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#14 Auburn @ Texas A&M Game Preview and Open Thread

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Another mid-week road test for the Tigers.

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

Date: Wednesday January 16th

Opponent: Texas A&M Aggies

Location: Reed Arena - College Station, Texas

Time: 6:00PM

Network: ESPNU, Auburn Radio Network

Get to Know Texas A&M...

For a Texas A&M perspective on this game, I encourage you to check out my Q&A with Good Bull Hunting for a really good read!

The Aggies come into this game at 7-7 (1-2) on the season. In their 3 SEC games so far, they lost by 2 at home to Arkansas, lost by 11 at Kentucky last Tuesday, and then hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Alabama on Saturday.

The Aggies average 75.4 points per game while giving up 72.8 points per game. They’ve faced some quality opponents this year including Gonzaga, Minnesota, Oregon State and Washington.

This is a completely different looking Aggies team than what we saw last year in Auburn, the only visiting team that won at Auburn last year, an 81-80 win. Gone are the frontcourt guys Robert Williams and Tyler Davis along with guards D.J. Hogg, Duane Wilson and Admon Gilder.

What remains from last year’s team is sophomore guard (#2) T.J. Starks, who scored a career high 23 points against Auburn last year. He leads the team in scoring at 14.4 points a game and averaging close to 18 in 3 SEC games so far. Fellow sophomore guard (#1) Savion Flagg (who’s listed at 6’7”) is the team’s 2nd leading scorer at 12.9 points a game, while leading the team with 8.2 rebounds a game. Junior guard (#11) Wendell Mitchell is tied for 3rd on the team averaging 9.5 points a game.

Meanwhile in the paint, the Aggies feature senior forward (#21) Christian Mekowulu, a graduate transfer from Tennessee State, who is tied with Mitchell on the team also averaging 9.5 points a game. And keep an eye on junior (#32) Josh Nebo who is one of A&M’s most efficient players despite coming off the bench for the Aggies.

What to Look for from Auburn...

Auburn will look to pick up their first road win of the season against the Aggies. On Saturday, we saw Anfernee McLemore play his best game of the season scoring 15 points, to go with 9 rebounds in the win over Georgia. He also played a season high 26 minutes and the hope for Auburn is he takes that performance and builds off of it going forward.

I feel like a broken record saying this but one of these games, Chuma Okeke is going to go off for Auburn. Maybe tonight is the night. He’s scored just 9 points combined in his first 2 SEC games but I left the Georgia game feeling a little more encouraged about him not because of his ferocious dunk, but if you recall the first play of the game, Auburn got him the ball and he took the ball to the basket. Those are the things I hope to see more out of Chuma as the season goes forward.

One other thing: how will Auburn shoot the 3-ball tonight? On the road last Wednesday night, Auburn attempted 39 3s. And while they made 14 of those, that was for all intents and purpose the offense that night as the half court/frontcourt game was non-existent. Auburn did a much better job in that department on Saturday as Auburn only attempted 25 3s and made 12 of them. Does the Auburn offense build off of Saturday’s performance? Time will tell.

Score Prediction

I’m like most of you, I need to see this team put together a solid 40 minute performance together on the road before I try and think long-term where this team can end up. Auburn is averaging about 17 points a game fewer away from Auburn Arena than they do at home. This is a very winnable game for Auburn on paper but which Tigers team will show up? I feel like now that Auburn doesn’t have the long layoff excuse anymore, they will fare better tonight than they did last Wednesday night. While I think A&M will give the Tigers a nice test before their showdown Saturday with Kentucky, I think the Tigers will be able to narrowly get the job done.

Auburn 74 Texas A&M 68