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Ole Miss at #3 Auburn Game Preview and Open Thread

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Auburn looks to bounce back from a heartbreaker in Gainesville

NCAA Basketball: Auburn at Florida Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday February 23rd, 2022

Ole Miss Rebels at Auburn Tigers

Auburn Neville Arena

Time: 7:30PM CT

Network: SEC Network, Auburn Radio Network

Welcome to the Nev!

Apparently Auburn couldn’t wait to get the new signage up any longer so going forward, this will be what you see when you arrive on-campus to watch Auburn Basketball.

As for what you’ll see on the court, Auburn (24-3, 12-2) plays their next to last home game tonight as the Tigers welcome Ole Miss (13-14, 4-10) to Auburn Arena. Over the past 4 seasons, the teams have rotated sweeping each other and with an Auburn win tonight, that would happen again for a 5th straight year.

Auburn holds a 1 game lead over Kentucky in the SEC after a 63-62 loss to Florida on Saturday. Jabari Smith led the way with 28 points but it wasn’t enough as the Tigers dropped their second straight road game and witnessed a second straight court storm at their expense.

In the first Auburn-Ole Miss matchup, the Rebels built an early 14-point lead in a game where they simply couldn’t miss or be called for a foul. Despite that, a late defensive spark from KD Johnson allowed Auburn to pull within 6 at halftime, a huge win for the Tigers. Auburn’s defense held Ole Miss to under 30% shooting in the second half and took control of the game midway through the second half on their way to an 80-71 victory.

Walker Kessler had 20 points, 10 rebounds and 7 blocks to lead Auburn. Jabari Smith had 15 points, and KD Johnson had 14 points. Wendell Green was also terrific in the second half and finished with 14 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds.

Ole Miss has dealt with injuries and illness for the majority of the SEC season. They lost their starting Point Guard Daeshun Ruffin for the season due a torn ACL in their win over LSU.

Jarkel Joiner missed the first matchup between the teams and did not play Saturday due to the flu. In fact, the flu hit Ole Miss pretty hard going into Saturday’s matchup with Georgia as they also were without Matthew Murrell meaning Ole Miss was without their top 3 scorers this season on Saturday. Despite this, they were able to defeat Georgia 85-68 in Athens.

Tye Fagan led the way Saturday in his return to Athens scoring 20 points and they also got career outings from Jaemyn Brakefield (19 points) and Austin Crowley (18 points) in the win.

It remains to be seen if we will see Joiner and Murrell tonight but its certainly something to keep an eye on.

Prediction

Auburn has a huge game on Saturday at Tennessee so the hope is the Tigers are not caught looking ahead to that one. I think the fact they come into tonight after a loss will be enough motivation though as they look to put the Florida game behind them. My gut says Wendell Green has a bounce back game in this one as Auburn looks to get more from other guys besides Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler. Auburn is at their best when more than those 2 guys are carrying the load. Saturday was a great teaching moment to get ready for March Madness which is right around the corner. I think Auburn takes care of business tonight.

Auburn 82 Ole Miss 68