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Game Preview and Open Thread - Auburn vs Ole Miss

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Day #1 of the rest of our ranked lives!

NCAA Basketball: Auburn at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Monday morning, when the new AP Poll came out, Auburn found itself ranked #22. Auburn found itself ranked for the first time in more than 5,400 days, dating all the way back to January of 2003. Honestly, when it became apparent that we were on the cusp of seeing Bruce Pearl’s Tigers make an appearance in the polls, I couldn’t believe that stat. I remember that season like it was yesterday, with Marquis Daniels leading Auburn to a Sweet Sixteen run and a one-point loss to the eventual national champions.

After crossing a wide, wide river, we can finally look ahead as a ranked team. And the first test is another home contest against a team that we’ve lost ten consecutive games against.

Ole Miss visits Auburn Arena for an 8 pm CST tipoff as the Tigers try to string together a thirteenth straight victory. Auburn beat two ranked SEC opponents to open conference play last week, and now they’ll try to take on a portion of the schedule that’s a bit easier, despite the losing streak to the Rebels.

The Rebels are 2-1 in SEC play, with wins over South Carolina (74-69) and Mississippi State (64-58), and a loss to Georgia (71-60). Both of those victories came in Oxford, while the defeat to the Dawgs happened in Athens-town.

On the non-conference portion of the schedule, the only opponent they’ve got in common with Auburn is Middle Tennessee, and the Blue Raiders bashed Ole Miss by the tune of a 77-58 score. Andy Kennedy’s tinkered with his starting lineup in nearly every game, as no Rebel player has started each game this season.

Ole Miss is led by Deandre Burnett (14.4 ppg) and Terence Davis (13.5 ppg), and their top five scorers are all guards. We’re going to see a small lineup, with Burnett, Davis, Markel Crawford (10.5 ppg), Breein Tyree (9.5 ppg), and Marcanvis Hymon (5.5 ppg) taking up the majority of minutes on the floor. Hymon’s the “big guy”, although he only stands at 6’6.

The Rebels will protect the ball with those guards in the backcourt, as Crawford, Burnett, and Davis are all upperclassmen, and they don’t turn the ball over much at all. However, in their last two road games (both losses to MTSU/Georgia), the Rebels averaged 10.5 turnovers on offense. If Auburn can force some mistakes, and take advantage like they have all season long, the Tigers should be able to get their thirteenth win in a row.

HOW TO WATCH AND LISTEN - Auburn vs Ole Miss - 8 pm CST - Auburn, AL

TV: ESPNU

Radio: Auburn Sports Network