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Yale at #21 Auburn Game Preview and Open Thread

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Before a break for Finals, Auburn hosts an Ivy League opponent

NCAA Basketball: Central Florida at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday December 4th, 2021

Yale Bulldogs at Auburn Tigers

Auburn Arena

Time: 1:00PM CT

Network: ESPNU, Auburn Radio Network

Well here goes nothing.

This theory will be put to the test as Auburn, coming off an impressive 85-68 win over UCF, hosts the Yale Bulldogs this afternoon. The teams have never met prior to today’s contest.

On Wednesday, Auburn outscored UCF 46-32 in the 2nd half and turned a 3-point halftime lead into a 17 point win. Walker Kessler put up another double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds, but also had 6 blocks as well. Auburn’s size will be a huge advantage in this one as Yale’s tallest contributing player is 6’8” so another double-double for Walker is quite possible.

Jabari Smith had another 20 point outing Wednesday and was a +24 to lead all Tigers Wednesday night and only played 21 12 minutes as well. Smith is also shooting 44.4% from 3 so far this season.

One of the most encouraging things from Wednesday night’s game was Auburn built some separation in the game while Jabari was on the bench. And with several guys adding 6-9 points a piece, the depth of this team will wear teams down over the course of the season.

Get to Know Yale

Depending on how Auburn’s season goes (and the season is obviously young), this is the kind of opponent that Auburn could potentially face in the 1st Round of the NCAA Tournament. Yale is the 2-time defending Ivy League Champions but did not play last season due to COVID-19. They are favored to win their 3rd straight Ivy League title but are off to a 5-4 start this season with their best win over Massachusetts by 20 points. They fell 80-44 to Seton Hall but come into town off an 82-72 win over Lehigh.

As a team, Yale averages 75 PPG, allows 67.7 PPG and shoots 32.5% from 3-point range. This is another veteran group the Tigers will face today.

The focal point for Yale is senior guard Azar Swain (#5) who comes into today’s contest averaging 18.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG and is an 84.2% FT shooter. Swain shoots 32.7% from 3-point range.

Junior guard Matthue Cotton (#10) is 2nd on the team in scoring averaging 11.8 PPG and 4.2 RPG so far this season. Cotton is shooting 31.7% from 3 so far this season but is 11-12 from the free throw line.

Right behind him is senior guard Jalen Gabbidon (#00) averaging 11.7 PPG and leads the team averaging 5.6 RPG. He is shooting 37.1% from 3-point range and leads the team in steals.

In the frontcourt is junior forward Isaiah Kelly (#35) who like Zep Jasper and Dylan Cardwell, hails from Augusta, Georgia. Kelly is averaging 6 PPG and 4.9 RPG so far this season. Likely rounding out the starting lineup is guard Eze Dike (#1) averaging 5.8 PPG this season.

Prediction

As I mentioned earlier, Auburn will have the size advantage in this one. I think the Tigers take advantage of that early and often and Walker Kessler and Jabari Smith have big games once again. Yale’s an experienced team and think they can hang with Auburn early on, but the Tigers have too much depth and that will make the difference as the game wears on.

Auburn 79 Yale 62