Photo by Jason Caldwell

Bruce Pearl Says MTSU's Defense Will Challenge His Auburn Basketball Tigers

The Auburn basketball team will take on a defensive-oriented opponent on Saturday in Nashville.

Tyler Harris (above) is averaging 17 points and a team-leading 8.0 rebounds for the Tigers.

Auburn, Ala.--Bruce Pearl’s basketball team is scoring an average of 90.2 points per game, but the Auburn  coach notes that his Tigers will be challenged to put the ball in the basket vs. Middle Tennessee State.

The Tigers and Blue Raiders will play at noon CST on Saturday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. Auburn is 4-1 while MTSU brings a 5-2 record into the contest.

“MTSU defensively is really good,” says Pearl. “They have some great numbers. If you look at what (Coach) Kermit Davis has done against SEC teams historically, if you look at what they have done in conference play over the last four or five years, if you look at what they have done in Conference USA over the last two years, they are really good.”

The Blue Raiders are allowing opponents to score an average of 66 points per contest and limiting them to a field goal percentage of 44.2. Auburn is hit 48.7 percent of its shots.

“One of our better wins last year was against MTSU here,” Pearl said of Auburn’s 64-48 victory at Auburn Arena. “Their magic number is 60 in a sense that when they score 60 they are 72-12 over the last four plus years.

“The reason why I talk about what we are going to do defensively is because defensively they are very good,” Pear adds. “They have held their last couple of opponents (VCU and South Alabama), who are both really good teams, to 32 percent field goal percentage shooting and 29 percent from three.

“They are a good team and it is a good next step for us. I told our guys that the progression is going to be, Coastal (Carolina) and then MTSU, Mercer and Xavier. This is a stretch where teams are going to be getting better as we continue to move on and hopefully so are we.”

Saturday’s game will not be televised, but will be streamed at this link:

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