AUBURN, Ala. — The Auburn basketball team had a strict schedule after Wednesday’s 74-70 win over Oklahoma.
Players had little time to celebrate before heading back to meet curfew because less than 48 hours later the team would play its third game this week.
Auburn (9-2) is off to its best start since 2007-08. The Tigers will face UConn (5-5) in Hartford, Conn. Game time is 2:30 p.m. ET (TV: ESPN2).
Before Austin Wiley joined the team last week, Auburn would have been undersized. Now Bruce Pearl’s team benefits from the presence of its 6-foot-11 center, who made his first college start against the Sooners.
Pearl’s squad is also benefits from the leadership of senior guard T.J. Dunans, who had 13 points against Mercer and then a career-high 21 against Oklahoma. And, as has been the case since Auburn’s home opener, the team is getting consistency from true freshmen Mustapha Heron.
Still, starting four freshmen comes with its issues. Pearl said his starters botched the first few plays against Oklahoma.
Auburn’s two games in Connecticut could be end up helping the Tigers with their postseason resume. Having beaten the Sooners, the Tigers have a new set of challenges against UConn.
“It’s a litmus test, again. Are we going to be a postseason tournament team or not? And I know it’s early in our development, but this is going to be a real challenge and a real test and a real opportunity,” Pearl said. “I think the second thing is going to be how do we fare for the league in the sense that our league continues to need some quality wins to help us when it comes to postseason, and so we carry that banner and that torch as well. So, no, I don’t think you could overplay the opportunity here.”
Auburn basketball tonight
Projected starting 5
* Blocks per game
** Steals per game
About the game
Auburn (9-2) vs. UConn (5-5)
Game time: 2: 30 p.m. ET
Where: XL Center, Hartford, Conn.
How to watch online: Watch ESPN
Follow live stats: GameTracker