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#1 Auburn at Georgia Game Preview and Open Thread

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A Return to Athens for one KD Johnson

Syndication: The Montgomery Advertiser Jake Crandall / USA TODAY NETWORK

Saturday February 5th, 2022

Auburn Tigers at Georgia Bulldogs

Stegeman Coliseum - Athens, Georgia

Time: 12:00PM CT

Network: SEC Network, Auburn Radio Network

If KD Johnson had January 19th circled on his calendar, then he probably had February 5th circled even bigger on the calendar. Today, KD Johnson returns to Athens an Auburn Tiger as the Tigers look to win their 18th straight game overall against the Bulldogs.

Last year when Auburn faced Georgia in Athens, Johnson made his college debut in that matchup. Today, he plays in this matchup as a fan favorite for Auburn.

When KD Johnson committed to Auburn on May 19th, Auburn knew it was getting a great player, but I don’t think any of us could have expected what KD has become this year. His defense has been as good as advertised but his energy and effort have been contagious throughout not only this team but this fanbase.

Johnson was 1 of 6 Tigers that were in double figures for Auburn in the first matchup, a 83-60 win at Auburn Arena. Auburn put the game away early leading 52-27 at halftime. Johnson had 12 points for Auburn with Walker Kessler leading the way in that game with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 6 blocks. This game will mean something extra for him too and several other players from the state of Georgia. 4 of Auburn’s 5 starters are from the state of Georgia along with Jaylin Williams and Dylan Cardwell off the bench.

Auburn scored 100 points on Tuesday against Alabama and did so making just five 3-pointers compared to Alabama’s 14 3s. Why? Their dominance in the paint outscoring the Tide 52-22 and knocking down their free throws. Walker Kessler flirted with another triple-double Tuesday with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 8 blocks. With 93 blocked shots this season, Kessler has moved into 2nd place all-time in blocks in a season by an Auburn Tiger. Kyle Davis had 126 blocks during the 2002-2003 season so Kessler has a shot at breaking that record.

Wendell Green had 12 points and a season-high 11 assists in the last matchup and comes into today’s game off a season-high 23 points against Alabama. While Green has unlimited range, it seems like he is going more inside and scoring at the basket as the season rolls along and become a more complete player.

For Georgia, many people thought an 0-18 season in the SEC was very possible but Georgia knocked off Alabama last week to ensure that won’t happen. They come into today’s game after a 99-73 loss against Arkansas, Auburn’s next opponent. In the first matchup between Auburn and Georgia, freshmen Christian Wright led the way with 16 points for the Dawgs who started that game in place of leading scorer Kario Oquendo who didn’t play. Oquendo returned after missing the Auburn game and leads Georgia in scoring at 12.9 PPG.

Prediction

Auburn just finished a stretch of playing 4 of their last 5 games at home and have the next 2 games on the road. However today, will be a pseudo-home game for Auburn with many Tiger fans making the trek to Athens for what should be close to a sellout at Stegeman Coliseum. Auburn will look to sweep both Alabama and Georgia for only the second time since the 1966-1967 season. They did it 3 years ago on their way to the Final Four and look to do it again today.

Auburn should be able to take care of business today and then look towards a huge road game at Arkansas on Tuesday.

Auburn 85 Georgia 69