USF vs. Auburn Preview: Or Somebody Has to Win This Game

If you need to make yourself feel better about having one of the worst Big Six basketball programs out there this year, take solace in the fact that Auburn is a whole lot worse than we are. The Tigers are 3-5 so far this season, with losses to teams like UNC-Asheville, Samford, and Campbell. It's been so bad for Auburn this year that our sister site Track Em Tigers hasn't even talked about the team at all this season. I don't really blame them with the way their football team has been playing this season, but its still very telling that they don't even bother with the squad.

Auburn does have a couple of quality players that Bulls fans should watch out for though. First is Sophomore Andre Malone, who leads the Tigers with 13.3 points a game. The 6'5 guard also chips in 3.9 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal a game. From just looking at the stat sheet this season, Malone likes to camp out at the three point line. Half of Malone's shots this season are from three, and he is accurate from from long range, hitting 46% of his attempts so far this season.

Next up is another 6'5 Sophomore guard Earnest Ross. Ross is the only other Tiger scoring in double figures, averaging 11.3 points a contest. He gets in the lane a little more than Malone, but will still shoot 4 threes a game, even though he only makes one a contest. Ross also leads the team with an impressive 7.5 rebounds a game, which is insane for a guy his size. Ross does turn the ball over a couple times a game, so Jawanza or Hugh should take advantage of that.

Their most consistent big man is the fantastically named Rob Chubb, who is 3rd on the team with 8.3 ppg. Chubb is also 3rd on the team in rebounds, grabbing 5.1 a contest. He's your classic 6'10 stiff who will get a couple of baskets, so Ron Anderson Jr., and Jarrid Famous shouldn't have a problem with him. The only other post worth mentioning is Kenny Gabriel, who averages 7.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks a game. Gabriel had a great game against Rutgers this weekend, going for 18 points, including 3-5 from three, so I wouldn't be surprised if Gabriel started tonight over Chubb.

So what should we expect tonight? Vegas has us as a 12 point favorite tonight, and KenPom has us winning by about that much too. I'd expect it to be a little bit closer that that, but even without Augustus Gilchrist playing due to "philosophical differences" (we will get into that a little later), the Bulls should get a much needed win tonight in Tampa.

Bulls win 65-57.

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