The Tigers improved to 9-3 with a 78-75 comeback victory over Georgia Southern on Friday night. Barbee has generally not been pleased with his team's defense this season, but he says there was progress made in Auburn's last outing.
"Our defense got better and went on a pretty good size run late," he says. "It is our next to last non-conference game, and it is imperative that we get a chance to get 10 wins on the season. It is a huge game because we then have to go back-to-back road games for the week.
"It should be exciting, and I hope to see some more progression," the coach adds. "We tried to get Noel (Johnson) a little bit more into the rotation. I think we have seen the emergence of Josh Langford a little bit more. He is playing well. Rob Chubb is doing what he does. For us to be successful, he has to perform."
Johnson, a transfer from Clemson, has been trying to recover from a wrist injury.
Chubb led the Tigers with 21 points vs. Georgia Southern to push his scoring average back into double figures at 10.8 points game joining Frankie Sullivan (12.8), Kenny Gabriel (11.9) and Varez Ward (10.8) in the starting lineup along with reserve Chris Denson, who is averaging 10.7 points.
Anthony Breeze, a 6-5, 230 senior guard, leads the visiting Wildcats. The transfer from Appalachian State is averaging 12.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Bethune-Cookman starts a small lineup featuring four guards and a six-foot-six forward Garrius Holloman, who is averaging 10.1 points and 6.3 rebounds.
Auburn leads the series 2-0 with the last meeting a 61-46 game in 2008.
Bethune-Cookman is 1-0 in the MEAC this season. The Wildcats have not played since a Dec. 23rd 67-59 loss to Tennessee Tech.