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Game Preview and Open Thread - Auburn vs. South Alabama

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The 233 day wait between games is over! Auburn Basketball is back baby!!

NCAA Basketball: SEC Basketball Tipoff Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Tuesday November 6

Opponent: South Alabama Jaguars

Location: Auburn Arena

Time: 8 PM CST

Network: SEC Network/Auburn Radio Network

Get to Know South Alabama..

This is the first time these schools have met since December 6, 2006. Tonight is also the first of a 3 game series with the Jaguars. Next year, the Tigers will play in Mobile and then USA will return to Auburn in the 2020-2021 season. Last season, the Jaguars led the Sun Belt in 3-point defense, something that will be extremely important for the Jaguars to stay in this game. But South Alabama will look a lot different from last year going into the 2018-2019 season.

Tonight marks the debut of Richie Riley as head coach of the Jaguars. Riley came from Nicholls and has already had a huge impact on the program, especially in recruiting. Every player on USA’s roster has at least 2 years of college experience under their belt. Two players to watch for USA is senior guard Rodrick Sikes and redshirt junior forward Josh Ajayi. Sikes led the Jaguars last year with 18.7 points per game and landed on the Sun Belt’s 2nd team. He had 30 or more points on 5 different occasions last season. Meanwhile, Ajayi looks to be USA’s best interior player and averaged 12.9 points and 6.7 rebounds a game last year. The Jaguars will also have several transfers making their Jaguar debut including Kory Holden, who came to USA from South Carolina via the grad transfer rule.

The Jaguars are picked to finish 7th in the Sun Belt by the conference media.

What to Look for from Auburn...

Bruce Pearl will look for a better overall performance from his team after being disappointed in Friday’s effort. Auburn will also look to improve on a 6-26 3-point shooting performance against Lincoln Memorial. Samir Doughty is likely to make his Auburn debut after missing the exhibition recovering from a high ankle sprain. He will give the Tigers, a full complement of backcourt players joining Jared Harper, Bryce Brown and J’Von McCormick. Look to see what Doughty adds to one of America’s best backcourts. As for Austin Wiley, he has been declared out for this game but perhaps we may see him Friday night against Washington.

Score Prediction

Auburn 79 South Alabama 64

I think Auburn will play better tonight than they did Friday night. I look for the interior guys to have a big night, especially Chuma Okeke. The Jaguars have no one taller than 6’8 so I would expect the Tigers to continue to work on establishing the inside game.

Basketball is back on the Plains and that is something worth getting excited for. War Eagle!