Why UCF is not your typical midweek non-conference game for Auburn basketball
The post-Thanksgiving home slate usually lends itself to tune-up games. That won't be the case in Auburn's first game back from the Bahamas.
PF Jabari Smith (Jacob Taylor/Auburn Athletics)
One year ago, almost to the day, Auburn basketball had a rough night against UCF.
The Tigers followed up a 23-point loss to No. 1 Gonzaga with a 63-55 road loss to the Knights in Orlando. The scoreline actually flattered Auburn, which averaged just 0.72 points per possession.
“Last year, UCF probably guarded us as well as anybody, all year long. We shot 32 percent, 21 percent from the 3,” Bruce Pearl said Tuesday afternoon, before transitioning to a quick, self-deprecating joke. “Of course, they defended us well from the foul line, too, as we shot 36 percent.”
Auburn finished that loss to UCF with an effective field goal percentage of 37.9%, which was the lowest for the program in a non-conference game since its second-round NCAA Tournament loss to Clemson in 2018. It turned the ball over 22 times.
But these Tigers will be out to prove Wednesday night that they’re different, especially in front of their home fans inside Auburn Arena.