Barbee, Fortner Looking for SEC Victories

The Auburn men's and women's basketball teams return to action with Sunday afternoon Southeastern Conference games.

Auburn, Ala.--Coach Tony Barbee's Auburn Tigers will be on the road Sunday at Mississippi State looking for their first SEC victory of the season while Nell Fortner's Auburn women's basketball team will be at home hoping for victory number four in league play.

Tipoff for Auburn's men's basketball game at Mississippi State has been re-set for 2 p.m. CST at Humphrey Coliseum where the Tigers will face a team that is 1-1 in league play and 9-7 overall. Auburn is 7-9 overall and 0-2 in SEC games.

Fortner's Tigers will be tipping off at the exact same time as the men. Auburn will play host to LSU at the Auburn Arena. The Tigers are 3-1 in SEC play and 10-7 overall. LSU is 2-2 in the SEC and 12-6 overall.

Mississippi State had lost five of its previous six games prior to winning at Ole Miss on Thursday night. Coach Rick Stansbury's Bulldogs feature four starters with scoring averages higher than Auburn's top scorer, Earnest Ross, who is at 12.3 points per contest.

Dee Bost, who was suspended from the pre-conference schedule, is back and is one of the top guards in the SEC. He is averaging 19.5 points and 6.5 assists per game to lead Mississippi State. Ravern Johnson, a 6-7 senior guard, is scoring 18.3 points per contest.

Inside the Bulldogs feature 6-10, 270 Renardo Sidney, who averages 14.3 points and 5.8 rebounds along with 6-8 Kodi Augustus, a senior who is scoring 12.7 points while pulling down a team-leading 8.7 rebounds per contest.

"Mississippi State is a much different team than they were at the beginning of the year," Barbee says. "They have Bost back at the point guard position and Sidney is starting to get into shape so it makes them a very dangerous team in our conference this year. We are going to have our hands full. It will be a big challenge, and we look forward to that challenge."

Shooting guard Frankie Sullivan, who provided a lift for the Tigers by coming back early from ACL surgery, has played in six games and started four. However, Sullivan has been sidelined during the two SEC games and is listed as "day to day" health-wise by Barbee, who will not say when he expects the junior back in the lineup.

Frankie Sullivan's shooting ability has been a plus for the Tigers.

The game at Humphrey Coliseum will be televised by Fox Sports Net.

The Auburn women are coming into their game vs. LSU following an 85-73 home victory over Ole Miss. It was the team's highest point total vs. an SEC team since the 2008-2009 season when Auburn won the league championship. Sophomore Blanche Alverson led the Tigers with a career-high 27 points vs. Ole Miss. Senior Jordan Greenleaf added 15 points.

"Blanche and Jordan are shooting the ball so well right now and they are more familiar and comfortable with what we are doing offensively," Fortner said. "They are taking good shots within our offense and knocking them down."

There is a ceramic mug giveaway for the first 500 fans at the Auburn Arena on Sunday and the halftime entertainment is by the popular act, Quick Change. The game will be televised on CSS.

Off to a slow start vs. a strong non-conference schedule, Auburn is trying to make a run to position itself for an NCAA Tournament bid. The Tigers will be an NCAA Tournament host this year.


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