The Tigers, coming off two comeback wins, face off against the Georgia Bulldogs Thursday at noon in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome.
Head coach Tony Barbee said even though his team has struggled this season, he thinks the Tigers will surprise some people in the tournament.
“Well, even though we have come back and won the last two, we’ve kind of done this all year long.,” Barbee said.
“We’ve manufactured some big comebacks. I know this, there are a lot of teams in the conference that are heading to Atlanta saying ‘I hope we don’t match up with that Auburn team.’”
The Bulldogs (20–1, 9–7 SEC) enter the tournament following a 65–57 loss to Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Georgia leads the overall series between the two teams 88–87.
The last meeting between the two teams, held Feb. 5 in Athens, Ga., the Bulldogs pulled away an 81–72 overtime win.
An Auburn-Georgia game holds the record for the longest SEC tournament game.
It took four overtimes for Auburn to defeat Georgia March 1, 1979, the first year of the SEC tournament since 1952.
Auburn is 23–30 (.434) in the SEC tournament since its renewal in 1979.
The Tigers’ only conference title came in 1985 when Auburn won four games in four days, the first team to accomplish that feat.
The winner of Thursday’s game will face western division champion Alabama in the SEC quarterfinals at noon Friday.
In its previous two games against LSU and Ole Miss, the Tigers have overcome double-digit deficits to produce a victory.
Junior forward Kenny Gabriel said such wins make the team dangerous going into the tournament.
“I think it is because we play with a lot of confidence now, and everyone is just feeding off of each other,” Gabriel said. “We are just playing off confidence and emotion and we can just play good basketball.”