After just over a week off off and having to travel back from Hawaii, Auburn opens up SEC play in Bruce Pearl's second season against Bruce Pearl's former team in Tennessee.
Tennessee is playing under first year coach Rick Barnes, who spent the previous 17 seasons at Texas, taking them into the NCAA tournament in all but one of those seasons. At Tennessee, he is 7-5 so far this year, with losses against most of the good teams they've played, and wins against mediocre to decent opponents. In a way, that's not much different from Auburn.
For Bruce Pearl, this is his AUTLIVE Cancer game to raise awareness for detection and prevention of cancer. You can buy t-shirts for that at the game. If you don't want to do that (and you're going, anyway), then just wear orange!
Tennessee is not all that tall. They only have three players larger than 6'5. They do have four players averaging in double-digits for points scored, including Kevin Punter averaging 22.2ppg. Auburn's Kareem Canty leads the Tigers with 19.3ppg. That statistic was much higher for Canty until he had a miserable performance against Harvard in Hawaii.
In terms of overall scoring statistics, the two teams are very close. You can't point to either of the teams' schedules as being tougher than the other, either. Auburn has the 51st ranked Strength of Schedule, and Tennessee has the 53rd. Auburn does have the much higher RPI at 76 to Tennessee's 123, though.
With all of that, it looks like this game could come down to those pesky "intangibles" like the home court advantage. Injuries and depth could also be very important, as Auburn is without TJ Dunans, Tahj Shamsid-Deen, and we still don't know what's going on with Danjel Purifoy. Dunans is out 3-4 weeks with a bruised knee, which is very damaging to Auburn, but better than it could have been.
Auburn's Projected Starters:
Based on what we saw in Hawaii (and since the official game notes agree), here's the probable line-up for Auburn:
F - 0 -Horace Spencer
F - 12 - Tyler Harris
G - 1 - Kareem Canty
G - 2 - Bryce Brown
G - 23 - TJ Lang
How to Watch, Stream, Listen Live
Where: Auburn Arena
When: 2pm Eastern / 1pm Central
Stream: CBSSports.com LIVE
Audio: Auburn IMG Network