News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Division title on line for AU

By Bradley Handwerger 340-2462

For the first time in nearly five years, Auburn will play a gave with implications on the last day of the regular season.

It will be the first time for anyone currently associated with the program to be in the position of playing or coaching for an SEC division crown.

Not guard Quantez Robertson.

Not forward Korvotney Barber.

Not guard Frank Tolbert.

Of course, the same could be said for Ole Miss (18-11, 7-8 SEC), Auburn's opponent.

Indeed, this is a matchup of two teams picked to finish
near the bottom of the entire SEC.

Heck, Auburn (17-13, 7-9) is one conference win away from equaling the combined total of SEC wins in Jeff Lebo's first two seasons.

So how can he possibly get his team prepared for what the Tigers will face Saturday in Tad Smith Coliseum?

"We approach it like every other game," Lebo said.

"That's what you have to do in these situations. You can't prepare your team any differently for a game. That's my belief. The kids all know what we're playing for."

Regardless of what's on the line, these are teams heading in opposite directions.

Ole Miss is in the midst of a steak in which it has lost three of its past four games after winning four in a row.

Auburn has won three conference games in a row for the first time in the Lebo era, and they all come after the Tigers dropped four in a row in the month of February.

A win would all but solidify a bid to the NIT for Auburn.

It also would keep them alive, albeit a long shot, for an NCAA bid.

If that's not motivation enough, Ole Miss beat Auburn handily in Auburn a month ago, winning 82-59.

"It's a real motivation, especially with all that's on the line," forward Josh Dollar said. "We owe them one."

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