A grueling February arrives as Auburn strives for consistency

Welcome again to The three-Pointer, the place we’ll have a look at Auburn’s developments in her former pair of video games, the crew’s Participant of the Week, and what’s subsequent on the agenda.

On the heels of a five-game profitable streak, however going through a lot improved competitors, Auburn suffered a modest 16-point loss at residence to Texas A&M earlier than falling to an exciting West Virginia contest within the SEC/Huge 12 Problem.

However, the Tigers’ streak of prime program within the polls continued, barely reaching No. 25 in Monday’s AP rankings. Most significantly, Auburn remains to be anticipated to emerge within the NCAA match discipline, with two first-quarter wins and solely 5 losses on the season. However a grueling stretch of the schedule is heating up, and video games like Georgia at residence Wednesday have develop into full matches you’ll be able to’t lose.

week underneath evaluate

There isn’t a purpose to panic.

A dose of actuality – or relatively, schedule energy – awaits the Tigers after their five-game profitable streak. It was all figuring out nicely for Auburn in opposition to the likes of Ole Miss, LSU, and South Carolina. These are additionally three of the worst groups within the convention.

And Bruce Pearl acknowledged two weeks in the past. He was candid with reporters, saying his crew beat groups they need to have crushed. Now, that does not take away from back-to-back wins, each by greater than 15 factors, over LSU and South Carolina. However the Tigers knew, beginning with Texas A&M that went into the sport 5-1 within the league, that few freebies have been left within the schedule for the remainder of the season.

However there have been no panicked tendencies in any of Auburn’s losses this week. They have been in {that a} pair of groups capturing 3 factors under common bought scorching, even regardless of Auburn’s higher defensive efforts. The mixed outcomes have been 41 % capturing from behind the arc by the Aggies and the Mountaineers in opposition to an Auburn protection that final week ranked second nationally in 3-point proportion allowed.

Each matches have been considerably modified by scorching capturing extensions of the opponent. Texas A&M made 6 of 9 photographs from 3-point vary to begin the sport, clawing its manner out of an early 10-2 gap and silencing the fiery Neville Area crowd. This modified the tempo of the sport and compelled the Tigers to play catch-up. For West Virginia, a pair are lacking Eric StephensonAuburn might need gained. The previous Wichita, Washington, and South Carolina State guard, whom Pearl recruited from the switch gate final 12 months, has been making ridiculous photographs by the tip of the sport, holding the Mountaineers to 31 factors on 7-of-10 capturing from behind the arc.

He bought up as soon as and hit a deep triple over each Wendell Inexperienced Jr And Zip JasperLate within the recreation, West Virginia backed up possessions by dropping extensive into the nook and hitting one other. Allen Flanigan Compete the entire shot.

Auburn was attacked on each ends of the pitch, in each losses, and couldn’t get better shortly sufficient. The Tigers mixed for 16 turnovers within the first half of each video games and could not defend constantly, however each methods improved within the second half. After halftime, Texas A&M was off the bottom 8 of 24 solely, and West Virginia made 4 baskets of simply 2 factors.

At Morgantown, an offensive clinic for the Tigers adopted within the second half: 48 factors on 56 % capturing, solely 5 turnovers and a 56 % help charge. It was virtually sufficient to return 16 factors, like Johnny BroomAnd KD Johnson And Jaylen Williams They have been all wonderful after the break.

However, then once more, 40 Minutes of Basketball continues to have Auburn dodging in opposition to good opponents. Broome continues to play as the most effective seniors within the convention, however he missed his first three photographs within the paint, had a major problem and did not rating within the first half. Johnson had arguably his greatest recreation of the season, together with an awesome shot and steal within the remaining minutes to maintain Auburn in, however he began 1-of-5 from the ground with two turnovers.

Then there may be the case of Inexperienced Jr.. It must be apparent to Auburn followers at this level that the Tigers shall be a way more efficient offense when he performs nicely. He went 1-for-9 from past the arc with eight whole turnovers within the two losses. Texas A&M specifically wasn’t a nasty recreation for a rookie by any means, however it continued to underline how a lot Auburn wanted his manufacturing.

On the finish of the day, not one of the loss is absolutely detrimental to Auburn’s championship restart – particularly not a 3-point loss in a four-way recreation on the street in West Virginia. Texas A&M is a prime 50 crew in each KenPom and the NCAA’s NET rankings, and the Mountaineers are within the prime 20.

The issue is, it would not get any simpler. As Pearl reported, Auburn missed out on a “prize” at West Virginia by letting the prospect to win a Quad 1 win slip away. These can be extraordinarily invaluable to the Tigers’ resume – however there are definitely loads of alternatives left. A whopping six of Auburn’s remaining 10 video games are at the moment Quadruple 1 video games, together with three in a row after the Georgia recreation on Wednesday: at Tennessee, at Texas A&M and at residence in opposition to Alabama. Auburn now must give attention to not struggling a second straight residence loss.

Two straight losses isn’t enjoyable, however to say that Auburn is now on the surface of the NCAA Event is totally false. Sure, the Pearl wants at the least two extra high quality wins to keep away from sweating on Choice Sunday. However for now, no single, respectable bow drop has Auburn even on the bubble, and the Tigers are thirty first within the Nets and twenty ninth in Kinbaum.

