you're not assigned to one man. Auburn will need to run towards the glass before the Vols can put a body on them. Any extra oppurtunities to score in this game will come at a premium.
In terms of turnovers, Auburn (15.7) is turning it over two fewer times than Tennessee (17.4). Both teams are forcing 13.8 per game. Forcing turnovers will be a huge factor in this game, as they usually are in every game. Auburn needs to turn Tennessee turnovers into points, while limiting their own turnovers, especially on the road.
This game will come down to who can take advantage of possessions and who can protect the ball more. Both teams will struggle to score and both teams will rebound well. Getting anything easy will come at a premium and have a big factor on the outcome of the game.