Tigers Trying to Get Over "The Hump"

A look at how Auburn has faired against the Bulldogs at Humphrey Coliseum is featured.

Auburn, Ala.--The Auburn basketball program hasn't had any recent success to speak of at Humphrey Coliseum on the Mississippi State campus. The Tigers won four consecutive games at "The Hump" during a nine-game series win streak from 1997-2001, but the Bulldogs have won nine of the last 11 in the series and six straight in Starkville.

During the six-game win streak for Mississippi State over the Tigers at the Hump, the Bulldogs have outscored Auburn by an average of 84.5-61.5, a 23-point margin. Auburn hasn't won the rebounding battle during that stretch either as the Bulldogs have posted an incredible plus-14 average on the boards against the Tigers.

"Clemson has never won at North Carolina," explains head coach Jeff Lebo. "Ever. I don't have any idea. I wish I knew, but I don't know. Alabama has the same thing in Nashville (at Vanderbilt). Some of us have a lot more than others, but everybody has at least one place that's odd that they have a hard time winning. It's been that way for a long time no matter if the players and coaches change."

Former coach Cliff Ellis lost his last four games in Starkville, including a 67-45 decision in 2003 that could have given his Tigers the SEC West title on the final day of the season. That Auburn team went on to beat St. Joseph's and Wake Forest in the NCAA tournament before losing to eventual-champion Syracuse in the Sweet 16.

Rick Stansbury welcomed Jeff Lebo into the league two seasons ago with a decisive 90-53 victory at The Hump to open SEC play. Last season the Bulldogs entered the game against Auburn at 1-7 in the SEC and drubbed the Tigers 71-53.

Even though Lebo is 0-2 on the road against Mississippi State, he has beaten Stansbury both times in Auburn.

"It's just basketball," Lebo says of playing on the road. "It's just nature. It's hard and it's difficult. I could sit and list 1,000 characteristics. If you look at the numbers it's just difficult to go into someone's backyard and win a basketball game.

"That's why the home court is so big in the NBA playoffs when you play a series," he continues. "The percentages are in your favor when you play at home. I just attribute it to be 12-0 on the road. You're down 12-0 to start the game."

Tip off for Auburn at Mississippi State on Saturday is set for 2 p.m. CST. There is no television coverage for the game.


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