Missouri Tigers vs. Auburn Tigers Pick & Prediction MARCH 5th 2024

No. 13 Auburn appears to be hitting its offensive stride with the postseason just around the corner.

The Tigers posted a 97-76 victory at Georgia on Feb. 24, put up a strong showing in their 92-84 loss at No. 4 Tennessee last Wednesday and then defeated defensive-minded Mississippi State 78-63 on Saturday.

Auburn (22-7, 11-5 Southeastern Conference) hopes to continue that trend when it faces struggling Missouri (8-21, 0-16) on Tuesday night in Columbia, Mo.

“Coach has been saying recently, this is the time to get hot,” said Auburn forward Johni Broome, who leads the team in scoring (16.3 points per game) and rebounding (8.6).

“It’s time to make a run. We don’t plan on losing no more. We got two more games, then the SEC tournament, then March Madness. So we don’t want to lose any more games. It’s time to get hot, so let’s get hot.”

Auburn shot 9-for-19 from 3-point range against the Bulldogs. Guard Denver Jones hit 3 of 5 shots from beyond the arc while scoring 15 points, his second-highest point total of the season.

“I think about our conversations about this team this summer, on the heels of last year’s team that didn’t shoot it very well,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “We all thought this was a good shooting team. We all did. My emphasis on the guys right now: It’s March. It’s time to make shots, not take shots. Guys have been putting in the work, and that’s what it takes to win.”

Auburn’s depth took a hit when guard Lior Berman sustained a torn ACL against Mississippi State.

“Just so disappointed for him because he knew that we were very committed to him being in the rotation for the rest of the year,” Pearl said. “So I’m a little down about that.”

On the plus side, power forward Jaylin Williams returned to the starting lineup for the first time since suffering a knee injury against Kentucky on Feb. 17. He scored 10 points and blocked two shots vs. Mississippi State.

Injury-depleted Missouri is coming off an 84-78 setback to Ole Miss on Saturday, marking its 16th straight loss. Missouri whittled a 21-point deficit to two with 1:45 to play before running out of steam.

Guard Sean East II, who averages a team-best 17.5 points per game, scored 27 against the Rebels. He has 20 or more points in his five games since returning from a knee contusion.

But Missouri lacks scoring depth after losing wing players Caleb Grill, John Tonje and Kaleb Brown to season-ending injuries. Center Connor Vanover missed the Ole Miss game with concussion-like symptoms.

“When you look at our stat sheet, you have four primary scorers, and then it drops all the way to two points (per game),” Missouri coach Dennis Gates said. “Well, that’s what injuries provide. It takes away not just one guy, not just two guys, but three primary guys who I know for a fact would be higher than that drop-off.

“So you’re asking guys to do something different than what we’ve trained the entire summer to do, but also what we’ve done throughout the year.”

–Field Level Media

Docsports, The most trusted name in sports handicapping