It’s a big day for Auburn athletics. Not only is it Signing Day, Part Deux (The Sequel), Bruce Pearl’s Tiger team welcomes in a hot Texas A&M squad for what may shape up to be the toughest test on the hardwood they’ve had in a few weeks.
Texas A&M has been a bizarre team this season, what with a myriad of issues that caused players to miss time constantly. It led to the Aggies beginning SEC play 0-5, but since then they’ve won four of six and stand as one of those teams tied for 8th place in the standings at 4-6 in conference play.
The problem for A&M is that they haven’t played all that well away from home. All four of their wins in the SEC have come at Reed Arena, while they’re 0-4 outside of College Station. That includes a 22-point loss at Alabama, 13-point loss at Tennessee, and a 12-point loss at LSU. They also lost by just one at Kentucky, but the shine comes off the Wildcats more and more with each passing game.
Starting tonight, the Aggies play five of their final eight conference games on the road, and for a team that’s struggled away from home, they’ll have to find a way to win to avoid playing on Wednesday at the SEC Tournament.
And I think they’ve got the talent to do just that. Texas A&M is going to bring unavoidably irritating size into Auburn Arena tonight. They’ve got four guys averaging double-digit scoring, and they’re big.
6’10 center Tyler Davis is the league’s leading rebounder and averages 14.3 ppg, and he’s just part of the problem. 6’8 forward DJ Hogg (12.0 ppg) and 6’9 forward Robert Williams (10.4 ppg) join him in the frontcourt and make it tough to score around the basket. What happened in the game where we faced the most size? Alabama shut down our inside scoring and it turned into the perfect storm when we went cold from the perimeter.
Now, I don’t expect Auburn to suddenly go ice cold from three. In three of our last four games we’ve hit 14 or more three-pointers. Auburn Arena is becoming a friendlier shooting environment for the home team every single game.
It’s also becoming more and more hostile for the visitors every single game. The crowd learned quickly when to be loud (always) and when to intimidate the visitors (always), and the last five halves have been outstanding. That said, Texas A&M’s top five scorers consist of a senior, three juniors, and a sophomore. This team won’t be scared to come to the Plains and play in front of a mean crowd. If we can rattle them, this bunch may be even more special than we all think they are.
HOW TO WATCH AND LISTEN - Auburn vs Texas A&M - 8:00 pm CST - Auburn, AL
Radio: Auburn Sports Network