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#8 Auburn vs. UAB Game Preview and Open Thread

Road Trip! Auburn heads to Birmingham to take on an in-state foe.

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

Date: Saturday December 15th

Opponent: UAB Blazers

Location: Legacy Arena - Birmingham

Time: 6:30PM

Network: CBS Sports Network, Auburn Radio Network

Get to Know UAB...

We did a Q&A with The Daily Dragon this week and to see that, click here. UAB comes into this game ranked 196th in the KenPom Rankings (Auburn sits 9th). The best win so far for the 6-3 Blazers is against Mercer, ranked just above UAB at 195. The Blazers are one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the country and after Auburn’s performance on the glass against Dayton, that could be something the Blazers take advantage of. Despite this, UAB ranks 293rd in the country at just 69.4 points per game (compared to 85.9 for Auburn). In addition, the Blazers are just a 29.9% 3-point shooting team. Sophomore guard #1 Zack Bryant leads the Blazers with 12.9 points a game. Senior forward #23 Lewis Sullivan is 2nd on the team averaging 10.6 points per game.

What to Look for from Auburn...

Tonight marks the return of Danjel Purifoy to the Auburn lineup. I wrote a little bit about Danjel back on Thursday that you can read here. As I highlighted then, it’s been 647 days since he’s played a meaningful game in an Auburn uniform. I think he plays 10-15 minutes at mostly the 3 and perhaps a little bit at the 4 spot, depending on the game situation, just to try and get reacclimated with this team. One critical element to Purifoy’s play will be how well he plays on defense, especially since the Tigers have done a great job on that side of the ball this year. If Auburn can get 5-8 points from him, I think that would be a huge boost for this team. But most importantly, tonight means that Auburn will have a 10 deep rotation, which is something we haven’t seen from Auburn. I’m anxious to see some of the combinations on the floor alongside of Purifoy.

In addition, I hope tonight is a game that Chuma Okeke looks to be more aggressive and tries to score more. He had a season low 2 points against Dayton and should be taking more than 5-6 shots a game. He hasn’t taken more than 6 shots a game since he left Maui and he’s too good of an offensive player for that to be the case. Finally, I look for Auburn to exploit the frontcourt advantage they have in this game and with this also being a home game for Austin Wiley, I can see him having a big night as well.

Score Prediction

After a week off and an uneven performance against Dayton, I fully expect Bruce Pearl to have all of his guys ready to go tonight. They’ll obviously be amped up to have Purifoy back on the court with them and I think Auburn will play one of it’s better games of the year.

Auburn 85 UAB 61