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#12 Auburn vs Lehigh Game Preview and Open Thread

It’s a quick turnaround after Auburn’s best win of the season.

NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Saturday December 21st

Opponent: Lehigh Mountain Hawks

Location: Auburn Arena

Time: 5PM

Network: SEC Network, Auburn Radio Network

Al Davis always said “Just Win Baby.”

It hasn’t always been pretty this year for Auburn, but the Tigers have played 10 games and they have 10 wins.

I’ll take ugly wins over pretty losses any day of the week and twice on Sunday FWIW. Anyways, Auburn is 22-1 over their last 23 games, an absolutely remarkable feat beginning on February 27th with a win at Georgia. Thursday night’s 79-73 win over North Carolina State allowed Auburn to remain 1 of 4 undefeated teams in America.

Today, the Tigers play their final game before Christmas as they welcome the Lehigh Mountain Hawks out of the Patriot League to Auburn Arena.

Get to Know Lehigh

You may remember Lehigh as the school that current Portland Trail Blazers star C.J. McCollum plays for along with being the school to knock off Duke in the NCAA Tournament back in 2012 as a 15 seed.

Lehigh has consistently been one of the better teams in the Patriot League but this year, but haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2012. This year, they’re off to a 3-7 start. Today is their first game since December 7th and I can’t imagine waiting 2 full weeks between Auburn Basketball games, 9 days was bad enough. Lehigh lost 3 of their top 4 scorers from last year’s team. One of them was Pat Andree, who played against Auburn Thursday night for N.C. State.

As a team, Lehigh averages 67.8 points a game, and shoots 30.9% from 3-point range.

Likely Starting 5

Senior Guard Jordan Cohen (#11) - 13.9 PPG, 4 RPG, 3.9 APG

Junior Center James Karnik (#13) - 12.5 PPG, 8 RPG

Sophomore Forward Jeameril Wilson (#1) - 9.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG

Freshman Guard Evan Taylor (#5) - 7.4 PPG

Freshman Guard Reed Fenton (#15) - 6.9 PPG

What to Expect from Auburn

To me, I hope this game will give some of the young guys and opportunity to get some much needed reps before SEC play. Bruce has gone to a 9 man rotation and my hope is that we’ll get to see a bit from the freshman trio of “Turbo” Jones, Stretch Akingbola and Jaylin Williams. I have a feeling at some point, Auburn is going to need at least one of these guys to step up and take on a bigger role than they have so far this season.

Headband Samir returned last night after a game hiatus and scored 24 points to lead Auburn to their win. His 3 at the end of the game to ice it reminded me a tad of his big 3 last season against Tennessee. He and Markell Johnson went back and forth all night long but Samir got the last laugh in this one.

Prediction

This is Auburn’s best start since the 1998-1999 season when that team started 17-0. The Tigers are coming off their best win of the year so we’ll see how the team fares playing twice in less than 48 hours. All in all, this game is an opportunity to go into your Christmas break on a high note with 1 more non-conference game next weekend before SEC play begins the following weekend. I think Auburn takes care of business today.

Auburn 86 Lehigh 62