Rhode Island (0-5) at Auburn (2-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 25, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Auburn Arena (9,121) -- Auburn, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: Rhode Island 0-2, Auburn 1-0. Away Record: Rhode Island 0-1, Auburn 0-1. Neutral Record: Rhode Island 0-2, Auburn 1-2. Conference Record: Rhode Island 0-0, Auburn 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Rhode Island Rams will yet again attempt to put a notch in the win column when they hit the road to face off with the Auburn Tigers at Auburn Arena.
The Rams were involved in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic over the past week but didn't enjoy much success with losses in all three of those games. If there is any positive to be taken from the performance it is that the Rams managed to stay competitive in its last tow games losing by a combined nine points. Overall the Rams are 0-5 this season. Next up is a home date with George Mason.
The Tigers will be trying to rebound from a devastating loss to Boston College in its last time out. The Tigers battled to a 49-49 tie with just 46 seconds left in regulation and had a chance to win the game on its last possession. However Frankie Sullivan's 3-point attempt was off the mark and by virtue of a free throw, the Eagles escaped with a 50-49 win. Auburn is now 2-3 overall this season with losses in each of its last two games. The Tigers were victorious in their only other home game, where they will spend the next six contests.
Up to this season these teams have never been matched up on the hardwood.
A difficult loss was also handed to Rhode Island in its lat time out. The Rams took a 58-54 loss in overtime to Loyola-Maryland (58-54) despite leading to the five second mark in regulation. At that point Robert Olson nailed a 3- pointer to send the game toe extra time where the Rams couldn't muster enough to get a win. Poor free throw shooting came back to bite the Rams as they hit on only 10-of-22 shots from the charity stripe. Jordan Hare led the team with 16 points and seven blocks but missed four foul shots.
Offensive success has eluded the Rams this season just as much as wins have. The team is shooting only 36.3 percent from the field and putting in 54.4 points per game. Much of the shooting woes comes from the Rams' tendency to rely on the 3-point line where they have launched 20 or more shots in four games but only connected on 27.0 percent of those attempts. Nikola Malesevic (14.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg) is the both the lead scorer and rebounder on the team. The 6-foot-8 forward has been one of the lone shooters to have some success from 3-point range with makes on 6-of-14 shots from long range. Xavier Munford (13.8 ppg) is another double-figure scorer as is Andre Malone (10.8 ppg).
In what was a defensive struggle against Boston College, Auburn ended the night as the better shooting ream hitting on 42.2 percent of its shots to 36.2 percent from the Eagles. However the Tigers were on the wrong end of a 24-12 differential in points from 3-point range and were also outrebounded (35-28). Frankie Sullivan did all he could to get Auburn the win with team-highs in points (23) and rebounds (8).
Like Rhode Island, Auburn is a not a team that will fill it up at an elevated rate. The Tigers are only scoring 57.4 points per game and shooting 38.6 percent from the field this season. The Tigers have managed to keep their opponents in check mostly, with opponents scoring only 60.6 points per game while shooting at a 49.5 percent clip. Sullivan (20.6 ppg) has really been the only player on the roster that has turned in a strong performances night in and night out. Rob Chubb (9.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg) rebounds well and has shown the ability to score but his field goal percentage (47.8) is rather weak for a player that spends most of his time around the rim.
It's unlikely that Auburn will run away with this game considering its struggles on offense. However it is also unlikely that Rhode Island will be able to get enough of its shots to fall to secure a road victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Auburn 62, Rhode Island 57
11/25 10:41:40 ET