At this point in the season, Auburn has the best winning percentage in the country, stands in second place (by a half-game) in the SEC, and hasn’t lost since November 17th.
The Tigers have beaten two ranked teams to start conference play, and they’ve beaten an Ole Miss team that they haven’t taken down in ten tries before this past Saturday. All in all, this is much more than anyone could’ve expected for Auburn basketball and Bruce Pearl, especially after the events that led up to this season.
The impending investigation finally yielded something, as Austin Wiley was ruled ineligible for the entire 2017-18 season, but if he decides to stay in school, Auburn can get him back for next season, where literally every other player would return as well. That’s a chance to continue something special.
Auburn’s also got a chance to continue something special today in Starkville against Mississippi State.
The Tigers will face off against the Bulldogs in their second true SEC road game, but the fact of the matter remains that this may not be as much of a road game as you might expect.
Update: Bus No. 1 is full.— Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) January 11, 2018
Bus No. 2 is filling up. Deadline to reserve a seat: 5 p.m. CT today. https://t.co/pWTBnTCGmN
There are actual buses heading across state lines to invade the Hump. Auburn should have good fan support to the west when the Tigers and Bulldogs tip at 2:30 pm CST.
Mississippi State started the season off well, winning eight straight to begin the year, and taking thirteen of their first fourteen overall. Since then, they’ve lost two in a row in SEC play (64-58 @ Ole Miss and 71-54 @ Florida), so I’m sure they’ll be glad to return home. Auburn’s first game in fifteen years as a ranked team went about as you’d expect — jittery. The Tigers trailed by ten at halftime to Ole Miss but ended up doubling up the Rebels in the second half for an 85-70 victory.
Now, we’ll see if they play well on the road as a ranked team. Mississippi State’s going to lean heavily on its top five — Quindarry Weatherspoon (14.4 ppg), Aric Holman (11.9 ppg), Nick Weatherspoon (11.1 ppg), Tyson Carter (10.9 ppg), and Abdul Ado (6.7 ppg) -- to dethrone the Tigers from the unbeaten ranks of the SEC. This five has started all but one game together, and they’ll protect the rim and shoot the ball well. Overall, the Mississippi State defense allows just 64 points per game, good for 26th in the country.
Today begins a stretch for Auburn where they’ll play three out of four on the road. It’s just the fourth true road game for the Tigers after beating Dayton by thirteen, Murray State by four, and Tennessee by ten. Unless we actually have five or six buses rolling into Starkville, it’ll be a difficult atmosphere and likely a close game.
HOW TO WATCH AND LISTEN - Auburn @ Mississippi State - 2:30 pm CST - Starkville, MS
TV: SEC Network
Radio: Auburn Sports Network