Jabari Smith shooting free throw

Auburn forward Jabari Smith (10) shoots a free-throw against Yale during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

  • Auburn is a 13.5-point favorite over Nebraska on Saturday
  • The game is part of Holiday Hoopsgiving in Atlanta
  • The matchup and odds can be found below with a prediction

Minus coach Bruce Pearl, #18 Auburn will face Nebraska at 11:30am ET Saturday in the Holiday Hoopsgiving at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

Pearl was suspended for two games by the NCAA on Friday for failing to monitor his assistant coaches and adequately promote compliance.

Auburn (7-1) has won four in a row since losing to Connecticut in double overtime and is coming off beating Yale 86-64 last Saturday. Nebraska (5-5) is on a three-game losing streak, including getting thumped 102-67 at home by Michigan on Tuesday.

Auburn is a big favorite in a game that will be televised by ESPN2.

Nebraska vs Auburn Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
Nebraska +680 +13.5 (-110) Over 149.5 (-110)
Auburn -1100 -13.5 (-110) Under 149.5 (-110)

Odds as of December 10th at FanDuel.

Nebraska Outlook

Not only is Nebraska coming off a 35-point blowout loss at Lincoln but has a 17-game losing streak against ranked teams.

However, the Cornhuskers do possess an explosive player in senior guard Alonzo Verge Jr., a transfer from Arizona State. He is averaging 16.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists a game.

Verge has scored in double figures in nine of his 10 games this season. He has also either made or assisted on 53% of Nebraska’s field goals in the last three games.

Verge scored a season-high 31 points against Michigan as he shot 12-of-21 from the field and was perfect on all six free throw attempts.

Freshman guard Bryce McGowens is living up to his billing as a five-star recruit. The South Carolina native has averages of 16.4 points and 6.8 rebounds in his first collegiate season.

However, sophomore guard Keisei Tominaga was the only Nebraska player beside Verge to score in double figures Tuesday. Tominaga finished with 11 points, though he made just 3 of 13 three-point tries.

Tominaga played for Japan’s 3-on-3 team at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

Nebraska shot 31.9% (23-of-72), including an abysmal 14.3% (5-of-35) from long range. Michigan outrebounded the Huskers 54-38 while shooting 51.3% (39-of-76).

The game was tied 13-13 before Michigan went on a 13-2 run to take control of the game with a 26-15 lead with 9:27 left in the first half.

Auburn Outlook

Auburn freshman forward Jabari Smith Jr. has the look of a one-and-done NBA lottery pick.

The son of the former NBA player is averaging 16.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots. He has scored in double figures in each of the last five games.

Smith had 17 points and seven rebounds against Yale and is helping Auburn score 111.7 points per 100 possession, which ranks 47th nationally.

Sophomore guard K.D. Johnson led the way in that game with 19 points. In his first season since transferring from Georgia, Johnson has averages of 15.5 points and 2.8 steals while scoring in double digits in seven of eight games. He is 10th in the nation steals.

Sophomore guard Wendell Green Jr. has dished out 26 assists in the last six games and is averaging 4.4 for the season along with 10.3 points and 3.5 rebounds.

Junior guard Devan Cambridge had his first double-double of the season and second of his career with 10 points and 10 rebounds against Yale.

Sophomore center Zep Jasper had 10 points and five assists after scoring nine points combined in his previous three games. Sophomore center Dylan Cardwell contributed a season-high 10 points, six rebounds and three blocks.

Auburn blocked 14 shots, including eight in the first 10 minutes. Sophomore forward Walker Kessler had four rejections in eight minutes before leaving with a knee injury that is expected to sideline him Saturday.

Jasper and Green combined for 11 assists and no turnovers while sharing point guard duties.

Auburn held Yale to 32.3% (21-of-65) from the field.

Nebraska vs Auburn Prediction

Auburn is ascending and Nebraska is descending as the two programs meet for the first time. Even without Pearl on the sideline, expect the deep Tigers to roll in this one.

The Pick: Auburn -13.5 (-110)

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John Perrotto

Sports Writer


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