Tuesday February 9, 2021
Auburn Tigers at Vanderbilt Commodores
Memorial Gym - Nashville, Tennessee
Network: SEC Network, Auburn Radio Network
Tonight Auburn plays their first game in the Music City since....
I miss those days.
As for the last time Auburn (10-10, 4-7) played at Vandy, the Tigers broke a 10 game losing streak at Memorial Gym with a 64-53 win and the Tigers have won 3 straight overall in the series since breaking their 13 game losing streak against the Dores back in the 2017-2018 season.
Auburn looks to break a 3 game losing streak tonight in Nashville as Auburn (10-10, 4-7) takes on Vanderbilt (5-9, 1-7) at everyone’s favorite arena: Memorial Gym.
Get to Know Vanderbilt
As a team, Vanderbilt averages 73.7 PPG and are a pretty respectable 34.7% from 3-point range this season.
Vanderbilt have had a total of 7 games either cancelled or postponed due to COVID this season, 3 of those in SEC play.
Vanderbilt has had great guards the last few years with Saben Lee and Aaron Nesmith coming to mind along with Isaac Okoro’s current teammate with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Darius Garland. Injuries have been the biggest issue, particularly with Garland and Nesmith. Nesmith was averaging 23 PPG before a season ending injury, which apparently happened at Auburn last year really derailed the Commodores season. Perhaps people might feel much differently about coach Jerry Stackhouse and the direction of the program if Nesmith had stayed healthy last year.
In his 2nd season in Nashville, the Jerry Stackhouse era hasn’t quite gone the way I think many had hoped for, although one son of a NBA Legend has had a terrific sophomore season for Vanderbilt.
Guard Scotty Pippen Jr. (#2) has taken on the role of the lead scoring guard that was previously held by the likes of Lee and Nesmith who both went to the NBA after last season. After averaging 12 PPG last season, Pippen is 2nd in the league this year averaging 21 PPG. He sits behind just Sharife Cooper and Sahvir Wheeler in assists per game at 5.4 APG. Pippen shoots 37% from 3 and 81.4% from the free throw line.
Sophomore forward Dylan Disu (#1) will be an issue down low for the Tigers tonight. He is averaging 14.1 PPG, and is 2nd in the SEC averaging 8.2 RPG. Disu has also been a threat on the perimeter knocking down 38.5% of his 3s this season.
Sophomore guard Jordan Wright (#4) comes in 3rd on the team in scoring for Vanderbilt averaging 8.3 PPG while primarily coming off the bench this season.
Tonight will be Auburn’s first and likely only look at senior forward DJ Harvey (#5). The Notre Dame transfer averages 7.2 PPG and is a 38.3% 3-point shooter.
The under the radar guy that worries me the most is senior guard Maxwell Evans (#3). While he averages just 6.5 PPG a game, he has the ability to go off for nearly 30 points and has done it a few times. He had 29 against South Carolina, their lone SEC win back on January 30th. He also had a 31 point game last year against LSU when they ended a long SEC losing streak so he’s a streaky shooter. Evans shoots 34.8% from 3-point range this season.
Keys for Auburn
This will be a great matchup between two young scoring guards who I think we will see in the NBA someday. Sharife Cooper knocked down a career-high 3 3-pointers on Saturday and had 14 assists in addition to his 15 points. Surprisingly, he only got to the line 5 times on Saturday and he’s done his best work driving to the paint and getting guys into foul trouble and knocking down free throws.
Jaylin Williams has had himself a really solid couple of weeks for the Tigers. He is averaging 18 PPG in the last 3 outings along with 6.3 RPG. Jaylin knocked down 6-12 3s in the 2 games last week and hopefully he’s able to knock down 3s again tonight for the Tigers who desperately miss having a reliable, consistent 3-point shooter.
Tonight’s a homecoming for Devan Cambridge as he returns to Nashville to play his first collegiate game this evening. Devan re-entered the starting lineup against Ole Miss and had 16 points and 7 rebounds against the Rebels. After a slow start, Cambridge has played up to what I feel was expected of him going into the season scoring in double figures in 7 of the 11 SEC games so far this season.
I can sit here and try to come up with a way to predict how this game is going to go but here’s the deal....
Let’s take a quick look at how my predictions have gone in SEC games this year:
When I’ve picked Auburn to win: 1-6
When I’ve picked Auburn to lose: 3-1
So it’s pretty obvious what has to be done here, right?