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Auburn Preview, Part 2

Amid what has been a very tumultuous week for me, I completely overlooked that Wednesday was Senior Night for Garrett Temple, Marcus Thornton, Chris Johnson, Quintin Johnson, and Terry Martin.  Five seniors, all of whom are in our regular 8-player rotation.  This senior class will be missed.

Garrett Temple seems to be in his 9th year of eligibility.  He's been point guard, shooting guard, and small forward at various times in his career.  He started on a Final Four team, and was the point guard on a team that finished last in the SEC.

Now they get their last regular season game, though their season will go on.  Despite the fact that this team has already won the SEC, this is actually a somewhat important game for LSU.  We're coming off our first loss in a long time and we want to get back on track in time for post-season.

It's also a HUGELY important game for Auburn.  All of a sudden, Auburn finds themselves on the bubble of an NCAA tournament bid.  How did this happen?  For one, with LSU's loss, they're now the hottest team in the conference, winners of 7 of their last 8.  They're now 9-6 in the conference, in 4th place.  For another, the late-season collapses of both Kentucky and Florida, both seemingly safe bets to make the Tournament a couple weeks ago, has put both of them into very difficult positions at 8-7 in the conference.

The SEC is looking like a 4-bid conference right now, and Kentucky and Florida play each other in their season finales.  The winner goes to 9-7 in the conference.  The loser goes to 8-8.  The loser is out unless there's a conference tournament run.  The winner might be out without a run also.  Auburn, with a win against LSU, would be one game ahead of those teams in the conference and would be ending the season very very strong.  Auburn should like their odds of getting in with a win against LSU, so they will be highly motivated.

Auburn's a pretty likable team actually.  They're kind of LSU-lite, I think.  They aren't overly talented.  They lack size.  But they're well-coached and they never give up on a game.  They were down to Alabama by 13 in the second half and came back to win on Tuesday.  Their emergence seems to coincide with guard Tay Waller getting hot from 3-point range.  They don't present us any great matchup problems like Vandy did, but we don't really give them any matchup problems either.  I think we just have to go out and play our game and get back on track.