Florida State (8-4) at Auburn (5-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 2, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Auburn Arena (9,600) -- Auburn, Alabama. Television: FSN. Home Record: FSU 4-4, Auburn 4-3. Away Record: FSU 1-0, Auburn 0-1. Neutral Record: FSU 3-0, Auburn 1-3. Conference Record: FSU 0-0, Auburn 0-0. Series Record: Auburn leads, 22-8.
GAME NOTES: The Florida State Seminoles will attempt to win their season-best fifth straight game on Wednesday night when they head out on the road to take on the Auburn Tigers.
These two programs have met in each of the past two seasons with the home team winning each matchup. With regard to the all-time series, Auburn holds a 22-8 advantage.
Florida State came into this season with high expectations and a spot in the Top-25, but after a 4-1 start it slid back to .500 with a three-game losing streak. Since then however, the Seminoles have won four in a row, most recently dismissing Tulsa on a neutral floor last Saturday, 83-63.
The 'Noles were fantastic in their latest outing, shooting 46 percent from the floor while generating second-chance scoring opportunities by outrebounding Tulsa by a 44-32 margin. Michael Snaer showed why he is one of the ACC's most dangerous guards by tallying 19 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals, while Terrance Shannon came off the bench to record 16 points and 10 boards. Okaro White added 12 points, five rebounds and two blocks, while Devon Bookert chipped in 10 points on a perfect night from the field (4-of-4).
Auburn's streakiness this season has resulted in more ups than downs on its way to a 5-7 record. The Tigers were able to bounce back from a four-game losing streak by winning three straight in mid-December, but since then they have dropped back-to-back games at home against Winthrop (74-67) and in a heartbreaker to nationally-ranked Illinois last Saturday, 81-79.
The Tigers trailed the Illini by as many as 11 in the second half, but they were able to keep the game close throughout, even getting the deficit to just one possession on a few occasions, but they could not complete the comeback. They can still hang their hat on an impressive performance on the road against one of the nation's elite teams, as they shot 48.3 percent from the field, including 11-of-23 from 3-point range. Frankie Sullivan led the way with 21 points, Allen Payne notched a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Rob Chubb netted 13 points in the setback.
On the season, Florida State has shown impressive balance by shooting 45.4 percent from the field (including 38.9 percent from long range) for 74 ppg while holding teams to just 66.9 ppg. Snaer has been less than stellar from the floor (.390), but he still leads the squad in scoring at 16.1 ppg thanks to solid showings from beyond the arc (.407) and the foul line (.814). White (13.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.2 bpg) and Shannon (9.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg) have been quality assets in the paint.
Auburn's offensive output hasn't been what it had hoped for this year, making a modest 42.6 percent of its field goal attempts for 68.2 ppg, but it still scores more points per game than its opponents by being strong on the glass (plus-3.6 rebounding margin) and winning the turnover battle (plus-0.8 turnover margin). Similar to Snaer, Sullivan is able to lead his team in scoring despite sporting a lackluster field goal percentage (.402). After missing the first seven games, Chris Denson's return to the lineup has been a huge boost to the Tigers, as he's averaging 15.2 ppg on greater than 52 percent accuracy from the floor.
Auburn showed in its latest game that, even on the road, it has the ability to compete with just about anyone, meaning that a return home could result in a positive outcome for this squad. Still, after digging itself out of a hole, Florida State appears to be playing at its full potential, and it should be able to play well enough to capture a solid road win here.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Florida State 73, Auburn 69
01/02 10:34:03 ET