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#22 Auburn vs Cal State Northridge Game Preview and Open Thread

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22nd ranked Auburn returns home to try and build on their 3-0 start!

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional-Auburn vs North Carolina Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Friday November 15th

Opponent: Cal State Northridge Matadors

Location: Auburn Arena

Time: 6PM

Network: SEC Network, Auburn Radio Network

Ya’ll good after Tuesday??

Auburn got our heart rates up a little bit but Isaac Okoro was there to save the day as Auburn got out of Mobile with a 70-69 win over South Alabama. After 3 tough games to start the year, the Tigers look to get some guys some more minutes tonight as Auburn hosts Cal State Northridge in the first game of the Legends Classic. You may also the court at Auburn Arena looking a bit different tonight.

Get to Know Cal State Northridge

This will be the 1st ever meeting between the Tigers and Matadors, who are coached by former Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried.

The Matadors come into Auburn at 0-3 and a big part of their struggles is because they are missing their leading scorer from last season.

I was excited when this match-up was announced because the Matadors were led by forward Lamine Diane (#35), a Senegal native who busted onto the scene of the Big West Conference last year. He averaged 24.8 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks a game on his way to being the Big West Player, Freshman and Newcomer of the Year last season. But Diane hasn’t played this year due to being academically ineligible and as of now, the Matadors appeal hasn’t been heard so unless something changes in the next hour or so, don’t expect to see Diane on the floor tonight.

In Diane’s absence, 5’8” junior guard Terrell Gomez (#3) has stepped up. Gomez is coming off a career high 33 points against Pepperdine on 10-20 shooting, including 7-11 from 3-point range. He is averaging 22 points a game so far this year and shooting 56% from 3-point range in the young season.

Forward Lance Coleman (#0) is 2nd on the team currently averaging 11.7 points a game. Guard Darius Brown (#10) is averaging 11.3 points a game.

In addition to Gottfried, there’s some interesting connections on the bench assisting on this team. Jim Harrick, formerly the Head Coach at Georgia, is one of Gottfried’s assistants, as is Mo Williams, a former Alabama and NBA player.

Also, the son of Metta World Peace, Ron Artest III (#15) plays for the Matadors as well.

In just 3 games, the Matadors have allowed 92.7 points a game while committing an average of nearly 16 turnovers a game as well.

What to Expect from Auburn

This is a get right game for Auburn. The Tigers have struggled with turnovers and free throw shooting, albeit they have faced some tough foes. With the Matadors struggles so far this year, I look for Auburn to be able to work on some things and use this game to get ready for the rest of the non-conference slate, meaning getting the chance to see more minutes out of the young guys.

Bruce has also said to expect more of Turbo Jones tonight and I’m looking forward to seeing him out on the court getting some valuable game experience that will help going into SEC play. We also saw Stretch Akingbola get in the game for the first time this year on Tuesday and he made an immediate impact. I would love to see Stretch get about 10 minutes tonight just to, like Turbo, get some experience.

Jamal Johnson and Allen Flanigan played well off the bench the other night, as Johnson scored 14 points, on 4 3-pointers that were pivotal in Auburn’s win. Johnson showed that he can hit 3-pointers consistently and the Tigers were hoping to get that out of him this year when he transferred in from Memphis. Flanigan gave the Tigers some good minutes and made some big baskets as the Tigers look to solidify their bench rotation as the year goes on.

Prediction

I think you’ll see the starters get about 20-25 minutes at the most and ample time for the bench players to be out on the floor for extended runs this evening. After playing 3 tough games,t it would be nice to see Auburn open a big lead and allow them to work on some things and give plenty of guys ample chances to play. I look for Auburn to take care of business this evening.

Auburn 95 Cal State Northridge 61