Auburn vs. Northwestern Odds
The Northwestern Wildcats completed a triumphant win with a strong second half against the Liberty Flames on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, Auburn crushed the Bradley Braves.
Now the two will meet in the finals of the Riviera bracket of the Cancun Challenge.
Northwestern has had a nice start to the 2022-2023 season, albeit the competition has not been too strong. Even still, the Wildcats are winning the games they are supposed to be winning. Auburn will surely be their most significant hurdle to date.
The Tigers have also started the season undefeated with little competition against them.
Neither team has faced a top-100 KenPom opponent this season, but this will obviously change in this game.
Northwestern prospers on defense. It ranks 16th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (KenPom) and holds opponents to an eFG% of 39.9% (14th in the NCAA).
Auburn ranks 14th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency and 28th in eFG%, so this will be quite the defensive matchup.
The problem here is Auburn’s backcourt is much stronger, so the offense will — at times — be too much to handle for a streaky Northwestern backcourt featuring Boo Buie and Chase Audige.
That said, the Wildcats rank 262nd in Adjusted Tempo, so if they can play their game, this will, at least, be a defensive battle where they come up just short.
If that’s the case, the under should be in play.
The Auburn Tigers play a rotation of 10 guys averaging at least 16 minutes per game. This can be exhausting for opponents.
Their strength comes in the backcourt, with Wendell Green Jr., K.D. Johnson and Jaylin Williams.
This team is elite at guarding both the inside and outside. Opponents are shooting 26.7% from deep and 42.2% inside the arc on the Tigers.
Northwestern barely has any inside game on the offensive end. It’s shooting a paltry 45.2% on 2-pointers so far this season.
Johni Broome, Dylan Cardwell, and Williams will factor into this matchup greatly. They are all true posts, and Broome and Cardwell are each averaging over three blocks per game.
The Tigers will not allow the Cats to score much on the interior.
Here’s an example of Cardwell’s capabilities:
One area the Tigers have struggled with a bit is fouling on the defensive end. This comes with the territory for teams that have such an aggressive defensive style.
To its benefit in this game, Northwestern ranks 192nd in FTA/FGA, so it typically shoots from deep rather than driving into contact. Most teams try to work around a frontcourt like Auburn’s anyways.
Now, Northwestern’s goal is to control the tempo. There’s a reason it holds the ball for 17.9 seconds per possession and averages over 17 seconds per possession on defense, as well.
Auburn likes to play quickly, particularly with Green and Johnson being undersized guards. Audige, Ty Berry and Brooks Barnhizer all rank nationally in KenPom’s steal percentage, so this is the perfect antidote for the Auburn backcourt.
Plus, the Cats have more length at the guard position. Auburn ranks 233rd in offensive turnover percentage, so this is something to keep an eye on.
These Northwestern guards will pick an opponent’s pocket when given the chance.
Auburn vs. Northwestern Betting Pick
Both of these teams have an eFG% of only 49.3% on the offensive end, meaning they can get cold.
Northwestern rarely makes buckets on the interior and Auburn shoots 28.2% from deep.
With this being the case, expect Northwestern to force Johnson and Green into tough positions and potentially turn them over.
Look for Broome, Williams and Cardwell to limit Northwestern’s inside shots.
Finally, be vigilant with how cold these teams can get. Take the under at 135 (-110), and play it to 133.5 (-110).
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