Auburn vs. Jacksonville State 2022 NCAA Tournament Game Preview
- Auburn Spread: -17
- Jacksonville State Spread: +17
- Auburn Moneyline: -5000
- Jacksonville State Moneyline: +1600
- Game Over/Under: 142.5
- Day and Time: Friday, March 18 at 1:00 pm EST
Auburn vs. Jacksonville State Match Up Overview
Stats via KenPom.
Auburn was running hot in the middle of the season, and despite faltering late, Bruce Pearl’s Tigers still snatched up a solid seed. Any squad with two top-10 Player of the Year candidates is going to have a high ceiling. Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler are incredible talents, while Wendell Green and K.D. Johnson add scoring options in the backcourt. Among the top seeds in the tournament, Auburn definitely has the most question marks. Away from The Jungle this season, Auburn has seriously struggled, falling to Florida, barely escaping Georgia, and losing to Texas A&M in the SEC tournament. Auburn might struggle on neutral courts as well. Another concern with the Tigers is their guard play. While Johnson and Green are talented, they aren’t able to carry this team by themselves. Time and time again this year, we have seen one of those two players try to take over and fail, punishing Auburn in the process. Will Pearl will be able to adjust his schemes and have a go-to play for Jabari Smith or Walker Kessler up his sleeve when it gets down to the nitty-gritty? This team has championship aspirations, but Auburn is also a candidate to be the first top-eight team to fall.
Jacksonville State Preview
Jacksonville State is one of the first teams in recent memory to get an auto-bid as a mid-major without winning their conference tournament. Due to Bellarmine not being qualified to make the NCAA Tournament, the Gamecocks will rep the ASUN. The ASUN was an underrated conference this season, and Jacksonville State challenged teams such as Wichita State and Alabama, suffering close road losses. Darian Adams really does it all at small forward – he can facilitate, defend and shoot. Jacksonville State shoots well from deep at a 38% clip, but they really depend on the deep ball. All 10 of their losses have come when shooting 40% or worse from downtown, providing a clear blueprint for beating this team. Their defense won’t give you anything, staying out of foul trouble and rebounding at an above-average rate. Given their shooting, I could see these Gamecocks turning some heads depending on their matchup. Their defense allows a lot of looks from beyond the arc, but if they face a team that doesn’t prefer the perimeter shot, I could see Jacksonville State going blow for blow.
Rapid Prediction for Auburn vs. Jacksonville State
By far my favorite 15 vs. 2 matchups, the Atlantic Sun representatives look to bust some brackets with a victory over Auburn. Despite not winning the ASUN tournament, their one-seed ranking granted them an entry. Auburn’s top-tier two-point defense will take away most looks for Jacksonville State, but that might not be too big of a problem for the Gamecocks. Ray Harper’s squad prefers the deep ball, and they shoot well with the 11th best 3pt% clip in the nation.
The Tigers may be one of the most talented teams in the nation with Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler. Jaylin Wiliams is a nice piece and KD Johnson and Wendell Green are capable facilitators who need to get rid of the ball in crunch time. The trust levels for these Tigers are low, their last five games have been some of their worst games all season, and we have seriously seen them struggle when playing away from The Jungle. Jacksonville States’ ability to shoot the ball from deep and above-average interior defense makes this one of my more confident pick this tournament for the Gamecocks to cover.
Auburn vs. Jacksonville State Round 1 Game Pick
Jacksonville State +17.0