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Auburn vs Troy Game Preview and Open Thread

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Auburn hosts Troy for the first time since 2009!

NCAA Basketball: Texas Southern at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday December 19th, 2020

Troy Trojans vs Auburn Tigers

Time: 11:00AM

Network: SEC Network, Auburn Radio Network

Alright folks, let’s forget about the football coaching search for two hours and look to see Auburn try to win their 4th straight basketball game this morning.

Today, Bruce Pearl’s Tigers welcome their second in-state foe of the season and second of 3 Sun Belt teams on the schedule as Troy makes the short bus trip up to Auburn for an 11AM tip. Auburn leads the series 10-1 but the last time these two schools met back in 2009, was the 1 for Troy as they won 81-77 back in December 2009, Jeff Lebo’s last season on the Plains.

Get to Know Troy

Scott Cross leads the Trojans as head coach in his 2nd year with the Trojans. He had a good run at fellow Sun Belt program UT-Arlington before being ousted there and made his way to Troy. The Trojans are 4-3 on the season and come into today’s game on a 3-game winning streak. Auburn is Troy’s 4th in-state opponent this season as Troy has wins over North Alabama and Samford. They lost by 22 to UAB. Troy also played at Texas Tech where they lost 80-46.

Troy averages just 59.9 PPG so far this season but is giving up just 66.6 PPG.

Junior forward Zay Williams (#10) leads the way for Troy so far this season averaging 13.3 PPG along with 8.4 RPG. Zay also leads the team in assists and blocked shots.

Senior forward Khalyl Waters (#13) is Troy’s second leading scorer averaging 10 PPG. He leads the team in FTs made and attempted and is an impressive 36-39 on the season (92.3%).

Freshmen guard Kam Woods (#3) is Troy’s leading scorer at the guard spot coming in averaging 9.7 PPG this season.

Senior forward Nick Stampley (#24) leads the team in steals and is averaging 7.9 PPG along with 7.1 RPG so far this season.

Keys for Auburn

Allen Flanigan had 15 of his team high 18 points in the 2nd half Tuesday against Texas Southern but it was run at Point Guard in the 2nd half that was most significant to me. Flanigan flourished in the role and this is worth watching as Auburn plays their last 2 non-conference games before SEC play. He seems to have taken on a role similar to Samir Doughty last season that while he starts at the 2, he’s essentially the team’s backup PG.

As a team, Auburn normally shoots the 3 ball really well at home, so after the first home game saw the team tie the SEC record with 22 made 3s in a game, it was a bit surprising to see Auburn go 4-23 from 3-point range. But it also was an encouraging sign that the Tigers made it a point in the 2nd half to go inside early and often. They also turned it up a notch on defense in the 2nd half holding Texas Southern to just 23 points.

One thing that has got to improve: free throw shooting. As a team, Auburn is just a 60% free throw shooting team. That’s not going to get it done in SEC play. So hopefully we’ll see the Tigers get to practice their free throws while being more successful from 3.

Prediction

The most points Auburn have ever scored was 141 points against.... Troy back in 1991. While I don’t think that will be eclipsed today (or anytime soon), I think Auburn will build off of their 2nd half performance against Texas Southern. Going to say that this is a where Devan Cambridge knocks down a few 3s to hopefully get him going and the Tigers will move to 5-2 on the season.

Auburn 81 Troy 62