The Tigers will try to split their basketball series with the Rebels this season after suffering a lopsided loss at Ole Miss in the first matchup. The Tigers fell 90-59 on Feb. 16th at Ole Miss in what was the team's worst performance in league play.
The Rebels come into the 7 p.m. contest at Auburn with an 18-11 overall record and a 6-8 mark in the SEC after defeating Alabama 68-63 on Saturday. That same day the Tigers fell 57-55 to Arkansas, a second straight loss by two points for an Auburn team that is 2-12 in the league and 9-19 overall
"We had a difficult time with them in Oxford," Barbee says of the Rebels. "They are a difficult matchup for us because they are so explosive offensively in basically every position.
"The trouble that (Reginald) Buckner and (Terrance) Henry caused at the rim for our offense because of their ability to block shots and change shots, it makes it difficult, but it is at home and our crowd will be electric, and we are looking forward to having the homecourt advantage," Barbee says.
Buckner is a 6-9 sophomore who is averaging 7.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and three blocks per game. Henry is a 6-10 junior who is averaging 9.0 points and 5.9 rebounds.
Chris Warren, a 5-10 senior guard, is the SEC's number two scorer at 19.0 points per game. He is dishing out 3.6 assists and leads the nation in free throw percentage at 93.7 percent.
The other starting guard for Coach Andy Kennedy's Rebels, Zach Graham, is likely excited about seeing the Tigers again. In the first game vs. Auburn this season he hit seven threes and scored a career-high 30 points. He is averaging 14.7 points and 4.5 rebounds.
Zach Graham is a six-foot-six, 210-pound guard for the Rebels.
Sophomore guard Earnest Ross continues to be Auburn's only player scoring 10 points or better per game. The 6-5, 215-pounder from Panther Creek High in Cary, N.C., is averaging 13.3 points and a team-leading 6.6 rebounds per contest.
Kenny Gabriel shoots for the Tigers vs. Alabama last Wednesday.
Junior forward Kenny Gabriel is scoring 9.8 points per game for the Tigers and averaging 5.6 rebounds.
Scoring continues to be a problem for Barbee's Tigers, who played well enough on defense to win at Alabama last Wednesday and at home vs. the Razorbacks on Saturday. "It has been our issue and our biggest weakness all year long," Barbee says.
The Auburn coach adds, "We have been playing well enough defensively to stay in games and give ourselves a chance to win at the end."
Freshman guard Chris Denson scored his season-high with 16 points in the first game vs. Ole Miss. A 19-5 run for the home team over the final 6:35 of the first half put the Rebels up 39-22 at intermission and the Tigers were not able to make a run to get back into the game.
Ole Miss shot 70 percent from the field in the second half to pull away for a lopsided victory. The Rebels finished the night hitting 56.8 percent of their field goals to 41.2 for the Tigers.
After playing Ole Miss the regular season will come to an end on Saturday as the Tigers travel to LSU.