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Auburn will likely be without two of its key players as it takes on the Bulldogs in Athens

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Pearl announced yesterday that point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen would undergo surgery to repair both of his injured shoulders, thus ending his season early. Antoine Mason has been in New York with his family as they comfort his father, Anthony Mason, who is in the hospital struggling for his life.

From a basketball standpoint, if Mason is to miss today's game against the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens (which appears likely), it could mean bad news for the Tigers.

Malcolm Canada will likely take over in Shamsid-Deen's place, and K.C. Ross-Miller will help shoulder the load, but it's clear that Tahj will be missed. After leaving early in the game against Arkansas this week, there was a noticeable difference in Auburn's offensive and defensive play. In terms of the shooting power that Mason has brought to the court during the last few weeks, Bruce Pearl will look to his other players to find a hot hand early. Don't rule out T.J. Lang to see some more action and attempts behind the arc. He went 2-3 this week against The Razorbacks.

As usual, much of the burden will be on KT Harrell to shoot consistently and Cinmeon Bowers to rebound (and keep a cool head under pressure) to keep Auburn competitive against Georgia (16-7, 7-4 SEC), who sits at fourth in the SEC. Auburn (11-13, 3-8 SEC) needs a miracle to avoid sinking deeper into its current losing skid.

If SEC officiating has been any indicator recently, it could be a very foul-heavy game with newcomers seeing more playing time for Auburn and what's expected to be a large crowd for the Bulldogs. Today's game will truly be a test of character for Bruce Pearl and the Tigers. Let's hope Bruce has a few tricks up his sleeve to engineer a surprise victory today in Athens.

When: 1:00 pm CDT

Watch: Fox Sports Net

Stream: WatchESPN / ESPN3

Listen: Auburn IMG Network