When No. 11 Auburn tips off against No. 18 LSU tomorrow, there is more than just a tally in the win column on the line.
With LSU’s loss at Vanderbilt on Wednesday, tomorrow’s conference showdown inside Auburn Arena is now for first place in the SEC, and Bruce Pearl and company know they have their work cut out for them.
“Just when you think it can’t get any better than College GameDay and Kentucky, LSU comes in here and we’ve got a chance to play them for first place” Pearl said.
The fifth-year head coach acknowledged the challenge presented by the LSU starting five, headlined by SEC Player of the Year candidate Skylar Mays and former five-star, power forward Emmitt Williams.
“LSU is the real deal," Pearl said. "They’ve got a terrific coach and real dudes. They’re 28 in the NET right now. They’ve won 24 of the last 27 SEC games. Last year, they were the SEC’s regular season champions. They’ve won six SEC games so far this year by four points or less. I think that’s attributed to Skylar Mays and who he is as a student-athlete and a great competitor. "
Mays, who is the senior leader for the Tigers, leads the team scoring 15.3 points per game and Williams is averaging just over 14 points and seven rebounds per game.
“They’ve probably got the best starting lineup, top to bottom, which makes for some real difficult matchups for us” Pearl said.
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
Pearl also mentioned that the Bayou Bengals will likely provide one of Auburn’s more physical games to this point, as neither team converts a large percentage of field goals.
“Both teams like to get to the basket and attack the rim, both teams rely on offensive rebounding, neither team is great from three, so it’s going to be difficult to score around the basket” Pearl said.
Pearl also knows his team will rely on the home crowd in a game with such magnitude and made a statement Friday afternoon to the students at Auburn University, telling them to come well-rested and prepared.
“There is a very unofficial 11:00 p.m. curfew for the Auburn students and the Jungle," Pearl said. "I need them there early."
The game will tipoff at 11:00 a.m. CST on ESPN.
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman