Predicting Auburn MBB wins and losses for the rest of non-conference schedule
AUBURN, AL - The Tigers are off to a hot 3-0 start to their 2019-2020 campaign. Can they keep it up through the remainder of their non conference schedule?
Auburn Head Coach Bruce Pearl is not afraid of scheduling tough opponents before SEC play kicks off in order to build a good resume and make his team more well rounded.
After having two controlling wins over veteran teams Georgia Southern and Davidson, Auburn squeaked out a true road win over another veteran team in South Alabama. It took a last second layup from freshman Issac Okoro, but against this tough Jaguar squad who returns a number of scorers from last season, Auburn will take that win early this year on the road.
Luckily for Auburn, they get to return home after a quick trip away from Auburn Arena. They face off in what should be an easy win against an 0-3 CSUN team who has a combined points scored loss this year of 278-219. Despite their offense having improved in the past few games, I still think Auburn's elite defense should stand tall. This should be a tune up game for Auburn at home.The game is Friday November 15th at 6:00 on SEC Network.
My prediction: Auburn 92 CSUN 55
In their next game in the Legends Classic, Auburn will get to host again but this time it will be the Colgate Raiders coming to town. This Raiders team is already 1-2 on the year and has lost to ACC teams in Clemson and Syracuse on the road. Their ability to spread the ball and score with a variety of players will be the reason why this game is close for the majority of the contest. Jordan Burns and Nelly Cummings combine for a challenging test in the back court for Auburn's guards to defend. It won't be an easy game down under the basket for Austin Wiley and Anfernee McLemore as Colgate has a solid front court as well. Tip off is set for Monday November 18th at 7:00 on SEC Network.
My prediction: Auburn 78 Colgate 74
To round out the Legends Classic, Auburn will travel to Brooklyn, NY where they will first face the University of New Mexico Lobos. The game is set to start inside the Barclays Center at 8:30 PM on ESPNEWS. The Lobos are 3-0 on the year with all three games being at home which is good for Auburn. They will only have played two of their five game away from Albuquerque by the time they travel to New York. This is an offensive team who is averaging 94 PPG already in this young season. Personally, I am not entirely sure Auburn finds a win in this game. The question is not whether the defense will limit the Lobos offense, but it is going to be if Auburn's offense can keep up with New Mexico.
My prediction: New Mexico 77 Auburn 68
The final game in the Brooklyn depends on the winner and loser of Richmond and Wisconsin. The result of this game decides who Auburn and New Mexico will play next.
Before traveling to Birmingham, Auburn will make a pit stop back home for Furman on Thursday December 5th at 8:00 PM. A great measuring stick for this Furman team was earlier this season against Loyola Chicago where they won 87-63. Another great match up for Auburn to see how good this Paladin team is, will be when they travel to Alabama on November 19th. It is easy to tell that this Furman team looks fundamentally sound on offense and defense so far. This is yet another great test in Auburn's non conference schedule despite what some may think. The home crowd gives this salty mouthed Auburn team the edge in this one.
My prediction: Auburn 80 Furman 65
Like previously mentioned, Auburn will travel back to Birmingham for the Mike Slive Invitational to not face off against UAB like last year, but Saint Louis. Auburn snuck out of the BJCC with a win last year in Danjel Purifoy's return from suspension. Coming into this game, the Billiken's will have played nine games with seven of them being at home. I am not sure that Saint Louis will truly understand how much of a home game this will be for Auburn. In the Birmingham region, there are many Auburn fanatics. Them plus the numerous orange and blue travelers will make this a huge similarity to the environment at Auburn Arena. The crowd and Bruce's motivation of how Auburn played in this game last year could lead to an obliteration on Saturday December 14th at 3:00.
My prediction: Auburn 92 Saint Louis 68
After this, Auburn will play the remainder of non conference games at home until SEC play starts.
Auburn will welcome the Wolfpack of NC State on Thursday December 19th at 8:00 PM. If you remember this game from last season, you must remember how devastating it was and how people thought it was going to shake Auburn's chances of making the tournament if they were to under perform in the SEC. NC State does not return their leading scorer from that game Markell Johnson who scored 27 points and had three steals. Again, another bad taste in the mouth of a tiger is not safe for anyone that enters its home.
My prediction: Auburn 84 NC State 72
The two final games before the turn of the decade will both be home games against Lehigh and Lipscomb. These two games will be Saturday December 21st at 5:00 PM and Sunday December 29th at 3:00 PM respectively. There is not much to say about these games besides how crucial they will be for Auburn to get any final wrinkles out of the way before heading to Starkville on January 4th. Auburn should win both of these with ease.
My prediction: Auburn 90 Lehigh 48
My prediction: Auburn 85 Lipscomb 54
Even after SEC play starts Auburn still technically has one more non conference game in the BIG 12/SEC Challenge. This is Auburn's first time being in it since January of 2017 when Auburn defeated TCU 88-80. This time around they will face off against Iowa State at home on Saturday January 25th at 11:00 AM. This game is huge and ESPN thinks so as well because there is a chance they will broadcast the game. A win at home would be huge for Auburn's resume considering their non conference up to this point is not as strong as they might like. It is going to be a dog fight to the end but I say Auburn has a solid possession late that propels them to a win.
My prediction: Auburn 75 Iowa State 73
Although the Tigers have a schedule before SEC play that is not the flashiest, it will sharpen this team to be better. They have already played three veteran teams and are scheduled to face off against a few more to improve their skills before the gauntlet of the SEC arrives.