GAME 12: Wednesday, December 28th, 2022
Auburn Tigers vs. Florida Gators
Neville Arena — Auburn, AL
Time: 6:00 pm CST
Network: ESPN2, Auburn Radio Network
Betting Odds: Auburn -6, Over/Under 141.0 via Draft Kings Sportsbook
(Odds/lines subject to change. Visit DraftKings for more information.)
Jack is off tonight so Jonesy is here, and he hasn’t done one of these in a minute. Bear with him.
After splitting the west coast road swing, Auburn returns home to open SEC play against Florida. The Tigers dominated Washington practically from the tip, holding the Huskies to 36.8% shooting for the game (21.2% in the first half). Auburn was white-hot shooting in the second half, as 21 of 29 shots found the bottom of the net on the way to an 83-61 victory.
The Gators come to Neville Arena at 7-5 under our old friend Todd Golden. Florida has had a tough schedule to this point, and for the most part they’ve lost to the more talented teams they’ve played and beaten the less talented teams. The exception on the latter being a close loss at home to KT Harrell’s Florida Atlantic Owls.
These two teams split the series last year, with the home team winning each game. The loss in Gainesville last year is sure to be a fresh memory for the Tiger backcourt, as they struggled in that matchup in the spring. Auburn holds the all-time series edge 90-82, but Florida has been closing that gap in recent years.
Three players for the Gators average double figures in scoring (though Kowacie Reeves averages 9.9 ppg): Will Richard (10.7), Trey Bonham(10.2), and....sigh....37-year-old Colin Castleton (15.8). The major challenge for the Tigers will be to defend Castleton without fouling. Dylan Cardwell handled him well at times last year, but Big Dyl couldn’t stay out of foul trouble. A tight whistle in this one could keep Florida in the game.
Can Auburn keep the momentum of the Washington second half rolling after the Christmas break? The students aren’t back yet, so hopefully the holiday crowd picks up the slack. The keys for the Tigers will be to stay out of foul trouble and force someone other than Castleton to beat them. Force the Gators to take, and make, contested shots and that side of the floor should be fine. As always, offense is an adventure with this Auburn squad. Will the Tigers make 50% of their shots and win going away? Will they struggle to make 35% and turn this into a rock fight? Who knows.
One thing to remember: Todd Golden knows Bruce Pearl as well as anyone. He’ll be sure to have some tricks up his sleeve to try and grab his first SEC win as a head coach.
Auburn 69, Florida 58