The Tigers have won four straight over the Blazers dating back to 1998, including the last two in the current four game series
UAB has been on a rival winning streak having beat Memphis and Troy the last two weeks, so it’s only fitting that we test the good fortune against another in-state “rival” for this Saturday at Auburn.
The Tigers are 7-1 this season and 4-0 at home. Their lone loss came against a top 50 Temple team at the Charleston Classic on November 17.
Auburn has been cruising early on in this season behind a schedule loaded with solid mid-majors. The Tigers have beaten top 200 Indiana St., Hofstra, Winthrop, Dayton (on the road), and George Mason with UAB, Middle Tennessee, and Murray State coming up before conference play. I gotta give Pearl credit, this is a very manageable and challenging way to get your team ready for SEC play.
In the Tiger’s loss to Temple they led through 3/4 of the game before the Owls exploded with 34 points in the final 10 minutes. Yes, they scored 3.4 points per minute to end the game. It was wild.
It’s no secret that Auburn was in the middle of a huge bribery scandal before the beginning of the season that led to future lottery pick Austin Wiley and all-conference player Danjel Purifoy being suspended indefinitely. You’d think losing two huge pieces like that would slow down the Tigers down, but that’s far from reality. Auburn is absolutely loaded and significantly deeper and more versatile than the team we saw in Birmingham last season. Auburn is the best team UAB will see during the regular season.
Scouting The Tigers
I really don’t even know where to start with this Auburn team because they are just ridiculously loaded and arguably should be ranked in the top 25. In Wednesday night’s win over Gardner-Webb they hit 13 three-pointers with eight of those coming from forwards who are 6-foot-6 or taller. Remember their freshman point guard Jared Harper who roasted us last season? He had 10 assists Wednesday night and doesn’t even have to look for his shot this year. WOOF.
By the numbers, sophomore guard and former five-star recruit Mustapha Heron is co-leading the team in points averaging 15.9 points per game along with junior guard Bryce Brown who has hit 23 3-pointers this season. Auburn is 78-206 from behind the arc compared to UAB’s 57-177.
Auburn has five players averaging double figures, and they regularly go nine and 10 deep into their bench each game.
Of the reserves, freshman forward Chuma Okeke has caught my eye as one of the most versatile and dynamic freshman in college basketball. At 6-foot-8 and 230 pounds, he is a serious threat from behind the arc and he is deadly off the dribble. He’ll be in contention for many freshman SEC honors, as well as possibly the conference’s sixth man of the year.
We’ll likely see a starting five of Mustapha Heron, Jared Harper, Bryce Brown, Anfernee McLemore, and DeSean Murray on Saturday. Heron, Harper, and Brown all started for Auburn last year against UAB. McLemore has become one of the best rim protecting players in the country in his sophomore season as he now has 30 blocks on the year. In comparison, William Lee has 15. Murray is a their stud transfer guard from Presbyterian who Auburn just conveniently ended up with. He dropped 20 on Gardner-Webb last night.
Three Keys to Victory for UAB
- Hope and pray they collectively have the worst shooting night of the season.
- Ask the NCAA if Wiley and Purifoy can play for us.
- Play a perfect game in all aspects and hope they play their C-game.