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Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl talks with forward Danjel Purifoy (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Stamey)

Auburn Looks to Stay Perfect at Home as Tennessee Comes Into Town

The Tennessee Volunteers Men’s Basketball team (15-11) is traveling to the jungle to take on the Auburn Tigers (22-4). The game will start at noon and kickoff a great Saturday of college basketball.

Tennessee hasn’t won consecutive games in over a month. They have an opportunity to do so after a win at home against Vanderbilt on Tuesday.

On the other hand, Auburn is coming off consecutive losses to Missouri and Georgia.

Bruce Pearl is familiar with Tennessee basketball. He was the head coach for Tennessee from 2005-2011. Pearl brought the school their first-ever elite-eight appearance. In all six of his years as head coach, the team appeared in the NCAA tournament. He also won a regular-season SEC championship in the 2007-2008 season. At Auburn, Coach Pearl is 4-4 against Tennessee.

Tennessee’s Past Struggles Against Auburn

Historically, Tennessee has dominated this series, winning 77 of 115 games. But as of late, Auburn has come out on top. Spanning over two seasons, the Tigers have won the last three matchups against the Vols, scoring 84+ points in all three.

The 2019 losses hurt Tennessee because both possessed championship-winning opportunities. A win against Auburn in the regular season finale would have crowned Tennessee as co-SEC Champions with LSU. Tennessee lost 80-84.

About a week later, the Volunteers had a rematch in the SEC championship against Auburn. They lost that matchup as well, 64-84.

The Vols should be hungry for a win, and they certainly need the motivation to steal a win at a tough venue.

Past Games for Auburn

Earlier in the month, Auburn was first in the SEC, after a huge win against LSU at home. War eagle was rolling. Until they were caught slipping on back-to-back road losses against Missouri (13-13) and Georgia (13-13). All four losses for this team have been on the road and in conference play. So the Tigers are happy to be back at home, where they are 14-0. The Jungle will be in full effect on Saturday.

Auburn is 9-4 in conference play.

Past Games for Tennessee

At 7-6 in conference play, the Vols have been on and off in their last few games. Last Saturday, they lost at South Carolina, 61-63. During the week, Tennessee won at home against Vanderbilt 65-61. With a tough stretch to finish the season, Tennessee needs an upset win at Auburn to spark their late tournament push.

There are a handful of teams that are still undefeated at home this season. Auburn is one of them. There is hope for the Vols though. Earlier this week, the Rutgers basketball team lost their first home game of the season to Michigan. With the right game plan and strategy, Tennessee could hand Auburn their first home loss, as well.

Key Players

AU: Isaac Okoro, Auburn’s stud freshman, has been inactive the last two games with a hamstring injury. With the younger guy out, the older ones have been stepping up. The three seniors in Doughty, McCormick and Wiley have been producing. At least one of them is leading in all the statistical categories for Auburn besides shooting percentage.

UT: John Fulkerson has been leading Tennessee as of late. He is coming off a 25 point game against SC. He is leading the team in PPG (13), RPG (6.2) and SPG (1.2). He also leads the team in shooting from the field at 63%.

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