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NCAAB Game Preview: Auburn vs. Tennessee - 3/17/2019 - 1:00 PM EST
Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2019 by CapperTekSEO
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NCAAB Game Preview: Auburn vs. Tennessee - Date: 3/17/2019 Mar 17, 2019No. 8 Tennessee and No. 22 Auburn are understandably leg-weary, always a concern just before the NCAA Tournament launches, but the two SEC tournament survivors are treating Sunday's championship game as both a mental and physical test before the bigger challenges ahead.Tennessee (29-4) overcame an eight-point deficit in the final 2:58 on Saturday to defeat No. 4 Kentucky 82-78 in one semifinal. Fifth-seeded Auburn (25-9) used its trademark 3-point shooting and quick hands on defense to defeat Florida 65-62 in the other.Sunday's game in Nashville, Tenn., will be the fourth in four days for the Tigers, who defeated Missouri, South Carolina and the Gators since Thursday. Sports Handicappers Rankings. The third-seeded Volunteers beat Mississippi State and the Wildcats over the previous two days."I would imagine that fatigue will be a factor," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. "We pride ourselves on playing our bench. Nine guys played double-digit minutes (against Florida)." Pearl said guard Jared Harper, who hit the critical 3-pointer with 12.2 seconds left and scored 20 points in the victory over Florida, guard Bryce Brown and forward Chuma Okeke would likely play "heavy minutes" against Tennessee and thus might be a bit tired, but "I think the rest of them are going to be okay." Brown has averaged 37 minutes over the last three days, followed by Harper (32) and Okeke (24)."We'll be playing a team that has a chance to play in a Final Four," Pearl said. "We're playing a top five team for the SEC championship, so, without question, it will require our greatest effort." Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said he believes the SEC will have seven teams qualify for the NCAA tourney, and there is an outside shot the Volunteers could earn a No. 1 seed.Barnes said his team will have to shift its defensive focus to contain Auburn's prolific 3-point shooting. Sports Touts. The Tigers made 13 of 29 3-pointers against Florida, which allowed them to overcome the Gators' 60.5 percent shooting."(We have to) just play them as a team that is going to shoot 30 threes," Barnes said. (They are) a team that can really get going. Winning Picks. The fact is, they're a very difficult team to defend. They drive the ball really, really hard. We know that. We know they're going to drive, pass, pass. They're a very unselfish basketball team." Auburn defeated Tennessee at home 84-80 last Saturday."We had a tough game with them down there," Barnes said. "We'll have to get ready. Another quick turnaround for us. But it's a team, much more perimeter-oriented team compared to a team like Kentucky that's trying to take it to you inside." Barnes said the slugfest against Kentucky impressed one of his assistants, who told him as they were walking down the hallway, "That's the greatest game I've ever been involved in." "It was a great game because it was two teams going at each other," Barnes said. "They made a push, we made a push. It was what everybody would expect from two teams that had really a great year, nice year. It was great." Barnes said his team would not be overlooking Auburn with the NCAAs on the horizon. The Volunteers have not won an SEC tournament championship since 1979."This time of year, you play these tournaments, and you don't get a lot of chances to play for championships," Barnes said. "When you do, you have to hope you can take advantage of it." --Field Level Media


Game Preview from The Associated Press (AP).

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.

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