One More Time: Auburn Will Meet Missouri Again in the Opening Round of the SEC Basketball Tournament

Auburn will be in Nashville to play in the opening round of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament on Wednesday night.

Danjel Purifoy (above) is averaging 11.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.

Auburn, Ala.--Looking to enhance their chances of receiving a bid to the National Invitational Tournament, the 18-13 Auburn Tigers will try to defeat Missouri for the third time this season as the teams meet on Wednesday night in the SEC Basketball Tournament in Nashville.

Tipoff time is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. CST in Bridgestone Arena with television coverage on the SEC Network. Radio coverage is on XM 191 and Sirius 113.

Auburn, which finished the regular season with a 7-11 league mark, will take on a Missouri team that is 7-23 overall and 2-16 in the SEC.

Coach Bruce Pearl’s Tigers contributed to Missouri’s struggles with a 77-72 victory on Jan. 10th in Columbia and last Saturday the teams concluded the regular season as Auburn won 89-78 on Senior Day.

Following that contest Missouri announced that it is replacing Coach Kim Anderson, a 1979 Mizzou graduate, following the end of its season, which Pearl hopes happens on Wednesday night.

“We are excited about going up to Nashville and playing what is going to be a very competitive SEC Tournament,” Auburn’s third-year head coach says. “I think the league has demonstrated how competitive it is, especially in the middle of the league.

“We are going to take it one game at a time, one step at a time,” Pearl says. “We have to focus all of our attention on Missouri. It’s hard to beat a good team three times. We played very well at home on Senior Night with a lot of emotion and it was just a 10-point win.

“Obviously, Missouri has got a lot to play for,” Pearl says. “I told Kim Anderson before the game what a great coach I thought he was and how hard he is to prepare for. He and I both won Division II national championships together and I know the job that he has done when he was an assistant at Missouri under head coach Norm Stewart and head coach.

Jordan Barnett, Kim Anderson (Nate Latsch-Scout.com)

Coach Kim Anderson is shown with junior Jordan Barnett, who is leading his team in scoring at 12.1 points per game.

“Having won a national championship I just wanted him to know how much I respect his work so you know as a fellow coach I was sorry to hear about him not getting renewed and coming back next year,” Pearl says.

Missouri leads the overall series 4-3. Wednesday's matchup will be the first time the teams have met in the SEC Tournament or at a neutral site.

If the Tigers defeat Missouri the team will take on Ole Miss at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday. The Rebels swept the regular season series vs. the Tigers.

Asked how many wins Auburn needs to receive a bid to the NIT, Pearl said, “I don’t know. I think it would take a couple and so that’s a number that gives me a little bit of flexibility, but that’s what I think it would take.”

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