AUBURN, Ala. (WSFA) - The Auburn Arena will be packed come Saturday evening, as the Tigers will welcome Kentucky in a battle of ranked opponents.
Aside from a Top 25 clash, the team will make history before the game; ESPN’s College GameDay will be on the floor broadcasting live starting at 10 a.m. It’s the first time in program history Auburn has been featured on the show.
"It's a significant step in the direction of our program," said head coach Bruce Pearl. "We've tried to recruit so much with 'Come to Auburn and make history.' You go to a lot of great programs and you can add to history, but you can't really make it because it's already been made. Here, you can make it."
However, the team has hit a bit of a slump in the last few games.
“We’re staying humble, we’re staying hungry," Pearl said. "This group’s trying to make history, but we gotta be able to play better to do that.”
Since their first loss of the season, which came on the road to Alabama, Auburn has dropped 13 spots in the AP Top 25 Rankings, most recently to #17. Despite picking up a few more wins, the Tigers have struggled to dominate games like Tuesday’s double-overtime win over Ole Miss.
Now, as they prepare for their biggest test this season, junior forward Anfernee McLemore says the answer is simple.
“I don’t think it’s specifically any one thing or one player, but it’s just overall as a team, we have to be more locked into the game plan,” he said.
Saturday’s contest will also give Auburn a chance to test the starting five heading into the backstretch of conference play. There was some talk about Pearl changing that starting rotation, but he said it’s not the right thing to do.
“I don’t have an answer for why we’re not starting better," he said. "We’re taking it one game at a time. We’ve been working on Kentucky since we got back from Ole Miss.”
College GameDay will air on ESPN beginning at 10 a.m. Tip-off between #13 Kentucky and #17 Auburn is set for 5 p.m.