Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. as the 10-9 Volunteers, who are 3-3 in the conference, face an Auburn team that is trying to snap a five-game losing streak since opening SEC play on Jan. 5th at Mississippi State. The game will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Net and will be carried on Sirius Radio channel 102.
"Offensively, we got some good looks in around the basket because they were taking away the three," Lebo says. "We got a lot blocked and missed some around the rim, but offensively we weren't particularly crisp, especially in the first half we had chances on the break where we missed some shots. We missed a couple in the second half. Q (Quinnel Brown) missed an easy one around the rim and Frank (Tolbert) right behind him missed an easy layup."
Auburn fell 60-55 to Alabama in its last outing. The Tigers were playing high-scoring games earlier in the season, but have not reach 60 points in three of their five conference outings.
Freshman guard Frank Toblert is averaging 5.8 points per game.
"We wanted to play fast, but now with all of the injuries and redshirting we have had to change that a little bit," the first-year Auburn coach explains. "We still want to play fairly quick offensively. Defensively we did a good job kind of controlling the tempo (vs. Alabama), but sometimes that can affect you on the offensive end because you don't get as much touches and as many shots."
The Vols will play without one of their key players, 6-10, 250-pound senior Brandon Crump, who is out of action with an ankle injury. He averages 11.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
The Vols have another big man with identical size, sophomore center Major Wingate, who is averaging 5.4 points and 3.2 points per game. He is averaging 10.3 in the last three games thanks to extended playing time with Crump being injured.
Scooter McFadgon, a 6-5, 205 senior guard, is the top scorer for UT at 15.1 points per game. He is averaging 3.6 rebounds.
Andre Patterson, a 6-7, 210 junior forward, averages 7.3 points and 6.4 rebounds.
The Vols won last year's game vs. Auburn by a 75-69 score in Knoxville.
Quinnel rebounds for the Tigers vs. Florida earlier this season.
Auburn is expected to again play its lineup with four guards starting along with forward/guard Brown, who leads the team in rebounding at 6.2 per game to go with 13.3 points per contest.
Toney Douglas is the SEC's second leading scorer.
Guard Toney Douglas is the nation's top freshman scorer at 18.6 points per game plus 5.4 rebounds. However, he has struggled with his shooting in recent games.
Nathan Watson averages 10.7 points per contest along with 6.0 rebounds. The 6-3 senior has done a good job defensively playing against much bigger opponents.
Ian Young, a senior point guard, leads the team in assists with 4.4 per game to go with a scoring average of 15.5.
UT leads the overall series vs. the Tigers 65-34, but Auburn leads 23-20 in games played in Auburn.
Lebo says he continues to like the effort he is seeing from his team that is 9-9 overall and 0-5 in the SEC. He says a victory on Saturday would be a major boost. "It would mean a lot to our kids," he says. "They have worked hard. We have had chances in our three games at home. They have busted their tails. They have worked every day in practice. They haven't hung their heads."
Lebo says that practices have gone well all season whether the Tigers are coming off a victory or loss, but adds, "We need to get one. It is like putting gasoline in your tank. It is hard for these kids. You would like to see them rewarded for some good play."