Date: Wednesday February 13th
Opponent: Ole Miss Rebels
Location: Auburn Arena
Network: SEC Network, Auburn Radio Network
Get to (Re)Know Ole Miss...
For the first time this season, Auburn gets a chance to meet up with an opponent they’ve already played once this year. One of the most eye-popping statistics from the first game, an 82-67 Ole Miss win on January 9th, was the free throw discrepancy. The Rebels shot 27-37 from the stripe while Auburn shot 9-17. That has to be much different in tonight’s matchup if Auburn wants to win this game. Also bear in mind, Ole Miss leads the SEC in free throw percentage making 77% of their free throws.
Individually, Auburn MUST do a better job of containing Terence Davis (#3) who went off for 27 points and 12 rebounds in the Ole Miss win on January 9th. He’s now averaging 16.2 points and 6.3 rebounds and a team-leading 3.6 assists a contest.
Breein Tyree (#4) was held in check by Auburn in the first matchup scoring just 5 points. He’s currently 2nd in the SEC averaging 18.5 points a game this season but has been on a tear over his last 5 games. Tyree is averaging 23.6 points over that stretch including 31 in the win at Georgia on Saturday. Tyree has become more of a volume shooter over that stretch putting up at least 15 shots in each of those contests. He’s hit at least 3 3-pointers in 4 of those 5 games and is 24-27 from the free-throw line over this stretch of games. If there’s one thing I get right in this preview, it’s this. I would expect Tyree to score more than 5 points tonight.
DeVontae Shuler (#2) scored 14 points in the first matchup and remains the team’s 3rd leading scorer at 9.3 points a game. Freshmen forward KJ Buffen (#14) flew under the radar prior to the first matchup but went out and scored 16 points (then a career high) off the bench. Buffen is averaging 6.1 points a game this year.
Another freshmen to keep an eye on is Blake Hinson (#0), the team’s 4th leading scorer at 8.9 points a game. He scored 7 in the first matchup but scored 11 and 13 in the two wins Ole Miss accumulated last week.
Finally, don’t forget the two big guys for Ole Miss, Bruce Stevens (#12) and 7-footer Dominik Olejniczak (#13) along the frontline averaging 8.1 and 6.1 points respectively for the Rebels.
What to Look for from Auburn...
Rebound. Rebound. Rebound.
Auburn can’t win a game giving up 22 offensive rebounds. LSU completely exposed a weakness and that was a big part of why they won that game. Also, turning the ball over 20 times isn’t optimal either.
Bryce Brown (23) and Malik Dunbar (11) were the only Auburn players in double figures in the team’s first matchup. Auburn will need contributions from more than those guys in this game. Brown scored 23 but took 19 3-point shots in that game, making 7 of them.
We’ll also hope to see more of Austin Wiley who we’ve heard from Bruce Pearl is looking better in practice. He played just 3 minutes Saturday against LSU and picked up 3 fouls and did not score. Auburn can only hope to see more from Wiley going forward.
Danjel Purifoy had a sequence where he looked to try and take over the game and he scored 6 straight points midway through the second half to cut a 10 point deficit to 4. Hopefully that gives Purifoy some more confidence as we move into the second half of SEC play as he’s continued to play better with more minutes given to him.
Auburn enters these next 3 games against Ole Miss, at Vanderbilt, and Arkansas needing to go 3-0 and anything other than that would be quite a disappointment. Seeing how Auburn struggles on the road, the Tigers have to keep winning at home as they continue to struggle away from Auburn Arena. They’ve been close in some of these road games but haven’t got the results they’ve needed. It means they have to continue to take care of business at home. Before last week, Ole Miss had struggled since beating Auburn and Mississippi State losing 5 of 6 games. However, Ole Miss comes into Auburn after wins over Texas A&M and Georgia last week. Auburn needs this one and they need it badly.
Auburn 81 Ole Miss 70