The Pick: AUB (-8.5) via Vegas Insider
From a recent history point of view, it is terrifying to back the favorite here. The No. 5 seed in the SEC tournament has lost its first game in four of the past five years, and Auburn has been immediately eliminated in eight of the past nine years. But from a style of play standpoint, it's hard to imagine a scenario in which Auburn doesn't win by double figures.
When these teams met earlier this season, Auburn decimated Missouri in a 92-58 blowout, which was to be expected. Auburn forces a ton of turnovers, blocks a lot of shots and makes its living from the three-point arc, while Missouri commits too many turnovers, struggles with shots being blocked and allows three-point shots at an alarming rate. It's a match made in heaven for Auburn, and it's a living nightmare for Missouri—which has trouble scoring against average defenses.
Moreover, Auburn is surging into this tournament. These Tigers didn't have a single Quadrant 1 win when March began, but they racked up three straight against Mississippi State, Alabama and Tennessee to close out the regular season.
Lay the points, enjoy the pummeling and then come join me on the "Auburn is rounding into a national championship contender at the exact right time" bandwagon.