GAME 26: Tuesday, February 14th, 2023
Neville Arena - Auburn, AL
Time: 6:00 pm CST/7:00 pm EST
Network: ESPN, Auburn Radio Network
Betting Odds: Auburn -7.0, Over/Under 151.5 via Draft Kings Sportsbook
(Odds/lines subject to change. Visit DraftKings for more information.)
Okay, Bruce, we need to step it up a bit.
Auburn hasn’t been able to close things out lately. The Tigers have lost five of six, with close calls abounding. Auburn erased a big deficit against West Virginia on the road, hung in with top five teams in Tennessee and Alabama (leading the Tide down the stretch), and came up short in College Station. At 17-8, you’re not really in the danger zone yet, but you can’t afford to make any mistakes before heading to Lexington in a couple weeks.
Now, it’s Missouri at home. The gold and black Tigers haven’t won on the Plains since 2014, but that’s of little consequence. This is a pretty solid team that’s already gone through the toughest portion of its schedule and may be in position for a top four seed in the SEC Tournament if things shake out the right way.
If you remember last season, Auburn got up to #1 in the rankings, and then nearly pooped its pants against this Mizzou team in CoMo. However, they got the win, but Missouri’s danger element stays prevalent in our minds.
The Tigers are 19-6 on the year, and they’re on the opposite trajectory from Auburn, having won five of six. That includes a buzzer beater win over Tennessee over the weekend, and they can still boast earlier double-digit victories over Kentucky and Iowa State from recent weeks to show that they’re one of the best offensive teams in the country.
You can see that they’re 12th in the country in scoring, and 25th in field goal percentage. They’re going to hit shots, they’re going to hit threes, but Auburn can grab a distinct advantage with the Tigers not being a good rebounding team. Like, at all. Missouri is next-to-last in the land in defensive rebounding, so Auburn’s size in the middle should be able to win some battles and create second chance opportunities.
Of course, this isn’t anything new after Devan Cambridge grabbed 9 offensive boards in last year’s meeting, but that was a Cuonzo team. New head coach Dennis Gates has this offense cooking, and he’ll lean on the star from last season in Kobe Brown. You’ll remember Brown as the Huntsville native who ended up going far away, and now he’s averaging 16.5 ppg and coming home essentially. He’s hitting 57% from the floor and 46% from three, so, thanks for that.
Aside Brown, D’Moi Hodge, a transfer from Cleveland State, is picking up 14.1 ppg as a 6’4 guard, along with double digit outputs from DeAndre Gholston at 10.5 ppg.
Something has to give at a certain point for Auburn. While they haven’t been able to get over the hump recently, they’ve been close to beating some really good teams and just haven’t put it together toward the end. Missouri isn’t on the level of an Alabama, and while the Jungle might not be quite as raucous, it’ll still be a good atmosphere. I like Johni Broome’s inside presence tonight against a very poor rebounding team, and I think the Tigers can get a another big performance from the foul line against a team that commits quite a few fouls.
Auburn 76, Missouri 66