GAME 05: Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022
#13 Auburn Tigers vs Bradley Braves
Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya - Cancun, Mexico
Time: 5:00 pm CST/6:00 pm EST
Network: CBS Sports Network, Auburn Radio Network
Betting Odds: Auburn -13.0, Over/Under 137.5 via Draft Kings Sportsbook
(Odds/lines subject to change. Visit DraftKings for more information.)
Auburn finished up its homestand on Friday night with a closer-than-expected victory over Texas Southern, but maybe that was just holiday blues getting in the way of true focus. The Tigers have been sunning themselves over the past couple of days on the coast in Mexico, having a great time as they made their way to Cancun.
At 4-0, Auburn is starting to find itself as a team. Bruce Pearl has predicated this group’s personality on defense, with the Tigers allowing fewer than 60 points per game through a perfect start.
Bruce Pearl is also figuring out quite the rotation, and I think four games in we’re starting to see it settle just a little bit. Auburn had one wrinkle come into play two games into the season, however, as Chance Westry came back from injury and was able to show off what some writers on this site have been decrying for months. He’s an absolute threat to do something special every time he touches the ball. However, perhaps the most consistent and surprising player through the first few games in 2022 is Chris Moore.
Moore came alive with 14 points on Friday night, and on the year he’s averaging 8.3 points per game with a 67% (extremely low data) clip from outside. After his time with injury last year, it’s great to see him as a huge part of the rotation. Each night someone else seems to pick up the slack, and that’s fantastic after last year’s group depended on Jabari Smith’s double figures each game and a huge night from Walker Kessler in the middle. Now, Auburn has options almost everywhere. Speaking of the bigs in the middle, Auburn rested Johni Broome on Friday night, so hopefully they have a rested forward ready to dominate a smaller Bradley lineup.
Bradley enters this week’s event at 3-1 on the young season, and they sport a team of upperclassmen with a starting lineup that’ll give you fits even if it doesn’t have a whole lot of size. The Braves will throw two juniors, two seniors, and a grad transfer out as starters tonight, none of whom average less than 9.3 ppg. Ja’Shon Henry’s the guy who makes it all go at forward with 13.0 ppg/6.8 rpg, and they’ll depend on Malevy Leons in the middle as well, who also grabs 6.0 rpg. If Broome is back, however, he should be able to dominate the forwards, who don’t run more than 6’9.
In the backcourt, Duke Deen’s a 5’8 point guard who’ll run the show. He posts double digit points every night as well as 3+ assists per game. As a group, Bradley has a similar dynamic to Auburn with a bunch of different players who’ll come out and can lead the team in points on any given night.
What the Braves have a problem with is on the glass. They’re in the bottom third in the nation in rebounding, as well as assists. However, as an experienced group, they don’t turn the ball over much (just 10 per game), and they’ll shoot well and pick their shots carefully. Auburn will need to hassle Bradley as much as possible into taking poor first shots so that Broome and Cardwell can scoop up rebounds.
Auburn is going to have a tough time getting away from these guys, but it’ll happen in the end. While Bradley is going to have a nice time shooting, and probably takes an early lead, the Tigers will grind things down and start to wear the smaller forwards down. Game’s in doubt until the final ten minutes though, and Auburn finally gets enough of a run to create some separation late. We’ll see a couple key threes fall midway through the second half after a rough shooting time in a new gym early on, and the bigs have a solid combined game (35 points/20 rebounds/8 blocks from Broome/Cardwell together).
Auburn 69, Bradley 59