Auburn/SEC basketball notes: busy stretch for Tigers

AUBURN, Alabama–Coach Bruce Pearl’s Auburn basketball team will be busy with three games in 10 days beginning with a rivalry contest on Wednesday. The upcoming three games include a pair of road contests plus a Saturday night home matchup vs. a ranked opponent.

Following a week off since winning their SEC opener at home vs. the Florida Gators, the Tigers will return to action on Wednesday at Georgia. Tipoff for the game vs. the Bulldogs are set for 5:30 pm CST with television coverage on the SEC Network.

Auburn, which is 11-2 overall and 1-0 in the SEC, is ranked 22nd in the first AP Top 25 poll of 2023. That is two spots below last week’s ranking for the Tigers. The Tigers moved up three spots in the USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll to 20th after edging Florida 61-58.

In their third true road game of the season the Tigers will face the 10-3 Bulldogs, who are 8-0 this season at Stegeman Coliseum. For Coach Mike White the matchup vs. the Tigers will be his first SEC game as head coach of the Bulldogs after making the move to Athens from the University of Florida.

Three days later the Tigers will take on Arkansas at Neville Arena. Tipoff is set for 7:30 pm CST for a contest that will be televised on the SEC Network. The Razorbacks, who are ranked 13th in this week’s AP Poll, were upset in their league opener at LSU to drop to 11-2 for the season. Arkansas fell four spots in this week’s AP ranking. LSU has the most votes of any team outside the Top 25.

Three days after playing the Razorbacks, Auburn will be back on the road for a Tuesday night contest at Ole Miss. The Rebels are 8-5 and 0-1 in the SEC after losing a 63-59 home game to Tennessee.

Another SEC team, the Kentucky Wildcats, dropped out of the AP Top 25 after losing to Missouri and are four spots out of the ranking. Missouri moved into this week’s poll at No. 20 while Mississippi State dropped out with the 28th most votes. Also from the SEC, Tennessee dropped one spot in this week’s AP Poll coming in at eighth. Purdue (13-0) remains No. 1. The only other unbeaten team in the Top 25 is 14-0 New Mexico. The 14-0 Lobos moved one spot ahead of Auburn and are ranked 21st.

In the coaches poll Purdue is also No. 1. SEC teams making that Top 25 in addition to Auburn include Alabama (7th), Tennessee (9th), Arkansas (13th), Missouri (21st) and Kentucky is tied for 25th with Iowa State.

Auburn and SEC basketball notes: Auburn is eighth in scoring among SEC teams at 72.69 points per game and tied with Arkansas for third in scoring defense at 61.77 points per game behind Tennessee (53.23) and Mississippi State (54.54). Missouri is the top scoring team with its average of 88.77 points…Pearl’s Tigers are ranked seventh in field goal shooting (44.2 percent) and third in field goal defense (38.9 percent). Missouri is hitting at a 51.1 percent rate, which leads the league and is ranked fourth nationally with Gonzaga No. 1 to 52.6 percent. Tennessee leads the league in field goal defense, allowing opponents to make just 33.2 percent of their shots, which ranks No. 1 nationally…Auburn leads the nation in blocked shots at 6.8 per game…Every SEC team is currently above .500 in won/loss percentage with Vanderbilt and South Carolina having the worst records at 7-6. LSU and Missouri, teams with new head coaches, have the best records at 12-1. Both the Bayou Bengals and Mizzou are 1-0 in league play along with Auburn, Tennessee and Alabama, teams that are 11-2 overall.

Brandon Miller of Alabama is leading the SEC in scoring at 19.2 points per game. On Monday he was named SEC Freshman of the Week. Auburn’s top scorer, Wendell Greenis 18th at 12.7 with Johnny Broome next at 12.3…Broome is fifth in the SEC in rebounding at 8.4 per game. Last season’s SEC and national player of the year, Oscar Tshiebwe of Kentucky, leads the nation in the category with 13.6 per contest. Auburn’s Jaylin Williams is 20th among SEC rebounders at 5.3 per outing…Broome is second in the league in blocked shots at 2.67 per game behind Liam Robbins, who is averaging 2.85 for Vanderbilt. Dylan Cardwell is fourth at 2.15…Broome is sixth in the league in field goal percentage at 49.6. Missouri’s Kobe Brown, who has sparked his team’s surprising start, is the league leader at 60.6 percent…Another Auburn player in the Top 10 of an SEC individual category is Green, who is seventh in free throw percentage at 80.0. The junior guard is 11th in assists at 3.54 per contest…Another junior guard, KD Johnsonis 10th in the league in free throw accuracy at 78.3 percent…LSU guard Trae Hannibal, a 6-2, 215-pound senior from Elliott, SC, came off the bench for 19 points on 9-14 shooting vs. Arkansas to earn SEC Player of the week honors.

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