Feb 7, 2018; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl signals to his team during the first half against the Texas A&M Aggies at Auburn Arena. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

SEC Basketball Preview: No. 8 Auburn Looking to Bounce Back Against Georgia

Three days following a heartbreaking 81-80 home loss to Texas A&M, the No. 8 Auburn Tigers are back on the road to face the Georgia Bulldogs. Despite the loss, Auburn still leads the SEC. However, Tennessee (1 GB) and Florida (2 GB) are close on their heels. Georgia is trending in the opposite direction. Coming into Saturday, the Bulldogs have lost 5 of their last 6 games.

Auburn Keys to Success

The Tigers have surprisingly been better on the road than at home this season. Of their three losses, only one has come away from Auburn Arena. Auburn has done a solid job of not letting a hostile crowds affect their play. Head coach Bruce Pearl touched on how SEC environments have become more difficult to play in this year.

Pearl also noted how having experience on his roster helps his group when they hit the road. Whether at home or away, he said his team plays the same.

In their loss to Texas A&M, Auburn was lights out from the field shooting 52 percent. They did, however, struggle a bit from three-point range. From distance, they shot just 33 percent. Auburn will be looking to get that number closer to their season average of 38 percent against Georgia.

Auburn can certainly fill it up. Junior guard Bryce Brown and sophomore guard Mustapha Heron score a combined 32.8 points per game. Auburn surrenders 72.9 points per game (T-196 in the nation), but that total can be a bit misleading. The Tigers play up-tempo and force 15.63 turnovers per game (T-30 in the nation).

Georgia Keys to Success

While Auburn turns teams over and pushes the pace, Georgia struggles to hold on to the basketball and force turnovers of their own. On average, the Bulldogs turn it over 13.1 times per game (176 in the nation) and force a measly 10.09 turnovers per game (349 in the nation). Only two teams in the entire country force fewer turnovers than Georgia.

Offensively, the Bulldogs rely heavily on the services of senior forward Yante Maten. He averages 19.3 points per game and is the only Georgia player to average over 10 points per game. He’s currently in the running for the Karl Malone Award, which is given to the nation’s top power forward.


Game Info

Tipoff is set for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. You can watch the game on SEC Network.

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