NCAA Tournament: (3) Auburn vs. (14) Charleston Preview

The Tigers play the Cougars tonight in San Diego, California. Auburn is coming off a loss to Alabama in the SEC Tournament, and Charleston is going into this contest as the CAA Champion.

This is the Tigers’ first tournament appearance since 2003. For the Cougars, they haven’t been dancing since 1999.

Auburn is favored to win this game, though the way Auburn has been playing, there may be an upset in store.

Auburn’s season has been quite successful considering the previous years. The Tigers were the regular season SEC Champions.

Putting previous seasons into account as well, this season was also outstanding for Charleston. The Cougars were CAA regular season and tournament champions.

Can Charleston Really Pull an Upset?

The answer is: yes. The Cougars are good. Auburn has been in a slump in the past six games.

The Tigers are not hot, though don’t be surprised if Auburn ends up starting this game on fire after the week long rest.

One thing the Tigers will have to do this evening is score consistently. They have a top 15 scoring offense, at 83 points per game.

Since the Afernee McLemore injury, the Tigers are 2-4. Before this plummet, the Tigers only lost 3 contests in 26 games.

For Charleston, they don’t score near as much as Auburn. If the Cougars are going to pull the upset, one thing they’ll need to do is make stops, which will be extremely difficult.

Charleston will of course need to score, but staying solid on the defensive end for the entire game will increase their chances of scoring in the long run. One thing the Cougars will not want to do is get into a shootout with Auburn.

The big three of Charleston (Grant Riller, Joe Chealey, and Jarrell Brantley) will need to have giant games for the Cougars.

Prediction

The first half will likely be choppy for both programs. Neither will be able to stay consistent, though Auburn will probably get on a run late in the first half and be up 8-12 points at the half.

In the second half, the Cougars will go on a run late, and it will be close in the final three minutes.

Auburn will make some needed buckets and Charleston will collapse on the defensive end. The Tigers will advance to the round of 32.

The Cougars’ big three will end up having over 65 combined points despite the loss.

Auburn’s Mustapha Heron and Bryce Brown will have big games, though expect all of the Tigers’ starters to perform well.

DJ Khaled shoutout Auburn basketball on their tournament appearance at the iHeartRadio Music Awards on Sunday.

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Charles Barkley picked the Tigers to win their first round match up, though surprisingly picked New Mexico State to upset Clemson tonight and then defeating Auburn on Sunday.

 

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Tonight’s contest will be at Viejas Arena in San Diego, California. The game will be aired on TruTV at 7:27 ET.

The winner of this game will go on to play the winner of NMSU/Clemson in the second round on Sunday.

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