GAME 07: Sunday, November 27th, 2022
#13 Auburn Tigers vs Saint Louis Billikens
Neville Arena - Auburn, AL
Time: 2:00 pm CST/3:00 pm EST
Network: SEC Network, Auburn Radio Network
Betting Odds: Auburn -6.5, Over/Under 149.0 via Draft Kings Sportsbook
(Odds/lines subject to change. Visit DraftKings for more information.)
Boy, we got to see Auburn have two completely different games in Cancun this week. First, the Tigers had no trouble with Bradley, destroying the Braves and having their best shooting night of the season by far.
Then, on Wednesday night, Auburn faced Northwestern in the title game of the Cancun Challenge, and, well, the two teams failed to score 90 points combined. You could say some of that was good defense, which was definitely a factor, but Auburn took poor shots all night and finished hitting just 26% of its shots overall. They went 5-21 from deep, but the Wildcats got to see the defense that Auburn put forth, and Northwestern hit just 25% of its field goals with a 2-24 performance from downtown.
Hey, you’ll have these ugly games, and we said that the Tigers were going to play more than their fair share due to the construction of this team. Scoring 43 points in a win, however, was likely not on anyone’s radar.
Now, Auburn has just a short time to get right before a road trip out west. After today’s game against Saint Louis, the Tigers will have just one game over the next two weeks, with Colgate at home this coming Friday. Then, they meet Memphis in Atlanta on the 10th, and a final warmup with Georgia Southern at home before going to play USC and Washington back-to-back. There’s time to get in the groove, but man you’d like to see the offense start to take off. We may need it this afternoon against one of the most efficient teams in the country.
Saint Louis is not an unfamiliar foe for Bruce Pearl, with Auburn scoring a 74-70 win on the road last year during their long winning streak and climb to #1 in the country. In that game, five Billikens scored in double digits, including Yuri Collins, who came close to a triple-double. He’s back this season, and averaging 12.8 ppg/10.7 rpg/3.2 apg to lead Saint Louis all around the floor. Gisbon Jimmerson leads the team in scoring with 14.7 ppg, and he returns after a good freshman season as well.
Auburn will get to watch out also for Javonte Perkins and Javon Pickett, both transfers for this season, and names that are nearly interchangeable that we will totally not confuse today. Combined they average another 24 points and 9 boards, and they’re both big guards at 6’6 and 6’5, respectively. Furthermore, Francis Okoro, the name thief, is back averaging nearly a double-double at 8.8 ppg/9.5 rpg in the middle. Standing at 6’9, he’ll be a big challenge for the Johni Broome/Dylan Cardwell combo for the Tigers.
Saint Louis is a great team offensively, scoring a ton from close range despite running four guards. They rebound very well, ranking in the top 25 nationally in total boards, and they’re 27th nationally in scoring with 83.8 ppg. Auburn would do well to not put the Billikens at the foul line too much in this game, as they’re a top ten team nationwide in foul shooting,
While Auburn is able to turn opponents over fairly regularly, Saint Louis does not do well at forcing turnovers. They get plenty of second chances on the boards, but Auburn can cause some havoc today at home against a very clean team offensively. This will likely be the biggest test for the Auburn defense to this point in the season.
Last season, Walker Kessler had a huge game with 19 points and 9 rebounds, and he towered over the Billiken bigs. While Cardwell and Broome aren’t humongous, they too will have an advantage inside. Cardwell had 2 blocks in his limited time on the floor in the meeting last year. We’ll need 25 points from the forward position, but otherwise Wendell Green needs to have one of his better games at the point. A 1-9 performance like he had on Wednesday won’t cut it and would result in a loss for the Tigers, but being back home and having a nice holiday should help the Tigers get back in the groove that they had found before that game against Northwestern. This one’s close, and the crowd plays a big factor to help the Tigers skate by late.
Auburn 72, Saint Louis 69