Auburn Men's Basketball 2018 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Auburn Tigers

SEC (25-7, 13-5)

Auburn has been one of the most pleasant surprises this season. Of course, to finish off their stellar season, the Tigers will hope to make a decent run in the NCAA Tournament. Auburn boasted a very young team last year and managed to finish 18-14 overall, their first winning record in eight years. Coach Bruce Pearl took that experience and turned them into winners. And their winning days are not over.
Big Wins: 1/2 at Tennessee (94-84), 1/6 Arkansas (85-77), 2/14 Kentucky (76-66)
Bad Losses: 11/17 vs Temple (74-88), 1/17 at Alabama (71-76), 2/17 at South Carolina (75-84)
Coach: Bruce Pearl
Why They Can Surprise:
This is an Auburn team that can score a lot of points. Bryce Brown and Mustapha Heron are the team’s best scorers. Brown is a very dangerous outside shooter and connected on an impressive 38.7 percent of his attempts from long range. Heron can hit some outside shots too, but he does most of his damage inside the arc. Sophomore point guard Jared Harper gets a lot of credit for his passing skills, and rightfully so, but he is a dynamic scorer too. Harper will keep the opposition honest with his shooting ability, but he is also very effective attacking the basket and at least getting to the charity stripe. Desean Murray, a 6-3 junior, is the team’s top rebounder and a quality scoring threat in the paint. Murray is listed as a forward and shows it on the glass, but Chuma Okeke and Anfernee McLemore are the more traditional frontcourt scoring threats, although both can stretch the defense.
Why They Can Disappoint:
Auburn is going to give up points, but they do need to be better overall defensively if they hope to make a deep tournament run. The opposition shoots relatively well against them from the floor, but it is from beyond the arc where Auburn tends to give up quite a few open looks. Sooner or later they will run into a team that is consistently knocking down those three-pointers and that could be enough to knock the Tigers out of the tournament.
Probable Starters:
Jared Harper, Sophomore, Guard, 13.7 ppg, 5.7 apg
Bryce Brown, Junior, Guard, 16.2 ppg, 1.7 apg
Mustapha Heron, Sophomore, Guard, 16.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg
Desean Murray, Junior, Forward, 10.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg
Anfernee McLemore, Sophomore, Forward, 7.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.7 bpg
Key Role Players:
Chuma Okeke, Freshman, Forward, 7.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg
Horace Spencer, Junior, Forward, 4.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg
Davion Mitchell, Freshman, Guard, 3.8 ppg, 1.9 apg
Malik Dunbar, Junior, Guard, 5.4 ppg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 84.0 (13th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 73.1 (193, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.3 (202, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.3 (78, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.8 (27, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.1 (80, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 78.9 (6, 1)
Rebound Margin: 3.8 (59, 5)
Assists Per Game: 14.7 (108, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.3 (117, 7)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2009    NIT     First Round win over Tennessee-Martin
2009    NIT     Second Round win over Tulsa
2009    NIT     Quarterfinal loss to Baylor
2003    NCAA Round of 64 win over St. Joseph's
2003    NCAA Round of 32 win over Wake Forest
2003    NCAA Regional Semifinal loss to Syracuse
2001    NIT     First Round win over Miami
2001    NIT     Second Round loss to Purdue
2000    NCAA Round of 64 win over Creighton
2000    NCAA Round of 32 loss to Iowa State
*all team stats through 3/4