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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 23, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Gymnasium (14,316) -- Nashville, Tennessee. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Auburn 6-4, Vanderbilt 4-4. Away Record: Auburn 1-2, Vanderbilt 2-2. Neutral Record: Auburn 1-3, Vanderbilt 1-3. Conference Record: Auburn 2-2, Vanderbilt 1-3. Series Record: Vanderbilt leads, 82-51.
GAME NOTES: The Auburn Tigers and the Vanderbilt Commodores are set for an SEC showdown on Wednesday night when the two squads square off at Memorial Gymnasium in Nashville.
Auburn is in the midst of a two-game losing streak, which has dropped it below .500 overall (8-9) and to an even 2-2 in SEC action. It had been winners of six of its previous eight matchups, which was highlighted by a 78-72 home win over Florida State earlier this month.
The Tigers most recently hosted Kentucky last Saturday and found themselves on the wrong end of a 75-53 decision. They could not find a rhythm offensively, as they shot just 34.8 percent from the floor, which included misses on all 15 of their 3-point attempts. Despite scoring just 53 points, four players managed to finish in double figures, led by Rob Chubb with 14 points to go with seven rebounds. Frankie Sullivan added 12 points on just 5-of-16 shooting, while Allen Payne and Asauhn Dixon-Tatum chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Vanderbilt has constructed a similarly up-and-down season, as it sits with a 7-9 record. It had lost its first three SEC contests before it defeated South Carolina on the road last Saturday, 58-51.
Although the Commodores actually had more turnovers (18) than field goals (16) in their last game, they were able to hang on for the seven-point victory by playing outstanding defense, as they held the Gamecocks to just 14-of-59 from the field (.237). They were also saved by a solid night at the foul line, where they converted 20-of-33 attempts. Kyle Fuller led the way with 12 points off the bench, while Dai-Jon Parker tacked on 11 points, five rebounds and three assists.
The Commodores have won six straight games against Auburn to take an 82-51 lead in the all-time series.
It's no surprise that Auburn is hovering around .500 when analyzing its stats, as it puts up similar offensive number (.429 FG percentage, 68.9 ppg) to those of its opponents (.422, 67.0 ppg). Sullivan has been the team's catalyst, ranking second in the SEC in scoring with 17.4 ppg, although his field goal percentage hasn't been much to write home about (.395). Chubb is a sturdy force in the paint area with 10.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg, and nearly a block per contest, while Payne adds 8.6 ppg and 4.9 rpg to the mix.
Vanderbilt has been able to win games thanks to a scoring defense that allows just 60.6 ppg, but it hasn't been able to graduate past mediocrity due to a poor offense that ranks last in the SEC in field goal percentage (.406), free throw percentage (.572), and points per game (59.0). One of the few steady producers on the team is Kedren Johnson, who nets 15.1 ppg on 44.1 percent from the field. Fuller chips in 10.6 ppg and Rod Odom pours in 9.3 ppg, but neither shoot better than 40 percent from the field.
The Commodores haven't been able to wow anyone with their offensive output this season, but if they continue to play tight defense against a modest Auburn scoring attack, they should be able to squeak out a home victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Vanderbilt 59, Auburn 57
01/23 10:39:31 ET
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