Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#633 Auburn 141 vs.
#634 Florida -2
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 1:30pm EST
Written by Blake V.

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#633 Auburn University
#634 University of Florida
15-1
11-5
8-8
6-10
6-10
9-7
80
73
67
66

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No. 4 Auburn could not outlast No. 7 San Diego State as the final unbeaten team in college basketball. The Tigers lost to Alabama on the road in Wednesday night’s game and are now 15-1 on the season. They travel to Florida on Saturday afternoon to face the 11-5 Gators, who are coming off a resounding win against Ole Miss on Tuesday.

Tigers coming off first loss of year

Auburn is dealing with something it has not dealt with since the Final Four—a loss. The Tigers shot just 32 percent and committed 21 turnovers in an 83-64 loss to Alabama on Wednesday night. They are scoring 80.9 points per game and giving up 67.3, so Wednesday’s loss marked a season-high on both fronts. Still, Auburn has won 27 of its last 29 games going back to last year’s Final Four run and is one of the best teams in the country.

The Tigers are led by senior guard Samir Doughty, who is scoring 15.1 points per game and is dishing out 2.7 assists per game. He leads the team in made 3-pointers, connecting on 28 of 86 attempts from long range. Freshman big man Isaac Okoro is scoring 13.1 points per game and is grabbing 4.5 rebounds per game. He has struggled from the perimeter, making just 8 of 33 from downtown. Senior guard J'Von McCormick is scoring 11.3 points per game and is dishing out a team-high 5.0 assists per game. He has been a decent long range weapon, making 21 of 68 from deep. Senior center Austin Wiley is scoring 10.7 points per game and is grabbing a team-high 9.4 rebounds per contest.

Gators needing big win

Florida has had an up-and-down season, but the Gators appear to be on an up-tick. They have won four of their last five games, including wins against Alabama and South Carolina. The Crimson Tide, of course, dispatched of Auburn on Wednesday, while the Gamecocks notched an impressive win against Kentucky in their mid-week outing. Florida bounced back from a strange loss at Missouri with an impressive 71-55 victory against Ole Miss on Tuesday night. The Gators jumped out to a 12-point halftime lead and cruised in the second half.

Senior forward Kerry Blackshear Jr., a transfer from Virginia Tech, is scoring 15.0 points per game and is grabbing a team-high 8.4 rebounds per game. He can stretch the defense, making 14 of 45 from beyond the arc. Sophomore forward Keyontae Johnson is scoring 13.0 points per game and is pulling down 6.8 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Andrew Nembhard is adding 11.1 points per game and a team-high 5.9 assists per contest. Sophomore guard Noah Locke is contributing 9.9 points per game and is the team’s leading 3-point shooter. Locke has knocked down 40.2 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.

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I really like Auburn in this game. The Tigers’ loss to Alabama has provided value in this one. That was a deceiving loss, as Auburn’s turnovers and the Crimson Tide’s hot shooting led to an inflated scoreline. I am not sure how anyone can trust this Florida team right now, as the Gators seem to drop off after every nice stretch of play this season. Until Mike White proves otherwise, it’s tough to back them. They are 1-5 ATS in their last six Saturday games, tending to shrink on the big stage. Auburn has a nice mix of talented youngsters and savvy veterans—the perfect mix for a road win in the SEC.

Prediction: Auburn +2.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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Florida knows that it needs to turn this into an ugly game to pick up the win. Alabama was able to get into a footrace and beat Auburn at its own game with athletes like Petty and Lewis. The Gators do not have that kind of roster and will be much better served to keep Saturday’s game in the half-court. Florida already plays a slow pace, coming in at No. 286 in KenPom’s adjusted tempo ratings. The Tigers have had six of their last eight games go under the total, as their offense is not quite as dynamic as it was a year ago.

Prediction: Under 141.5
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Written By Blake V.

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.