No. 10 Auburn not looking past Saint Peters

It's been a pretty good week for Bruce Pearl and Auburn.

It included a trip to Hawaii where the Tigers beat Xavier and Arizona but lost to then-No. 1 Duke in a close affair.

Despite the loss to the Blue Devils, the Tigers found out on Monday that they didn't fall in the AP Top 25 poll and remain at No. 8.

And the cherry on top is Pearl's 10th-ranked recruiting class for 2019 that signed on Monday.

The Auburn basketball program is very much alive and well and the future seems as bright as ever.

All this good fortune leads up to Tuesday's game against Saint Peter's of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference at Auburn Arena. The Peacocks were a preseason pick to finish 10th in the MAAC.

The Tigers (5-1) have had a week off after beating Arizona in the third game in three days at the Maui Invitational.

The Peacocks (1-4) last played on Saturday when they fell behind North Texas by 19 with less than eight minutes to go. Shaheen Holloway's squad rallied, scoring 10 straight points, but eventually falling to the Mean Green.

"I thought our team battled until the end; I'm proud of them. We should have never put ourselves in that hole," he said. "At halftime, it was a three-point game and then we went back and forth before they went on a crazy run. Our guys have to understand that a couple of bad possessions leads to that."

The Tigers have been excellent this young season in creating "bad possessions" for the other team. The Tigers are forcing nearly 19 turnover per game. Add in a significant rebounding advantage -- Auburn is pulling down more than nine rebounds more than its opponents -- and that the Peacocks don't shoot very well, and the recipe for a blowout is in the making.

Pearl might not know much about the Peacocks, but he insists he knows Holloway very well.

"He was a great player, a fixture at Seton Hall," Pearl said. "He was a loyal assistant who is getting the opportunity to put his mark on the team. They play fast, they're good at transition and ball-screen offense."

In reality, Pearl and Tigers could use a break after the Maui gauntlet. The Peacocks come in averaging 70.8 points per game and give up 79 points. They shoot 42 percent from the field and 37 percent from beyond the arc. Their opponents are connecting on 46 percent from the floor and 43 percent from beyond the arc.

Auburn's backcourt duo of Bryce Brown and Jared Harper combine to average 33 points per game and have made 43 of 106 3-point shots. That spells trouble for the Peacocks.

Senior guard Davauhnte Turner leads Saint Peter's, averaging 19.4 points per game. The only other Peacock in double digits is Samuel Idowu at 14.4.

The Tigers are averaging 87 points a game and giving up only 65. On paper, it looks like a classic mismatch.

But don't tell Pearl that.

"It's a good opportunity for us," Pearl said. "Obviously, Saint Peter's is not as strong as the three teams we faced in Maui. This will be as much about us and our growth and development, and the things they are going to challenge us to do."

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