Auburn just can't get over the hump. Some of the Tigers' worst losses have come on the road (90-59 at Colorado, 75-55 at Florida), but they have also just barely missed on coming home with a victory (46-44 at Texas Tech, 57-55 at Alabama). Last Saturday, another good showing at Tennessee fell apart in the last 10 minutes and now Auburn heads to Baton Rouge to try and take down the Bayou Bengals who are tied for third in conference play (5-3, with five other teams). It doesn't help matters that Auburn still does not have a single road victory.
This basketball season may end up resembling many of Auburn's previous seasons in the final tally of wins or losses, but the fight in the team is noticeably different. This team has never given up, even in the face of big losses. They're not just going through the motions, they're trying to get better.
They're going to need everything they have to pull out the upset, tonight. Statistically this game should not even be close. Here is a comparison of rankings that ESPN keeps:
|Rebounds/Game||Assists /Game||Field Goal %|
|8th (40.4)||21st (16)||80th (.455)|
|267th (32.6)||294th (10.8)||289th (.408)|
|LSU||204th (67.4)||6th (27.8)||6th (6.5)||32nd (8.1)|
|Auburn||215th (67.8)||322nd (21.5)||253rd (2.7)||54th (7.5)|
Those numbers are not pretty in terms of statistical rankings. Given LSU's 11-2 record at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center this season, things don't look good for the Tigers of the orange and blue variety.
-Random aside, since LSU's football team insists on wearing white at home, shouldn't it's basketball team insist on wearing the purple? No? Just a thought.
In order to have a chance, Auburn is going to need another big game from Cinmeon Bowers. He's the leading rebounder in the SEC, and has 12 double-doubles this season. Auburn will also need both Antoine Mason and KT Harrell to be on their game shooting-wise. Tahj Shamsid-Deen struggled early this season with his shooting, but he has been stepping it up, lately. It almost seems the more injuries he accrues, the better he is getting.
The magic number according to the official site's game notes appears to be 30 first half points. Auburn has won two SEC games so far this season, and those two are the only two SEC games in which the Tigers broke the 30 point barrier in the first half. They've been a second half team, averaging in the close to 40 point range in the second halves. The slow starts have been murder.
I look for this game to be tough, but I think the home Tigers will pull it out in the end. Auburn will make some noise at times, but this team just isn't quite there, yet.
How to Watch, Stream, Listen
When: 6pm CDT
Listen: Auburn IMG Network