Auburn Travels to Duke in Potential Final Four Preview

The Auburn Tigers are matched up with the Duke Blue Devils in the ACC/SEC challenge.
Auburn Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl
Auburn Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl / Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA
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ESPN has announced its ACC/SEC challenge opponents and the Auburn Tigers got one of the marquee games. The Tigers will travel to Cameron Indoor Arena to take on the Duke Blue Devils on December 4th.

ESPN's way-too-early preseason rankings have Auburn listed at No. 11 and Duke at No. 8.  

While forward Kyle Filipowski left for the NBA Draft, Duke brings in the top freshman class in the nation according to 247Sports, including top overall player Cooper Flagg

Four-more five-star recruits join Flagg in forward Kon Knueppel, forward Isaiah Evans, center Khaman Maluach, center Patrick Ngongba, and four-star forward Darren Harris rounds out the class.

With all the highly touted freshmen arriving some role players transferred to make room. But, if these young men play up to their one and done potential, This will be an elite matchup between two teams hoping to finish the season in San Antonio.

While Duke comes in after finishing 27-9 and No. 9 in the AP polls, Auburn comes in off a season which it finished No. 18 in the AP with a record of 27-9 under coach Bruce Pearl.

The biggest loss for Auburn due to eligibility will be Jaylin Williams. Williams started 92-of-141 career games across his five seasons with the Tigers. During the 2023-24 campaign, Williams started 33-of-34 games where he averaged 12.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 1.9 APG on 59.4% shooting from the field, 39.5% from three, and 83.2% from the free throw line.

Auburn will return an experienced and deep set of guards which include Chad Baker-Mazara and Denver Jones but will be forced to re-build a bit in the front court. The addition of players like point guard JP Pegues and sharpshooter Miles Kelly only adds to the depth at guard. While the return of center Johni Broom will be a huge boost to hold down the middle of the court. 

Auburn is 0-4 all-time vs. Duke including the last meeting at the Maui Invitational in 2018. The Tigers fell 78-72 despite 22 points from Jared Harper.

Dominic Petrillo