Saturday’s college basketball slate is headlined by a bunch of rare January non-conference games in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge, including No. 2 Baylor, the highest-ranked team in either conference, getting a test from the resurgent Auburn Tigers.
Auburn has gone 4-2 in six games since Sharife Cooper became eligible, with the losses being by a combined five points to Alabama and Arkansas. In this stretch, Auburn is averaging 81.8 points per game with Cooper leading the country in assists per game (8.7) and free throw attempts per game (11) to go with 22.3 points per contest.
Though Baylor gets headlines for ranking fourth in the nation in points per game with 87.5, the team also has the most efficient defense Auburn has seen, giving up the fourth fewest points on a per-possession basis.
The Bears as a team lead the country in 3-point shooting percentage, hitting 44 percent. And they rebound 36.6 percent of their missed shots, which rates seventh among Division I teams.
With Auburn ranking in the top five in possessions per game since Cooper joined the team and 29th in 2-point shooting percentage, but rating 325th in turnovers per game and facing a Baylor team that is second in the country in turnovers generated on a per-defensive-possession basis, this game figures to be played at warp speed with no shortage of ways to score.
The play: Auburn-Baylor total, Over.