SEC Tournament: Can Auburn Continue Surprising Run vs. LSU?


The Auburn basketball team is set to play LSU in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament. Can the Tigers continue their surprising post-season performance?

Auburn Tigers (14-19, 4-14) vs. LSU Tigers (22-9, 11-7)

  • Date: Friday March 13, 2015
  • Start Time: 2:00 PM Central
  • Location: Nashville, TN
  • Arena: Bridgestone Arena
  • TV Info: SEC Network
  • Live Stream: WatchESPN,
  • Odds ( LSU (-9.5)

It’s only been two games, but a surprising early run in the SEC Tournament has put a very positive spin on the otherwise disappointing finish to the 2014-15 Auburn basketball season.

Despite a 14-19 overall record and seven straight losses to close the regular season Auburn picked up a 74-68 victory over Mississippi State in the first game of the tourney and followed with an impressive 66-59 comeback upset over Texas A&M. Now, confidence is high for the Tigers as they prepare to face LSU in the quarterfinals.

Mar 12, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Auburn Tigers guard KT Harrell (1) keeps the ball away from Texas A&M Aggies guard

Alex Robinson

(3) during the second half of the second round of the SEC Conference Tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

“Nobody else expected us to be in the situation we’re in, but we know how good we are, and if we play defense the way we’ve been doing like the last few games, we can beat anybody,” K.T. Harrell said after the game Thursday.

The Tigers have already proved they are capable of beating LSU with an 81-77 win in Baton Rouge earlier this season.

Harrell went off for a season-high 28 points to lead Auburn to the upset. Antoine Mason scored 24 and Cinmeon Bowers had 16 points and 10 rebounds as the Tigers’ talented trio was at its very best.

LSU, of course, also proved more than capable of beating Auburn with an 84-61 blowout in Auburn Arena.

Harrell was limited to 14 points in the rematch, while Mason had just six. Bowers still scored 16, but Auburn was no match for the bigger LSU lineup – and especially Jarrell Martin, who had 25 points and 12 boards for LSU.

Martin and his running mate Jordan Mickey – who has averaged 16 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game this season – are one of the best combinations in the nation and the pair is a big reason why LSU is a dangerous team in the post-season, and especially dangerous against an Auburn team that has the smallest starting lineup in the SEC.

Mickey missed the regular season finale with Arkansas, but is expected to play Friday.

“We don’t know at what level that he’ll be able to play,” LSU head coach Johnny Jones said Thursday. “We’ll have a chance to address that once we’re out there on the floor. He has been able to do a good job the last couple of days at practice. He has been able to execute and make some plays for us. He certainly will be on the floor for us (Friday).”

For Auburn to advance to the semifinals, they’ll probably need another great game Harrell, Mason and Bowers like the one that spurred the upset earlier this season.

So far, Harrell is the only one to play at the top of his game in Nashville, scoring 19 points against Mississippi State and 25 against Texas A&M. But, over the course of the last two days, head coach Bruce Pearl has gotten some surprising results from the likes of K.C. Ross-Miller, Alex Thompson, Devin Waddell and T.J. Lang – a quartet that combined to score 18 total points in the two earlier games against LSU – to spark the surprising run.

To keep the dream alive, the Tigers must find a way to win a third game in three days. Fatigue will be a factor, especially against an LSU front court stocked with NBA-caliber players that measure in at 6-foot-10 and taller.

Still, there is no quit in this team, and the Auburn Tigers have the confidence to believe they can beat anybody.


  • #5 Cinmeon Bowers, F, Jr., 6-foot-7, 278 pounds, 12.6 PPG, 9.7 RPG
  • #25 Jordon Granger, F, Jr., 6-foot-8, 210 pounds, 4.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG
  • #23 T.J. Lang, G, Fr., 6-foot-7, 193 pounds, 2.4 PPG, 1.2 RPG
  • #1 K.T. Harrell, G, Sr., 6-foot-4, 212 pounds, 18.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG
  • #12 K.C. Ross-Miller, G, Sr., 6-foot-0, 178 pounds, 6.7 PPG, 1.8 RPG


Next: Bruce Pearl's Foundation is Firmly Set

More from Fly War Eagle