Auburn, Ala.--Tony Barbee’s Tigers will look to snap a two-game losing streak in their final pre-conference basketball game as the Florida State Seminoles visit on Wednesday evening.
Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CST at the Auburn Arena for a game that will be televised on Fox Sports South. The Seminoles will bring an 8-4 record into the contest while Auburn is 5-7.
The Seminoles won their last outing, 82-63 vs. Tulsa on Saturday, and come to Auburn on a four-game winning streak.
Auburn leads the series vs. FSU 22-8, but the Seminoles won last year’s game, embarrassing the Tigers by an 85-56 score in Tallahassee. The previous season Auburn won 76-70 at the Auburn Arena.
“Florida State is coming off of three consecutive NCAA Tournaments,” Barbee says. “They are the defending ACC Champions and a program that is very talented and one of the attributes of Coach (Leonard) Hamilton is that his teams have excellent defensive statistics.
“A year ago they were one of the top defensive teams in the country and they are again this year,” Barbee says. “It is a tough challenge for Auburn, but we are coming off a very good game at Illinois.”
Auburn dropped an 81-79 decision to 12th-ranked Illinois on Saturday in Chicago. After Wednesday night’s game vs. Florida State the Tigers will be off for a week prior to opening the SEC season with a home game vs. LSU.
Barbee says the back-to-back games vs. Illinois and FSU were scheduled to get the Tigers ready for conference play. “They are the type of teams that we are going to see throughout the SEC,” he says. “They have more size and athletic ability man for man, and they are certainly teams that are viable candidates for the NCAA Tournment.”
Against Illinois the Tigers out-shot the Illini and out-rebounded the Big 10 team, but they hurt their chances for the upset with 20 turnovers. Illinois also got to the foul line for 40 free throws, 24 more than the visiting Tigers.
“It gave the players a sense of confidence of being able to play against a very talented Illinois team that is among the best teams in the country,” Barbee says. “They have played extremely well early and won the Maui Invitational.”
The Seminoles are led in scoring by 6-5 senior guard Michael Snaer, who is averaging 16.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
Okaro White, a 6-8 junior forward, is averaging 13.1 points and 5.9 rebounds. Another 6-8 junior forward, Terrance Shannon, is averaging 9.2 points and 6.5 rebounds for the Seminoles.
Frankie Sullivan is leading the Tigers in scoring at 17.2 points per game and fellow guard Chris Denson is next averaging 15.2 per contest.
Denson says that the Seminoles have strong guard play and that will be a challenge for him personally and his teammates.
The Tigers matched up well against a guard-oriented Illinois team in their last outing. “That helped our confidence out a lot,” Denson says. “Everyone was expecting us to get blown out. We showed great effort against Illinois. The Winthrop game was a wakeup call for us and we played better against Illinois.”
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