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#8 Auburn vs UNC Asheville Game Preview and Open Thread

This one could get really ugly folks.....

NCAA Basketball: Washington at Auburn Julie Bennett-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Tuesday December 4th

Opponent: UNC Asheville Bulldogs

Location: Auburn Arena

Time: 7PM

Network: SEC Network, Auburn Radio Network

Get to Know UNC Asheville...

This is the 4th all-time meeting between the programs. The last meeting was the opening game at Auburn Arena, a 70-69 Bulldogs win. Auburn leads the all-time series 2-1.

Point blank: the Bulldogs, out of the Big South Conference, are not good. While they won the regular season title in the Big South last year, they’re off to a 1-6 start to this season under first year coach Mike Morrell. They are averaging just 56.7 points a game, which is in the bottom 5 of all Division 1 teams. For comparison, Auburn sits 10th in the country at 89.1 points a game. Two other important statistics to keep in mind, as the Bulldogs are one of the worst in the country averaging 18.7 turnovers a game. In addition, the Bulldogs rank in the 300s regarding rebounds per game as well. Basically, Auburn should be able to pad their stats in the rebounding and forced turnovers department this evening.

UNC Asheville lost their top 7 scorers from last year, 4 via graduation and the other 3 transferred out of the program. There are 8 freshmen and 5 sophomores listed on their roster, and 8 of their 9 rotation players come from this group of players. As for the current group of Bulldogs, freshman guard DeVon Baker is their leading scorer at 15.6 points per game. Fellow freshmen guard Taijon Jones is the Bulldogs 2nd leading scorer at 10.9 points per game.

What to Look for from Auburn...

This serves as another tune-up game for Auburn to work on things and get better as we are about a month away from SEC play. It was great to see Anfernee McLemore break out offensively last Wednesday tying his career high with 19 points in their win over Saint Peter’s. Like the Saint Peter’s game, I would expect the Tigers to go inside early and often. I also think this would be a good game for Jared Harper to get going again. While he has become more a facilitator this year, he’s only scored 10 points combined in his last 2 games. Perhaps another highlight dunk or two from Malik Dunbar would be nice as well, as he’s done tremendous work for the Tigers coming off the bench this year.

Score Prediction

The largest margin of victory inside Auburn Arena was set a few weeks ago when the Tigers beat Mississippi College by 51 points. The largest margin of victory this millennium for Auburn was a 55 point win over Stony Brook back in 2000. I think Auburn eclipses both numbers tonight.

Auburn 110 UNC Asheville 49