Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#797 Davidson 145 vs.
#798 Auburn -3
Friday, November 8, 2019 at 6:00pm EST
Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn
Written by Benjamin Hayes

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W/L
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#797 Davidson University
#798 Auburn University
0-0
1-0
17-15-1
21-14-4
15-17-1
21-18
70
79
65
68

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Davidson takes on No. 24 Auburn in the Veterans Classic from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., on Friday at 6pmET. Davidson, who is returning five starters, will be playing their first game. Auburn is 1-0 after beating Georgia Southern, 83-74 on Nov. 5.

Sloppy start for the Tigers

Auburn shot 50% from the floor in their victory over Georgia Southern, but they turned the ball over 21 times and shot 7-of-22 (31.8%) from beyond the arc. Guard Isaac Okoro had a strong start with 12 points and five boards as the 6-6 freshman will be thrown into the fire right away.

"He has a chance to be the best defender in college basketball," said head coach Bruce Pearl in Blue Ribbon Magazine. "His matchup is not scoring. That's just like that guy's night's over. He can guard any position. He can guard one through five. He is quick enough to keep a guard in front of him. He is strong enough to guard any center."

The expectations are high this season for Pearl's squad, even though they lost three starters including Bryce Brown (15.9ppg), Jared Harper (15.3pp, 5.8apg) and Chuma Okee (12ppg, 6.8rpg).

The addition of Okoro along with the return of senior guards Samir Doughty (7.3ppg) and J'Von McCormick (4.1ppg) who combined for 29 points and seven assists on opening night is reason for optimism. However, both guards also combined for eight turnovers.

"It wasn't pretty, but we got the win," said senior center Austin Wiley (6-11, 260) on 247sports, who had 13 points but five turnovers. "We have got to do better at not turning the ball over and just rebounding the ball better. We are going to get back at it tomorrow in practice so we are going to be alright."

Wildcats looking for the upset

Davidson finished 24-10 last season and 14-4 in the Atlantic 10 and they return all five starters. Unfortunately, they didn't make the NCAA Tournament and wound up losing in the first round of the NIT. Bob McKillop is entering his 31st season and this certainly should be his best since the days of Stephen Curry. He returns junior wing Kellan Grady (17.3ppg, 34.1% 3pt) and Jon Axel Gudmudsson (16.9ppg, 7.3rpg, 4.8apg) along with Luke Frampton (10.3ppg). Grady had 26 points in Davidson's 102-94 exhibition win over Glenville State on Monday, while Frampton added 20 points and seven dimes.

Despite having so many quality scorers, the Wildcats averaged just 70.9 points per game last season. That was their lowest point total since 2001-02. They ranked 319th in adjusted tempo according to KenPom.com and 290th in average offensive possession length (18.5 seconds). The hope is that guard Mike Jones (6-4, 210) can give them a lift off the bench. He tore his ACL last season and wasn't ready to go full tilt to August. The Minnesota native can flat out shoot the ball.

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Auburn was extremely sloppy in their opener and they did not cover against Georgia Southern at home. Davidson is a better team than the Eagles with five returning starters. This is a team that beat Wichita State and Northwestern last season so they won't be intimidated. Even though they may want to run more, their slow tempo will help against the Tigers. They also have the size to compete up front with Wiley led by 6-10, 250-pound Luka Brajkovic, who averaged 11.1 points per game last season. This neutral site games can see strange games. This won't be a huge upset when the Wildcats get the win.

Prediction: Davidson +5.5

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I think the Wildcats will slow the tempo down and take time off the clock against the more athletic Tigers. Davidson averaged 70 points per game last season and went under in four of their last six. Auburn is certainly an over team until they face a slow-tempo squad. That happened in the NCAA Tournament semifinals when they meet Virginia and were held to 62 points. Tough loss but fast tempo teams hate to play slow. Go under.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Benjamin Hayes

Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!