So far, so good for the Tigers, who riled off back-to-back wins against tough mid-major opponents to start the season, including a top-100 win their last victory over Davidson. Bruce Pearl’s squad has an underrated non-conference schedule which features a handful of tough mid-major teams, including Tuesday’s opponent -- South Alabama. The Jaguars are expected to make some noise in the Sun Belt in Richie Riley’s second year as head coach and they will try to seize the moment in their first big game of the season. Can South Alabama pull off an upset at home against a ranked Auburn team on Tuesday night?
Okoro leads team in scoring vs. DavidsonThe Tigers led from start-to-finish and took down Davidson 76-66 for their first quality win of the season. Freshman Isaac Okoro led the team in scoring with 17 points and senior Danjel Purifoy added 14 points for the Tigers, who had five players finish in double-figures on the night.
Pearl’s squad enters the week slotted at No. 24 in the latest KenPom rankings. Auburn faces the tough task of replacing the majority of their production on both ends of the floor last season. Chime Okeke, Bryce Brown, and Jared Harper have all moved on, leaving the Tigers desperate for offense and 3-point shooting.
This year’s Tigers have shot just 28.3 percent from beyond the arc through their first two games (225th in the NCAA) while turning the ball over a sloppy 23.8 percent of the time (273rd in the NCAA). Instead, Auburn has been survived by dominating the paint, getting to the free-throw line, and playing their usual brand of tough, hard-nosed defense.
Despite their poor shooting from deep, the Tigers come in scoring 107.8 points per 100 possessions for the season (24th in the NCAA) thanks to a blistering 64.5 percent shooting percentage from inside the arc (12th in the NCAA). They also rank 16th in the country in free throw rate at 55.6 percent.
On defense, the Tigers have limited opponents to just 89.8 points per 100 possessions (35th in the NCAA) through their first two games. Auburn ramped up its defensive efforts in their last game against Davidson, limiting the Wildcats to just 8-for-27 shooting from inside the arc and forcing 16 turnovers in the win.
Ajayi powers Jaguars to win vs. Southern MissSouth Alabama defeated Southern Mississippi 75-69 for their second win of the season on Saturday. Josh Ajayi led all scorers with a game-high 30 points and seven rebounds while Andre Fox had 16 points and Trhae Mitchell added 12 for the Jaguars, who turned the ball over only nine times in the win.
Riley’s squad comes into Tuesday’s matchup ranked No. 123 in the latest KenPom rankings. The Jaguars were the preseason favorite to win the Sun Belt Conference and feature an experienced roster that added a trio of D-I transfers this offseason. South Alabama comes in scoring only 101.1 points per 100 possessions (116th in the NCAA) and allowing 97.7 points per 100 possessions on the defensive end of the floor (133rd in the NCAA) through their first two games. However, they’ve excelled in one key area: the turnover battle.
South Alabama has been very disciplined with the basketball so far this season. They’ve turned the ball over on only 13.3 percent of their offensive possessions (30th in the NCAA) while forcing their opponents to cough up the basketball 25.2 percent of the time on the defensive end of the floor (39th in the NCAA).
- Jaguars are 10-3-1 ATS in their last 14 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Jaguars are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 home games.
- Jaguars are 34-16-2 ATS in their last 52 games following an ATS loss.