Auburn Tigers vs. Georgia Bulldogs Pick & Prediction MARCH 9th 2024

As No. 13 Auburn heads into the regular-season finale against a heavy underdog in Georgia, it still will be work-now-rest-later mode for the Tigers when they host the Bulldogs on Saturday.

Auburn (23-7, 12-5 Southeastern Conference) enters the contest in a four-way tie for second place in conference. And while Tennessee already has clinched the regular-season SEC title, the Tigers can clinch a top-four spot in the conference standings with a victory Saturday.

The top four seeds earn a bye into the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament next week. That not only would give Auburn an extra day of rest, but it would prevent a scenario in which it would need to win four games in four days to claim the tourney title.

If Georgia wants to know what’s coming Saturday, look no further than Auburn’s 101-74 victory at Missouri on Tuesday. The Tigers had five players score in double figures, led by Johni Broome (17), Chad Baker-Mazara (15) and Jaylin Williams (15).

“I thought that our defense turned up in the second half,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said after his team scored 57 points over the final 20 minutes. “I thought we played more unselfishly offensively in the second half. We only had six assists in the first half and finished with 16. Great balance. … We play our best when everybody contributes. That was really positive.”

It was Auburn’s fourth game this season with at least 100 points. All 23 of the Tigers’ wins have been by a double-digit scoring margin, the most of any team in the nation.

Auburn has won three of its past four games with the run starting after a 97-76 road victory over Georgia on Feb. 24. The lone defeat in that stretch was a 92-84 road setback to No. 4 Tennessee on Feb. 28.

Georgia (16-14, 6-11) is in danger of a bottom-four spot in the SEC standings. That would create a first-round matchup in the conference tournament Wednesday, leaving the Bulldogs with the prospect of winning five games in five days, which is their only hope of landing an NCAA Tournament berth.

The Bulldogs ended a three-game losing streak on Tuesday with a 69-66 victory over Ole Miss in their home finale. Noah Thomasson scored a team-best 15 points while Russel Tchewa had 11 points and 10 rebounds with a season-high five assists. Dylan James had 10 points and nine rebounds.

Georgia won while shooting just 19.0 percent from 3-point range. They shot 43.9 percent overall, won the rebounding battle 39-30 and had a 36-22 advantage on points in the paint.

Tchewa scored inside with 22 seconds remaining for a 67-63 lead and Ole Miss was off target on three consecutive shots in an eight-second stretch.

“That was a quality SEC win after going 4 of 21 from 3,” Georgia head coach Mike White said. “I mean, you can win games like that. We haven’t won a lot of games like that, especially against the power five teams or high major opponents. To win it in that fashion is a really good teaching moment for our guys and for this program moving forward.”

–Field Level Media

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