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Game Preview and Open Thread - Auburn @ Ole Miss

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Auburn looks to stay atop the SEC with a tough road test tonight.

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn’s the hot team in the country right now, and the biggest riser in the polls after yesterday’s newest set of rankings came out. The Tigers are #11 in the AP Poll, up eight spots from last week after two big blowout wins — one on the road, and one at home — and are red-hot as they head to the trail again.

Tonight, Auburn will make a much shorter trip than last week, and trade CoMo for Oxford, Mississippi. They’ll also trade one home-court advantage for another. Gone is the Tad Pad, and in its place is the new Pavilion. Ole Miss essentially copied the idea for Auburn Arena, by limiting the seating, they can guarantee a fuller venue and a better home atmosphere. It’s worked for Auburn, and it’s worked this season for the Rebels as well.

Ole Miss is just 4-4 in SEC play as we near the midway point of the season, but those four wins have all come at home, and they haven’t exactly come against the lowliest of the low in the conference standings.

  • Ole Miss 74, South Carolina 69
  • Ole Miss 64, Mississippi State 58
  • Ole Miss 78, Florida 72
  • Ole Miss 78, Alabama 66

Uh, we need to watch out. They’re a totally different team in front of the 9,500-strong capacity crowd at the Pavilion.

The good thing is that we’re at least familiar with this team. We’ve beaten them once before, and we know what they can do. Auburn also knows about the danger of a slow start against Ole Miss, as the Rebels led 45-35 at halftime in Auburn in the last meeting. The Tigers then exploded out of halftime and doubled up the Rebs 50-25 in the second half, winning 85-70 in the end.

However, Breein Tyree scored 24 points and couldn’t seem to miss. Deandre Burnett, the team’s leading scorer, didn’t even play. Auburn was fortunate that they got to play Ole Miss at that point, but again, that was during the time where we could not get out of our own way at the start of a game.

Since halftime of the Georgia game, Auburn’s been out of control on offense. In the five halves played since that time, Auburn has score 53, 41, 50, 51, and 44 points. Contrast that to the beginning of the Alabama and Georgia games, where we couldn’t hit water from a boat. Something clicked, and the Tigers have been unstoppable.

Now, let’s look back at that first meeting between the Tigers and Rebels. Like we’ve seen all season long, someone stepped up to get the offense going, and in this case, it was an even scoring effort across the board. All five starters, plus Horace Spencer off the bench, scored double-digits as Auburn beat Ole Miss. Desean Murray went 12-15 from the foul line, and Auburn overcame a 6-22 night from distance to run away in the end for the win.

Every time we head away from the safety of Auburn Arena, it’s going to get harder and harder, and that target’s going to get bigger and bigger. Expect the Pavilion to be packed tonight, and Auburn will have to show some mettle to weather the early storm of emotion and momentum. Get through this one and we may have ourselves a couple of easy home games coming up to rest and move into the top ten. Let’s get it! War Eagle.

HOW TO WATCH AND LISTEN - Auburn @ Ole Miss - 8 pm CST - Oxford, MS

TV: SEC Network

Radio: Auburn Sports Network