Player to Watch
With 16.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.1 steals a game, junior college transfer Chris Porter, a 6'7" forward, led the Tigers and was among the SEC's top 10 in all three categories. He transformed game tapes into highlight films with breathtaking dunks, including the season's grand slam: a one-handed tomahawk off a rebound against LSU.
All the necessary elements are in place. Agile 7-footer Mamadou N'diaye led the league with 2.4 blocks per game, point guard Doc Robinson had a 2.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, Scott Pohlman shot 38.1% from behind the arc, and Bryant Smith was one of the country's best defenders. Auburn's huge question mark is experience under pressure: None of the Tigers have ever competed in the NCAA tournament, and Auburn played just three ranked teams all season and lost both of its road games against tournament teams.
Coach Cliff Ellis
Team scoring 81.8 (FG%: 43-5) (3-pointers: 211-610, 34.6%)
Opponent scoring 61.5 (FG%: 39.6)
Rebound margin +9.2
Team FT% 64.7
Whom not to foul
Scott Pohlman (87%), Doc Robinson (78%)
Whom to foul
Adrian Chilliest (46%), Bryant Smith (60%)
Arkansas 83-66, Florida 88-69
The Tigers should roar into the South final, but doppelganger Maryland will outrun them in Knoxville.