A number of basketball left. Auburn has its fair proportion of points to settle. However that does not must be a nasty factor. And panicking about March, when Auburn has had practically 1.5 dangerous losses this season and February hasn’t even began, is a waste of time.

Participant of the Week: Jaylen Williams

It has been practically a month since Williams had what may very well be thought-about an off night time.

His four-game profitable streak resulted in double figures with 8 factors in opposition to Texas A&M, however he made up for it with flawless passing: a season-high seven assists and 0 losses. Williams adopted with 18 factors, together with an enormous 3 within the remaining minute to maintain it to a recreation of 1 possession, in addition to 5 boards, a steal and a block.

As Pearl has said a number of occasions this season, it is by no means a nasty thought to hurl extra insult at Williams, and it will be helpful for the Tigers to take action going ahead. Williams shot 10 out of 16 final week, and it is changing into clear that he feels extra comfy the extra he shoots. He tried eight or extra discipline objectives in 12 video games, and solely 3 times in these video games did he shoot worse than 45 % from the ground.

Williams is the one Auburn participant to guide within the crew’s prime 5 in all the following classes: scoring, discipline aim proportion, 3-point proportion, assists, rebounds, steals and blocks this season. He ranks third within the prime three as nicely.

Auburn would not get a lot manufacturing when Williams has to go on the bench. Beginner and former 5 star potential Yohan Traore Appears off rotation now then Chris Moore He returned, although Moore sees restricted minutes and infrequently performs out of place within the fourth.

Broome must also get a nod right here, after scoring 31 factors on 54 % capturing within the two losses, in addition to seven rebounds in each video games. He flirted with a triple-double in opposition to Texas A&M, with seven boards and 7 blocks. He bought off to a gradual begin in opposition to the Mountaineers however exploded within the second half, additionally shelling out 5 assists on the season.

At this level, it appears applicable to acknowledge that Auburn has changed the All-American ahead duo Walker Kessler And Jabari Smith As it may be. Williams and Broome are each succesful two-way large guys who’re instrumental within the Tigers’ nightly success.

The Auburn frontcourt is well essentially the most constant a part of this crew.

What’s Subsequent

* Wednesday vs. Georgia (6 p.m. CST, SEC Community)

* Saturday in Tennessee (1pm CET, EST)

What has Georgia been as much as since profitable their first meet at Auburn – and sparking a profitable streak for the Tigers? Briefly, the Bulldogs nonetheless appear to be an improved crew within the first 12 months underneath Mike White.

Georgia is 3-4 since its win over Auburn, although three of these losses are street video games in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Florida. With 4 extra SEC wins over their final 10 video games, the Bulldogs can have their greatest convention report since 2016-17. Georgia has additionally not swept Auburn in a season collection for the reason that identical season.

In fact, slowing down the Bulldogs’ guard duo induced Auburn a lot bother final time – Terry Roberts And Carrio Oquendo, which gained 26 and 17 factors, respectively – shall be a prime precedence for the Tigers. They mixed for 37 Georgia’s scoring all season.

Nonetheless, the street video games have not been sort to Georgia this season, particularly on protection. Workforce White is 1-5 in actual street video games, with the one win coming over Ole Miss. In these six video games, the Bulldogs enable 75.8 factors.

So this is likely to be a becoming outing for the Auburn group who struggled virtually prime to backside in Athens. Broome was very efficient (22 factors and 12 rebounds), and Flanigan contributed 11 factors on 50 % capturing. Everybody else solely went 10 of 42 from the bottom.

Save for a mid-February residence recreation in opposition to Ole Miss, that is the winningest recreation remaining on Auburn’s schedule.

In the meantime, the mile on the street in Knoxville could be the hardest contest of the season. Tennessee, which has been in Kienbaum’s prime three a lot of the season, was ranked No. 2 within the AP ballot on Monday after coping with a top-10 crew in Texas within the SEC/Huge 12 Problem.

Many name this Rick Barnes crew one of the best Tennessee crew. The Volunteers are positively bullshit on protection, main the nation in scoring protection, whole discipline aim proportion and 3-point protection.

They’ve gained 9 of their final ten video games, shedding alone to Kentucky in Knoxville.

What’s the scheme for upsetting Wildcats? For starters, Tennessee has shot simply 3-of-21 from outdoors the arc, a pattern the Vols have fallen sufferer to fairly just a few occasions, and is at the moment No. 175 nationally in 3-point proportion. Kentucky additionally dominated on the glass, with a plus-17 benefit on the boards. On the one hand, this was an uncharacteristic efficiency for a Tennessee crew that was among the many prime 10 groups within the nation in rebounding charge.

The Vols get a really balanced offense from their rotation, with three extremely succesful guards – Zakai ZieglerAnd Santiago Vescovi And Tyrkey key Generate the #4 help charge in school basketball. Oliver Nakamhua (11.2 factors and 5.1 rebounds) He took an excellent step ahead after his season ended with an ankle harm final 12 months. Pupil and former 5-star recruit Julian Phillips, whom Auburn recruited solidly, is an explosive two-way athlete on the wing. Add veterans like Josiah Jordan James And Eros PlavsikTennessee will get defensive and efficient scoring from its whole lineup.

Each journeys to Knoxville and Tuscaloosa are alternatives for Auburn to drag off huge, defining victories, and Pearl has crushed a variety of Barnes’ greatest groups in latest seasons. The Tigers, however, usually are not going to lose to 2 of the 4 or 5 greatest groups within the nation.

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