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#1 Auburn at Missouri Game Preview and Open Thread

Auburn plays their first game as the #1 team in the country tonight

Syndication: The Montgomery Advertiser Jake Crandall / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tuesday January 25th, 2022

Auburn Tigers at Missouri Tigers

Mizzou Arena - Columbia, Missouri

Time: 7:30PM CT

Network: SEC Network, Auburn Radio Network

Yesterday was a historic day in the history of Auburn Basketball.

That’s right, it finally happened. The Auburn Tigers (18-1, 7-0) are the #1 team in the nation for the first time in program history. But now comes the hard part as they look to defend that #1 ranking.

First up: a road trip to CoMo to take on the Missouri Tigers (8-10, 2-4).

Auburn plays their only road game of this 5 game stretch that has seen the Tigers defend home court against Georgia and Kentucky and will see Auburn host Oklahoma and Alabama to follow tonight’s game in Missouri. Much has already been said about Auburn’s win over Kentucky Saturday so I won’t go to deep here but personally, it’s the loudest I’ve ever heard Auburn Arena from start to finish.

Auburn was amped up, probably too much, to start the game and Kentucky punched them in the mouth early building an early 10 point lead. The Tigers, as they’ve done multiple times, chipped away as the first half wore on and going to the locker room down 4 had to feel good for Auburn. The Tigers had too much depth and depth certainly played a factor in this one. KD Johnson had a monster second half and let everyone know about it (and why not?). Late in the game when Kentucky cut Auburn’s lead down to 4, you knew who was getting the ball. Jabari Smith has made run-ending shots all year long and even over a double team, he knocked down a midrange jumper to thwart Kentucky’s comeback attempt.

It’s a great win for the program, who is now 6-5 against the Wildcats in their last 11 matchups but it’s time to move on to what’s ahead.

Get to Know Missouri

Missouri got off to a great start last season but really faltered down the stretch and saw a mass exodus via the transfer portal and graduation. It’s a much different Mizzou team that Auburn knocked off last season in Auburn Arena, one that has had its ups and downs this season, but don’t tell that to Alabama.

Missouri played the Crimson Tide tough twice this season including a home win back on January 8th and have responded well after losing 87-43 at Arkansas following their upset win over Alabama. They lost the rematch in Tuscaloosa on Saturday where they led by 10 with about 8 minutes left, smashed Ole Miss in Oxford following Auburn’s win there and lost by just 3 to Texas A&M at home. Missouri has been much better at home this season and they have that going for them tonight.

As a team, they average 67.7 PPG and allow 72.1 PPG. They do not shoot the 3 well at all, at just 27.1%, but we know how that goes when those kinds of teams face Auburn.

Junior forward Kobe Brown (#24) leads the way for Missouri averaging 13.8 PPG and 8.6 RPG. In Missouri’s win over Alabama, he had a career-high 30 points and 13 rebounds. Like that game for Brown, this game will have some extra meaning to him as he is a Huntsville native playing another one of his home-state schools.

Junior guard Amari Davis (#1) is averaging 10.4 PPG in his first year with the program after transferring from Green Bay. The Horizon League Freshmen of the Year 2 years ago, Davis is their best free throw shooter at 84.2% but is shooting just 25.7% from 3.

Junior guard Jarron Coleman (#5) is Missouri’s primary 3-point shooter, shooting 27-82 from 3 (32.9%) this season and averaging 10.1 PPG. Like David, this is Coleman’s first year at Mizzou after transferring in from Ball State.

Senior guard Javon Pickett (#4) is one of the few returning contributors from last year’s team and after primarily coming off the bench last season, Pickett is back in the starting lineup this year. He is averaging 9.5 PPG this season.

Junior guard DaJuan Gordon (#12) came over from Kansas State and is averaging 8.8 PPG. He is Missouri’s 2nd highest 3-point shooter hitting 30.9% of his 3s this season.

Missouri also features in their frontcourt sophomore Ronnie Degray III (#21), a transfer from UMass averaging 7.7 PPG and 4.9 RPG and freshmen Trevon Brazile (#23) who averages 5.9 PPG and is the team’s leading shot blocker.

Prediction

With Auburn now at the top spot in the rankings, they are going to get everybody’s best shot. I don’t expect anything different tonight and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Missouri get off to a great start like Ole Miss did in the Tigers last road game. Still, this Auburn team is different and while the #1 ranking is a great accomplishment, there are bigger goals for this team. This could be a potential letdown game after the huge emotional win over Kentucky but I think Auburn has too much talent and their depth as its done all year should take over down the stretch.

Auburn 78 Missouri 65