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JwgreDeux

Tennessee - A preview

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Tennessee vs. Auburn (M Basketball)

Auburn (14-7, 3-5) vs. Tennessee (12-9, 4-4)

  • Tuesday, January 31st, 8:00PM CT
  • SEC Network / WatchESPN
  • Auburn Arena

One big loss followed by a big win, such is life with this talented bunch of freshmen Tigers. Only one thing is certain with this bunch, they keep you guessing.  This week we have a real chance to shift the postseason narrative in our favor, or relegate ourselves to hoping for any postseason tourney. UT and bama, both have good RPIs, are "hot" teams right now, and will be tough outs, but UT at home and bama on the road would also both be "good" wins on the resume. They will both be winnable games with narrow Vegas point spreads (the UT game is a pick'em at the moment and may move 1 point either way by tip off), we must get one of these games, preferably both and get to .500 in the league this week. 

UT is a small team. They have a center with good size, but that is it. The rest of their starters are 6'5'' or smaller, but they make up for it with aggressive tough play. They will not be timid coming into our place after the games they have played this year. They are only 12-9 on the season, but have one of the top SOS in the country with games vs Wisconsin, Oregon, UNC, Gonzaga, UK and Kansas St. Also of note, they are 3-3 on the road, 6 wins vs top 100 RPI or better teams. For comparison we have 3 such wins. They play a style that should suit our guys well, getting up and down the court, as they play small, but they are one of few SEC teams that have a positive rebounding margin. This demonstrates that though they play small, the play tough. Toughness has been an area that has been lacking for us at times and has cost us some big games. This week will put our toughness under a microscope, because we have more talent than UT or bama, but not enough to just show up and win. 

There have been a lot of reports this week that CBP has cut his rotation down to 9 guys. I began talking about that here, two weeks ago as something we needed to do. CBP also went out of his way to spotlight the resurgence of Brown offensively and defensively, as many know here I have been a Brown backer and personally am happy to see him playing well. One thing I would like to highlight here is to check out L. Smith's Twitter feed. During his recent time on the bench his Twitter feed has been an example of great attitude, and shows how good of a teammate he is. 

WIth UT being a small athletic team, we may see Purifoy return to the starting lineup if he is healthy, if not we may see Dunans at the four some this game. UT has pretty balanced scoring, and plays good man defense. Dunans, Harper and Johnson will need to continue to create for others, move the ball and make the defense work. Wiley will have a great chance for another big game as he is going to be the biggest guy on the court again. UT may look to double him this game, so he will need to be ready to make the kickout pass when needed. One thing we saw vs TCU that I would expect to see again was a high/low game with our 4s and 5s. Passing into the post from the high post was effective vs TCu and could be again vs a small UT. 

I hate to sound like a broken record, but I think we should be able to find enough scoring to win, the question will be can we guard.  They can penetrate from 3, maybe 4, spots, so we will have to play a lot of help defense and rotate based on assignment. We haven't done that well to date, so I am concerned about that. We have very similar stats on both sides of the ball, but they have done it vs better competition. Most of the metrics give them an edge in this matchup if both teams play an average game. So the real question is are we trending up, figuring things out, or are we left waiting to see which tigers will show up. The Auburn fan in me is optimistic that the piece are coming together. This week will tell us a lot as these two teams will make our young guns uncomfortable at times, how will they respond?

From here on out, we will always need to win the next one, so this one is a big one. Let's get it. 

War Eagle. 

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Until we win a few in a row and see no more blow outs i'm going to assume we are still in the "figuring it out" category. Hope we build on the last win and beat the Vols!!

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I'll pull for Auburn but my blood comes first. Oh and Turner is one of the most mentally tough guards you'll play. I'm interested to see my little cousin in this game

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52 minutes ago, cole256 said:

I'll pull for Auburn but my blood comes first. Oh and Turner is one of the most mentally tough guards you'll play. I'm interested to see my little cousin in this game

Cole ideal situation for you Turner has a great game but Auburn wins.

Edited by AuburnNTexas

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Looking at the stats they foul a lot and give up a lot of free throws. Wiley may have another good night at the stripe. 

 

We may go big Big to counter their small lineup and force some fouls early in the halves to get to the bonus early. 

 

Will be interesting to to see how CBP decides to handle their smaller lineup. 

Harper will have his hands full and Johnson may be the better matchup for us. Though Harper may be the better perimeter defender. 

Edited by JwgreDeux

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As of now most sports books have it as an even line, I've seen one with UT favored by one and one with AU favored by one. 

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I have such an odd vibe going into this game. A win and I'll start thinking we're a legit bubble team but a loss will have me thinking we're going to have to fight to not play in the first round of the SEC tournament. Hopefully we win. WDE!

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