SEC conference play has been a non-stop battle since it started, and tonight, those battles continue with a showdown between Texas A&M and Auburn. The Aggies are fresh off their first conference loss of the season and will now take on a Tigers team on a five-game win streak. We’ll preview the game before going over my best bet for the action.
The SEC is loaded with talented scorers and high-powered offenses, but if there is one team built to limit scoring, it’s the Auburn Tigers. The Tigers are ranked 12 in defensive efficiency rating according to KenPom, and they have held teams to the fifth lowest effective field goal percentage in the country at 42.6%.
Leading scorer Wendell Green Jr. is also leading the team in steals with 1.6 per game and has helped the Tigers come up with an average of 8.5 steals per game this season, which is ranked 34th in the country. This stellar defense has kept the Tigers in a good spot since their offense can still be inconsistent at times.
Auburn is still looking for someone to step up offensively in terms of shooting. Entering today’s game, the Tigers are shooting 29.9% from three and have an effective field goal percentage of 49.4%. It will be a challenge to find a lot of shooting success tonight against an Aggies team that has held opponents to a 39.6% shooting percentage.
For the majority of conference play, the Aggies have relied on a well-balanced team and slow tempo to keep them competitive. Entering tonight, the Aggies rank 42nd in offensive efficiency and 69th in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom, so they can win high-scoring games and defensive battles.
The tempo at which the Aggies operate has frustrated a lot of opponents this season, as they are holding teams to an average of 54.1 field goal attempts per game, which is ranked 61st in the country. Kentucky was one of the first teams to force them to play at their pace, which led to them scoring the most points the Aggies allowed in all of conference play.
I’ll be targeting a team total for my play in this one, as I’ll be taking the Texas A&M team total under 67.5. The Tigers have held 15 of their 18 opponents under 66 points, including five of the seven conference games they’ve played. Both sides run at a slower tempo, and with Auburn holding opponents to the 8th lowest shooting percentage in the country, I don’t see the Aggies being able to put up a big offensive performance.
In the two conference games in which Texas A&M played a defense ranked in the top 15 in defensive efficiency, they were held to 66 and 54 points. On the season, the Aggies rank 175th in field goals made per game and 277th in field goal attempts per game, while Auburn’s defense is ranked 22nd in opponents’ field goals made per game.
This season, the Aggies have finished 81% of their possessions with either a three or a shot at the rim, but Auburn is holding teams to a 25.1% three-point percentage and is also ranked 5th in the country in blocks per game.
Texas A&M Team Total Under 67.5