2020 Auburn Tigers NCAA Basketball National Championship Odds with Predictions
Last year, Auburn was one of the more pleasant surprises of the NCAA Tournament. Their 11-7 mark in the SEC was solid enough and earned them a respectable No. 5 seed in the SEC Tournament. At that point, something either clicked for them, or they negotiated a sale of their collective souls, because it was a whole new team. They won four in a row to grab the SEC championship and ensure their NCAA berth - not that that was in doubt. Then they just kept on winning. They beat New Mexico State and Kansas to reach the first Sweet 16 for the school in 19 years. There, as a No. 5 seed, they stunned No. 1 North Carolina and No. 2 Kentucky to reach the first Final Four in school history. They lost to eventual champions Virginia, though it really felt like the referees had bet on the Cavaliers that day and were doing all they could to protect their investment.
That magical March is a big part of what is fueling this seeding. But they have gone through tremendous changes and need a lot of things to go right. It feels like they could easily and quickly fall out of the rankings, but I have no issue with rewards for past success early on when the polls mean little anyway.
Auburn Tigers Additions/Losses
Boy, did this team suffer some losses. Leading scorer Bryce Brown, arguably the best shooter in school history, graduated. Point guard Jared Harper, who was second in scoring and led in assists, opted for the draft after his junior year and went unpicked. Brown and Harper both averaged more than 32 minutes in the backcourt and contributed a combined 31.2 points per game. Senior J'Von McCormick was a backup point guard and will look to fill the gap along with Turbo Jones, the second-ranked recruit in a massive seven-man class that ranked 20th nationally and fourth in the SEC. Samir Doughty, a senior, has played on the wing to this point but is likely to get swung back to shooting guard frequently this year. He played there in the opener against Georgia Southern, leading the team with 20 points after averaging just 7.3 per game last year. Jamal Johnson, son of former NBAer Buck, transferred from Memphis last year after Penny Hardaway took over and is eligible now. He is also likely to play a lot at shooting guard.
Brown and Harper aren't the only big losses the team is dealing with. Forward Chuma Okeke, who led the team in rebounds and was third in scoring, declared for the draft as a sophomore and was taken 16th by Orlando. And graduated seniors Malik Dunbar and Horace Spencer both played solid roles in the rotation as well. Senior Anfernee McLemore is a guy who is going to be relied upon to break out this year, and senior center Austin Wiley was the third-highest-rated recruit the school has ever landed when he signed in 2016 but has yet to put it all together. He'll get every chance to do so now. True freshman small forward Isaac Okoro, the highest-rated recruit in the class at 36th overall - and the second highest rated ever to join Auburn after Mustapha Heron in 2016, who transferred to St. John's after two strong years - will likely get a chance to start right away if he is ready.
Auburn Tigers Schedule
This is a very easy nonconference schedule for a major conference team. They play a Davidson team that is pretty talented on a neutral court in their second game. Their early-season tournament, the Legends Classic, is among the easier, with only New Mexico and either Wisconsin or Richmond looming. Not tough options either way. They play St. Louis and N.C. State, two teams that aren't super scary but have some potential. And in the Big 12/SEC Challenge they drew Iowa State. If this team is any good, then they are going to win plenty of games because there isn't a lot of resistance to overcome in this schedule. There are no ranked teams on their tab before conference play, and very few that could climb into the rankings.
Auburn Tigers Futures Odds and Trends
Auburn is the third choice to win the SEC at +550, behind Kentucky at +125 and Florida at +250. LSU, ranked two spots higher than Auburn, is the fifth choice to win the conference, so oddsmakers and poll voters are in disagreement about this conference. Auburn is one of five teams tied at +3300 to win the national title, trailing 14 other squads. Their regular season win total is set at 22.
The team went a strong 30-10 last year and were 22-16-1 ATS. They also went over the total 22 times and under 16 times with a push.
Auburn Tigers Predictions
The schedule is soft, but it needs to be for this squad because they have a whole lot of questions. They have been gutted, and there aren't a whole lot of sure things ready to step up and fill the gaps. They could reach this season win total because of who they play - or, more accurately, don't play. But I would be beyond shocked if they did anything close to unleashing the kind of run they went on last year. I am not a believer.
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