By Adam Brown
Ole Miss travels over to the Plains on Wednesday to tangle with the Auburn Tigers. The tipoff is set for 8 p.m. and can be seen on the SEC Network.
Ole Miss (10-17, 2-12 SEC) is coming off a 69-61 overtime loss to in-state rival Mississippi State on Saturday. The Rebels were led by Jaemyn Brakefield with 20 points and eight rebounds. Brakefield was joined in double-figure scoring by Matthew Murrell (15) and Myles Burns (10).
This season, Burns has pulled in a total of 166 boards and averages 6.1 per night. He also been a defensive powerhouse for the red and blue with 60 steals.
As a team the Rebels are averaging 36.3 boards per game to their opponents 34.7.
Auburn sits in fifth in the most recent SEC standings with an overall record of 18-9, going 8-6 during conference games. After opening the season with eight-straight wins, the Tigers went 2-2 to take a 10-2 record into their SEC opener. Auburn picked up wins over Florida and Arkansas and lost to Georgia before defeating Ole Miss in Oxford. Between their games with the Rebels, Auburn went 5-6 with wins over Mississippi State, LSU, South Carolina, Georgia, and Missouri. The Tigers are most recently coming off a close loss to Vanderbilt 67-65 on February 18.
Johni Broome has been the leader for Auburn all season, as they currently own a team-best average of 14.0 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game. Over their last five games, Broome is averaging 15.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per outing, including a pair of double-doubles against Texas A&M and Missouri. Broome ranks second in the conference with nine double-doubles on the year, also among the best in the SEC in blocks (3rd, 61), total rebounds (2nd, 231), and rebounds per game (2nd, 8.9). Wendell Green Jr. has also been a key contributor for the Tigers this year, averaging 4.3 assists per game (3rd in SEC) and 1.7 steals per game (8th in SEC).
Three of the best four teams in the nation at defending the three-point shot are in the SEC, one of which is Auburn, who ranks third in the conference and fourth in the country with an opponent shooting percentage of 27.5% from deep. The Tigers also rank second in the SEC and ninth in the NCAA in blocks per game at 5.4. They also rank among the best in field goal percentage defense (39.2%, No. 11 NCAA), offensive rebounds per game (12.3, No. 29 NCAA), rebounds per game (37.8, No. 37 NCAA), scoring defense (64.8, No. 47 NCAA), and free throw attempts per game (20.6, No. 57 NCAA).
When the Rebels and Tigers put the ball in the air it will be the 145th all-time matchup and the second time this season. Auburn came away with a 82-73 win in Oxford back in January.