“Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War
The UAB Blazers and Auburn Tigers will meet in consecutive years for the first time since their eight game run from 92-93 to 99-00.
The Blazers own the advantage in the overall series 11-7, but the Tigers have won the last three in 1998, 1999 and 2015.
Bruce Pearl will bring an Auburn basketball team into Bartow Arena for the first time in more than 20 years. In 1996, Murry Bartow’s Blazers defeated Cliff Ellis’ Tigers 67-65 in his first year as head coach.
Scouting The Tigers
In Auburn’s first six games Bruce Pearl has used the same starting five in all but one game. In their 96-71 loss to Purdue in Mexico, senior guard Ronnie Johnson started in place of freshman guard Jared Harper.
If you attended or watched last year’s game against Auburn, erase any preconceived idea that this year’s team will resemble that one in any way. The 2016-17 squad will feature four players who were either not at Auburn yet or didn’t play.
In UAB’s 75-74 loss at Auburn last season TJ Lang and TJ Dunans both started and played 36 and 14 minutes respectively. The lone other current Tiger to play that night was then freshman Horace Spencer who had 5 points and 5 blocks with none being more important than the final shot of Chris Cokley’s to end the game.
3 Things To Watch For
- Auburn’s Pace – The Tigers play at an adjusted tempo of 75.5, which is 10th quickest in the country compared to UAB’s 70.9, which ranks 109. For perspective, Saint Mary’s runs the slowest tempo in the NCAA at 61.3. Auburn, like UAB, looks to push the pace and play in transition as opposed to setting up a slow developing half court offense. This should yield a very exciting game.
- Danjel Purifoy – Aside from Kentucky’s one-and-done players, Purifoy might be the most athletic and diverse skill set player in the SEC this year. You can’t stop Purifoy. You merely attempt to manage his dominance.
- Chris Cokley – Auburn does not have the interior pieces to shut down Cokley like Kansas did. The Tigers have struggled against post players on a few occasions through six games and Cokley is one of the most experienced they’ve faced yet.