GAME 03: Tuesday, November 15th, 2022
#13 Auburn Tigers vs Winthrop Eagles
Neville Arena - Auburn, AL
Time: 6:00 pm CST/7:00 pm EST
Network: SEC Network, Auburn Radio Network
Betting Odds: Auburn -18.5, Over/Under 151.5 via Draft Kings Sportsbook
(Odds/lines subject to change. Visit DraftKings for more information.)
Auburn has opened the season at 2-0 after first week wins against George Mason and a comeback victory over USF on Friday night. There’s a lot to review from that first week, and some things to focus on as we look ahead to the next few games:
- Wendell Green, Jr. is looking like an All-SEC type of player at point guard, turning in a Jared Harper type of performance in the win over USF on Friday night. He was able to take the game over late in the second half by driving to the hole and hitting a couple of clutch threes, and finished with 20 points to lead the Tigers.
- Allen Flanigan also turned in one of his best games in a couple years with 18 points in the USF win. He hit some early threes to pace the Tigers and keep them in the game when shots weren’t falling. Despite some #ClassicFlan turnovers, he was crucial to success.
- Injuries have kept Auburn from looking as tough as they could. While Johni Broome was a monster in the George Mason game, he wasn’t as effective in the USF win thanks to his sprained ankle. Add in the Chance Westry recovery from surgery, and two of Auburn’s most hyped newcomers have been saddled to start the season.
- There is a chance that Westry plays tonight against Winthrop, since he returned to practice last week. There’s no way he’d get more than 10-15 minutes, but just seeing him on the floor after what we witnessed in Israel would be huge.
- Auburn got 0-fer performances from K.D. Johnson and Zep Jasper on Friday night. Maybe we can chalk it up to whatever USF did last year continuing to work against Bruce Pearl, but the Tigers won’t win a ton of games if those two can’t put the ball in the basket.
- Offensively, Auburn has struggled overall. Just 36.6% shooting from the floor, 18% from three (9-50), and 62.3% from the line. Once we get a lineup a little more settled, those numbers probably get better, but be prepared for the Tigers to win some ugly defensive games this year.
- Speaking of which, the defense has been as advertised. Auburn has experienced little to no dropoff without Walker Kessler and Jabari Smith. Through two games they’ve got 17 blocks, 25 steals, and are allowing just 55.5 points per game.
Winthrop comes in tonight for an early tipoff, and for many of us, I immediately think of the first round of the 1999 NCAA Tournament, when the Tigers and Eagles faced off in the 1-16 matchup. Auburn has a 5-1 record against these guys all-time, with the only loss coming courtesy of Tony Barbee in 2012 (THANKS).
What we’re going to see tonight is a team that doesn’t feature anyone who’ll be challenging height-wise. That doesn’t mean they won’t be dangerous. Auburn’s going to get a test from forwards Kelton Talford (18.3 ppg) and Cory Hightower (16.7 ppg), but the Eagles shouldn’t be gassing the Tigers in this matchup at all.
Winthrop is 341st in the nation in field goal attempts per game, so they’re going to pick their spots to actually attempt shots, and they get very few second chances, with just over five offensive rebounds per game. Auburn should be able to control the boards tonight, with Winthrop’s main contributors topping out at 6’7. They will play 6’10 forward Michael Moore some, but the freshman isn’t experienced enough to battle with Dylan Cardwell or Johni Broome for 40 minutes.
The guard matchups will be interesting, but I think Sin’Cere McMahon will have some trouble handling a Wendell Green who’s finding the zone, or a K.D. Johnson/Zep Jasper combo looking for some redemption in front of the home crowd and wishing for a shot to fall.
All in all, this shouldn’t be much trouble tonight. Auburn is much bigger and should control the glass, score a bunch in the paint, and Winthrop won’t have enough opportunities to make it close. The only thing that could keep it in doubt for a while is it the Eagles are able to hit some threes early and Auburn is still cold from deep, but this isn’t a team that’s going to run up and down the floor bombing away on you.
Auburn 80, Winthrop 64