Auburn has played Florida close lately. In last year's first game, the Tigers fell 68-61 in a game that had five ties and six lead changes. The second was tied 66-66 with 20 seconds left until this happened (NSFW). For some, this was the beginning of the end of Tony Barbee. It was the first time this site openly wondered if it was time to find his replacement. But from a team perspective, the Tigers hung in there with a Gator team that went undefeated in conference play, won the conference tournament, and made it to the Final Four.
This time, Auburn and Florida share a decent 9-6 record, though he Gators do have a 2-0 record in SEC play (with wins over South Carolina and Mississippi State).
This year, Florida struggles to put good teams away. It lost to Kansas after leading 45-29 early in the second half and lost to Connecticut by giving up a 22-7 run in the last 10 minutes. Meanwhile, the loss to Florida State was just a fluke. Who knows? This team just might not know how to win close games.
The same could certainly be said about last year's Tigers, but Bruce Pearl's first team on the Plains might be figuring things out. An abysmal first half doomed it against Vanderbilt, but Auburn clawed back to within five on two separate occasions. Auburn just beat Missouri by six, a close contest in which no team led by more than eight. And during the five game winning streak to close out non conference play, Auburn won in double overtime over Xavier and snatched a one point victory over (ahem) Texas Southern.
If this year's game is tied with 20 seconds, don't expect the Tigers to be the team to fade.
How to Watch, Stream, Listen
When: 7pm EST / 6pm CST
Stream: WatchESPN / ESPN3
Listen: Auburn IMG Network