Tipoff time is 7 p.m. as the Tigers and Mean Green meet for the first time in basketball. North Texas brings a 5-6 record into the contest with its last outing an 82-56 setback at Baylor. The Tigers and North Texas, which plays in the Sun Belt Conference, have no common opponents.
Auburn was sizzling in its last outing, a 92-46 victory over Southern Mississippi on Monday night. Auburn improved its season field goal percentage to an impressive 52.6 percent, the best of any SEC team, by hitting 64.9 percent of its shots vs. Southern Miss.
Auburn coach Cliff Ellis says he has been impressed by North Texas star Chris Davis, a 6-5, 225-pound senior guard who is averaging 16.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Jermaine Green, a 6-8, 190 senior forward, is averaging 11.2 points and seven rebounds per game.
"They can shoot the ball," Ellis says of the Mean Green. "Their point guards are three-point shooters." Ellis says that Davis reminds him of Auburn's leading scorer, Marquis Daniels. "He makes a lot of plays and breaks your defense down. He will be a big focus."
Daniels leads the Tigers with his average of 20.2 points per game plus 7.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists. Marco Killingsworth is averaging 16.5 points per game and two other Tiger starters are averaging double figures in points. Derrick Bird is averaging 10.7 points per game and Nathan Watson is averaging 10.5.
Brandon Robinson, a 6-7 forward who was an All-SEC Freshman last year, has yet to play for the Tigers. Auburn coaches have been saying since the preseason they are hoping to get him cleared to play. With league play just around the corner, his return would give the Tigers a boost going into the Southeastern Conference portion of the schedule that starts at home on Wednesday, Jan. 8th as Vanderbilt comes to Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.