Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. for what will be the next to last men's basketball game at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum. Auburn won the first matchup this season vs. LSU by an 84-80 score in Baton Rouge.
While LSU was surprising Arkansas 65-54 in Baton Rouge, Auburn saw a 14-point lead evaporate in the second half at Ole Miss as Coach Jeff Lebo's Tigers fell 85-75 despite a second consecutive 29 points scoring performance from senior guard Tay Waller.
"He is shooting the ball with a lot of confidence," Auburn coach Jeff Lebo says. "He is in a zone right now where anywhere he gets off, he feels like it is going to go in. We just hope that can continue. We just need to have some other guys join him a little bit.
"I think the one thing is our kids have to learn is how to play off of each other better," Lebo says. "We really struggle because we don't really have much of an inside game. If we are not making shots consistently out there, if (Brendon) Knox is not scoring for us and not playing well, we really become one dimensional.
"It really puts a lot more pressure on our backcourt players," the Auburn coach adds. "Then we have to play off each other a little bit more. The way they are playing Frankie (Sullivan) and especially Tay, they are trying to not let them get open looks and stay connected and glued. It opens up some things for some other guys. We haven't consistently taken advantage of that."
Waller has made 15-21 three-point shots in his last two games and has improved his season scoring average to 14.9 points per contest.
"I always thought he could shoot the ball," Lebo says. "When we recruited Tay, I told him he could be the Chris Lofton of the SEC West. He had junior college games where he had 11-12 threes. We always knew he was capable and certainly knew that he was streaky that all of a sudden he may make seven in a row with guys hanging all over him. That is his ability.
"You are not going to have those nights every night," Lebo says. "I think the thing with Tay is we have been trying to stress to him to find other areas and other ways to score whether it is putting it down and getting to the 15 footer.
"We haven't gotten to the foul line as much as what we would like for him to do and being able to drive the ball. He has to work so hard offensively to get a shot because people are staying connected to him everywhere he goes with no space, and they put size on him too, at times. That is just hard to do what he has done the last couple of games with people doing everything they can to take it away."
Auburn's main defensive assignment will be controlling 6-7 LSU senior Tasmin Mitchell, the league's third-leading scorer at 17.6 points per game.
Auburn struggled to defend Mitchell earlier this year in Baton Rouge until the final minutes when freshman Earnest Ross drew the assignment. "He was quick enough and physical enough," Lebo says. "He stuck his nose in there and has quick feet. He has a big body. He wasn't able to get the position on Earnest as much at that period of time at the game. He gave him a different look probably that he wasn't use to with more of a guard on him than a big guy."
Auburn will bring a 13-15 overall record and a 4-9 SEC record into Saturday's game. LSU is 10-17 overall and 1-12 in the league.
"I think they have some confidence now that they have that monkey off their back,"?Lebo says. "They should have got it probably the game before that. They really are playing the best that they have played.
"They played very well at Vanderbilt," he adds. "They probably should have beaten Mississippi State the game before, losing on a last second shot. Then, they beat Arkansas. They are playing well, playing loose. I thought the last game they got some contributions from some people who they haven't gotten contributions from before."