GAME 14: Wednesday, January 4th, 2023
Stegeman Coliseum — Athens, GA
Time: 5:30 pm CST/6:30 pm EST
Network: SEC Network, Auburn Radio Network
Betting Odds: Auburn -7.5, Over/Under 136.0 via Draft Kings Sportsbook
(Odds/lines subject to change. Visit DraftKings for more information.)
Well, Auburn is atop the SEC standings after one game, a close win over Florida a week ago!
It’s been quite some time and it feels unfamiliar, since we’ve only had one game in the past two weeks. Auburn got back from the west coast road trip and took time off for the Christmas break before the Gators came to town. Then we had another week off while bowl season climaxed and the weekend was taken over by football.
Now, the Tigers are on to the first road game of the year in the league as they head to Athens.
If you remember, last season this was nearly a house of horrors and the biggest upset of the season. Auburn entered the Georgia game ranked number one in the land after plopping a hundred points on Alabama at home, and the Bulldogs nearly took that ranking out from under the Tigers’ feet. With Zep Jasper out with an illness, Auburn’s dynamic was a little disjointed, and despite building a large early lead —
Wendell Green lobs an alley-oop to Devan Cambridge off the backboard, and Cambridge flushes down a tomahawk. Auburn rolling past Georgia (shocker!)pic.twitter.com/IVVTBGi1J6— Simon Gibbs (@SimonGibbs26) February 5, 2022
— Georgia caught up quickly in the second half and we needed Wendell Green to bail us out with a last-second bucket. Auburn would lose the next time out when they went to Arkansas, and the magic seemed to slip a bit from there even though the Tigers would still win the SEC.
In that game, Auburn got huge afternoons from K.D. Johnson (20 points) and Wendell Green (19 points), but had to work through maybe Jabari Smith’s worst game, as he finished with just 7 points. Kario Oquendo scored 25 for Georgia, and I have hilarious news that he’s back for the Bulldogs this year.
While Auburn is certainly better than this Georgia team, memories of that game cannot linger for either side. The Tigers have to be a more focused team, and with a full week off to rest, I think that happens.
Well, it’s Georgia. They fired Tom Crean and got Mike White from Florida to lead the way, which is an interesting choice to say the least. So far, they’re 10-3 on the year, with a win over Notre Dame just before Christmas. Of the losses, the’ve fallen to Wake Forest, UAB, and Georgia Tech, however Auburn will be the first ranked team they’ve played this season.
Of the names on the roster, you’ll be familiar with Kario Oqeundo, as we mentioned above. He’s their leading scorer (14.3 ppg/3.9 rpg) ahead of transfer Terry Roberts. Roberts came from Bradley, and he’s posting 14.1 ppg for the Bulldogs as a complement to Oquendo being another big, experienced guard. Roberts gets the most minutes on the team, and that duo of guards does most of the work for Georgia as the only double-digit scorers on the team.
Back as well are Braelen Bridges, Jabri Abdur-Rahim, and Jaxon Etter, who all had impacts last year Auburn’s narrow escape in Athens. Bridges adds 7.6 ppg as the third-leading scorer for Georgia, but Abdur-Rahim and Etter have come back to earth after some big moments in our last meeting.
As for what Georgia’s good at? Not too much, according to the numbers. These ranks are national.
Auburn’s defense is likely better than last season’s, and that should be helpful. We also aren’t depending on the benevolence of Jabari Smith to bail us out, even though we were doing just fine without his services last year before collapsing late.
You wanted offense? Too bad. This is going to look much like the Florida game, but I think Auburn at least hits 70 points in this one. Lots of free throws, and tough going from the three-point line. Last year, Auburn went 6-28 from downtown, while Georgia went just 4-14 in this game. I don’t see us doing much better than that tonight. However, the week off really helps Auburn get healthy and rest up even more, and I expect Johni Broome to have a big game without anyone in the middle for the Bulldogs who can really match up with him. The early tip helps too when you go on the road, and I think Auburn actually gets an early lead and keeps Georgia at arm’s length mostly. No scares like last year.
Auburn 71, Georgia 62