GAME 12: Wednesday, December 21st, 2022
Alaska Airlines Arena - Seattle, WA
Time: 8:00 pm CST/9:00 pm EST
Network: PAC-12 Network, Auburn Radio Network
Betting Odds: Auburn -3.5, Over/Under 138.0 via Draft Kings Sportsbook
(Odds/lines subject to change. Visit DraftKings for more information.)
The first half of this West Coast road trip didn’t exactly go the way we wanted, but it definitely held higher promise than recent games have.
With an injured Wendell Green, Auburn fell at USC 74-71 in Los Angeles on Sunday evening, dropping the Tigers to 9-2 overall. However, even with the loss, things looked better than they have over the past couple of contests. Auburn went 8-23 from three, shot 47% overall, and outrebounded USC 30-19, but the Trojans got a monumental effort from Boogie Ellis with 28 points. Meanwhile, the Tigers got 16 from Johni Broome and 12 from Tre Donaldson in a big breakout game for the freshman, but had 22 turnovers and spent most of the second half watching the Trojans shoot foul shots after they got into the double bonus extremely quickly.
In particular, Auburn needs a healthy Wendell Green, whose ankle should be in better shape after just 12 minutes on the floor, and they need a much cleaner game from K.D. Johnson, who scored 6 points to go along with 6 turnovers, many of them wild passes to nobody.
These are areas where Auburn can definitely improve, and they should. Comments from Bruce Pearl after the game seemed to be encouraging and optimistic, feeling that despite the loss his team had showed better effort, better togetherness, and improvement after two straight duds. Now, it’s a continued road trip and a look at the Washington Huskies at their place.
Washington is going to have some flashbacks from the fall of 2018 when these two teams met at then Auburn Arena and the subsequent trip home.
Washington basketball team safe after bus blows tire and catches fire following loss to Auburnhttps://t.co/CFYiPaRLo2— CBS Sports CBB (@CBSSportsCBB) November 12, 2018
After getting shelled 88-66 by the Auburn team that would eventually go to the Final Four, Washington had to evacuate its bus when it caught fire. This came just a couple of months after Auburn beat the Huskies in football to open the 2018 season. Rough times in Seattle. Either way, this is the return trip to Alaska Airlines Arena (they needed AAA, ayyyyyyy lmao).
Washington comes into this game at 9-3 under Mike Hopkins, and they’re 1-1 in PAC-12 play. Their schedule is... unimpressive to say the least. There are no real good wins to speak of (Colorado and Saint Mary’s, maybe), but there are a ton of bad teams on the slate. They beat to Utah... Tech, which I didn’t even know was a school that played bigtime college basketball. Then they turned around and lost to California Baptist out of the WAC.
It’s funny, Auburn ranks first in the country in blocks, and USC was third when we played them on Sunday. Guess who is sandwiched right in the middle. Washington. Despite getting blocks, they don’t really rebound very well, though (266th nationally), and the only other area where they really excel is at free throw shooting (29th nationally). Let’s see if Auburn’s vaunted free throw defense travels to Seattle to stop the Huskies cold.
We will be watching out for Keion Brooks, a 6’7 senior forward, who averages 16.8/ ppg6.7 rpg/1.4 apg. In true Drew Peterson form, he’ll be on the floor the vast majority of the game. Aside from him, Cole Bajema is the only guy who averages double digits (10.6 ppg/4.8 rpg) as another 6’7 player. Braxton Meah will be a load inside at 7’1, 250. And he posts 9.2 ppg/6.0 rpg/1.5 bpg.
Mike Hopkins is a former longtime assistant coach under Jim Boeheim at Syracuse, so we know what he’ll throw at Auburn defensively. The Tigers were able to handle it easily when they played in 2018 by just bombing away from deep, but that might be a concern tonight. While Auburn isn’t as good at distance shooting as they were in past years, they seem to have found something over recent games that can start to reverse that trend. Getting Wendell back totally tonight would go a long way in helping there.
Auburn should bounce back in this game after the loss to USC. Washington hasn’t really played anyone aside from Gonzaga, and they didn’t hang around in that contest. The Tigers are more athletic, and I think turning the corner after that loss to USC with a bit better team chemistry. A big night from Wendell would be fantastic, and I think he gets a couple threes, and Auburn plays from ahead most of this game. Crowd shouldn’t be anything to write home about with snow in the area and the students gone.
Auburn 78, Washington 68