After losing the SEC opener on the road Saturday to a hot South Carolina team, the Tigers don't need to dig themselves into a deeper hole in the SEC race as they take on Florida this Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Alabama on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Coach Billy Donovan's Gators will come into Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum 1-0 in the league and 14-2 overall. The Gators have won eight straight games including a 78-68 win over Ole Miss on Saturday while Auburn was going down 68-56 at South Carolina to end its seven-game winning streak.
Donovan's Gators have had success against the Tigers. His teams have won nine straight in the series while Auburn coach Jeff Lebo is 0-4 vs. the Gators. Auburn leads the overall series 82-67.
"This is our first SEC road game for us against a team that is very quick and very athletic," Donovan says of the Tigers. "Last year they played a good portion of the year without their center, Korvotney Barber, who is back and is having a great year.
Korvotney Barber is coming off a career-high rebounding game with 18 vs. South Carolina.
"They have added some different pieces to their team and they are a team that shoots the ball from behind the line very well," says Donovan, who has won two NCAA championships in Gainesville.
"They also are a team that changes defenses and tries to give you a bunch of different looks," he says. "Going on the road, I think us handling the ball will be critical. I think we will see some full-court pressure and some changes in defense in the half-court so our ability to continue to do a good job on assist to turnover ratio will be very important."
DeWayne Reed is leading the Tigers in scoring at 13.1 points per game while Barber is the rebounding leader at 8.8 per contest and is second in scoring at 12.5 points per game. Tay Waller is averaging 12.3 points per contest.
Florida is led by 6-6 sophomore guard Nick Calathes, who Lebo says is a future NBA player. He is averaging 17.1 points, 6.8 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game.
Alex Tyus, a 6-9, 220 sophomore center, is scoring 8.9 points and averages 5.4 rebounds per game. He is joined inside by 6-8, 230 junior forward Dan Werner (9.9 points, 4.7 rebounds) and 6-9, 213 sophomore Chandler Parsons (8.9 points and 5.4 rebounds).
The veteran of the starting lineup is 6-0 senior Walter Hodge, who is averaging 8.2 points and 2.3 assists. The leading scorer off the bench is quick 5-8 freshman Erving Walker from Christ the King High School in Brooklyn, N.Y. He is averaging 8.7 points and 2.6 assists.
"Another big key to the game will be those quickness plays and loose ball plays because they are so quick to the ball," Donovan says of the Tigers. "They are a unique to team to defend because they do have the ability to play five guys in the perimeter and put five three-point shooters out there so that will be a challenge.
"We have a lot to get ready for because they are a complex team that is consistent and somewhat experienced and older," Donovan adds. "They have guys that have been around for a couple of years."
Auburn Basketball Notes: Lebo says he isn't sure whether or not 6-8 junior forward Johnnie Lett, who missed the SEC opener, will be able to play vs. the Gators. Lett is out due to an academic issue, but is practicing with the team...This year's game will be the last time the Gators play in Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum with Auburn moving to a new arena for the 2010-2011 season. The Tigers are 20-11 all-time vs. Florida at the coliseum and 54-21 vs. the Gators in all games played in Auburn.