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JwgreDeux

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Auburn vs. #23 South Carolina (M Basketball)

Auburn (13-6, 3-4) vs. No. 23 South Carolina (15-4, 5-1)

  • Tuesday, January 24th, 5:30PM CT
  • SEC Network / WatchESPN
  • Columbia, SC

I'm on the road again this week, and so are our Tigers. This will be a fairly simple preview, but I think SC is a straightforward team. Thornwell is really good, and they play really tough.

After a huge week of home wins vs LSU and bama, Auburn heads on the road with two games this week vs top 30 RPI teams. The first is #23 South Carolina, who statistically is the best defensive team in the league, although they did give up 85 vs Kentucky without Fox most of the night. (Important to note that SC was without their second leading scorer vs UK, Silva) They are a good team and they impose their style of play on you, by slowing the game down, going big, going small, and playing with toughness. They will be favored by 10.5 points or so (vegas line not yet out) at home, and will be tough to beat. 

Matchup-wise our primary, maybe only, focus needs to be on Thornwell. He is their best player, and their team plays through him most of the game. He plays every position on the court except the 5, and he is the key to their ability to play big and play small. I would expect them to play big against us and try to slow the game down. Looking to get him matched up against Harper, Brown or Johnson in the post or high post a good bit. The big question is who do we want to guard him, perhaps Heron or Dunans will draw that asignment. In any event, holding him in check will be key. If they go big, rebounding will be the other key, they aren't huge, but have good size and excellent toughness in the post. Wiley again will be the biggest guy on the court and could be the difference if we are going to get this win. 

As for our best chance to win, I think we have to look at what Kentucky did. Guards have been able to penetrate vs SC's perimeter defense, and I think that's where we need to attack, but first we need to establish Wiley inside. He doesn't have to have 20 and 10 for us to win, but we need to force SC to guard the post and the perimeter. Additionally, we need to force Thornwell to play defense. Don't allow their substitutions to determine how we play, if he has to exert himself on both ends it will affect his offense. 

SC is athletic, and a near lock for the NCAA, this a great reality check for where we are as a team. Have we indeed turned a corner over this 3-1 stretch, or will we have a two steps forward one step back kinda moment. This game and the next vs TCU is a chance to get a W that was not planned on, and make up for the early loss to Ole Miss. It would bring us .500 in the league and give us a bump in the RPI (currently 70). 

We need to get Harper back on track this game for us to have our best chance. He has been quiet recently, but I would like to see him return to his aggressive self, penetrating over these next two games. I think we actually can give their defense a lot of trouble. If we can get a lead early and get them out of their game, we can extend our SEC winning streak. 

War Eagle. 

Edited by JwgreDeux
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10 minutes ago, RunInRed said:

Is there a line?

The line is now out, and it is set at 9.5. I usually base my projected lines off a few metrics that I really like, this line is adjusted down from where those metrics place the game. 

 

Additionally, the over/under is set at 136.5 (that would be a score of something in the range of 72-63), for us to have a chance we need the game to go over that total into the upper 70s. A game in the 60s is bad news for us. 

Edited by JwgreDeux

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Had a chance to look deeper at the stats this am and here are a couple of things of note: 

SC leads the country in the fewest assists allowed per game, and opposing assist to turnover margin. This just confirms what I said above about the need for Harper to play well, but this also highlights the need for our wings to move the ball. Dunans has shown the ability to do this, and again balance from him is what we need. A couple of games back I pointed out that we haven't lost a game when Heron has multiple assists, with teams starting to zero in on him, this would be a great time to have a multi assist game. 

One thing that the stats reveal is that SC fouls alot (21 times per game) Auburn does too (20 per game), but SC gives up 4 more free throws a game. Combine this with the fact that Auburn is good at generating FT attempts (27 per game #7 in the country) and SC is not (shooting 20 per game), and you see that we have a chance to shoot 7-10 more free throws. This is their weakest area statistically speaking. In my preview I mentioned that we need to attack off the dribble drive, this is confirmed by these stats. 

So I will be watching Harper (and Johnson) closely, as well as our dribble drive offense and free throw shooting. Other than pace of the game, these areas could prove critical. 

 

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2 hours ago, JwgreDeux said:

The line is now out, and it is set at 9.5. I usually base my projected lines off a few metrics that I really like, this line is adjusted down from where those metrics place the game. 

 

Additionally, the over/under is set at 136.5 (that would be a score of something in the range of 72-63), for us to have a chance we need the game to go over that total into the upper 70s. A game in the 60s is bad news for us. 

Sorry the piecemeal preview this has turned into, but I left out an important item. SC's second leading scorer (who missed the UK game) is supposed to play vs us tonight. Silva is a 6-8ish forward who has had some back issues. This bit of info, may play in to why the line is a little lower than the metrics would suggest. How healthy he is will be a factor here, much like Purifoy's health (which looked ok vs bama).

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I'm worried Thornwell gets his defender in foul trouble. Be maybe we can get 2-3 on him quick with his aggressiveness. He is a match up problem. I think a key to this game is McLemore and Johnson. We get good play out of Others we are gonna need those two to help out alot.

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One last observation before I'll be tied up pretty much until the tip off. SC beat FL 57-53 with FL shooting 0% from three point land, going 0-17. SC lost to UK 69-85 with UK going 8-20. If FL shoots 11% (2-17) they win that game. I don't think we can simply overwhelm them the way UK did, but I think we have the talent to score enough to get them out of their comfort zone. 

War Eagle!

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Anyone know if McLemore is good to go? I remember he was a little limited due to strep throat so it would be good to have him at full strength 

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Just a reminder....an early tip-off tonight.....5:30 Central

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