18-2 (6-0 SEC)
12-7 (5-1 SEC)
With all due respect to the last decade of LSU women's basketball, there are three teams that historically top the SEC: Tennessee, Georgia, and Auburn. It should be no surprise that those three teams are now atop the SEC with just over a third of the games finished. Tennessee plays each of those teams once this year; today is the first of such matchups that will ultimately decide the regular season crown.
Auburn has as many consistency issues as Tennessee. With a slew of early losses and a 1-4 start, they dug an early hole and have struggled to come up for air since. In conference play, their Jekyll-and-Hyde tendencies led them to solid wins against Florida and LSU, but a solid loss to Vanderbilt and a head-scratching 45-41 win over a not-good Mississippi State team last Thursday. Much of their issues are due to youth; only two seniors and three juniors grace their roster. They appear to be a team designed to peak in a year or two, but they could certainly beat a Tennessee team that plays the way the Lady Vols played against South Carolina.
Unlike South Carolina, Auburn has some height. Most of it is young, like 6'-8" sophomore center Pascale West and 6'-5" freshmen Peyton Davis, but even their guards are closer in size to Tennessee's. Tennessee has the experience and talent edge, but they'll have to earn the rebounds a little more honestly than they did against South Carolina's undersized players. In conference play, Auburn is averaging about 37 rebounds a game to their opponents' 33.
Both squads are a bit turnover prone, with Tennessee having nearly 16 turnovers a game and Auburn giving it up about 15 times per contest. With such inconsistency and talent on both sides of the ball, this is one of the harder games to predict. Tennessee is by any measure a better team, but it's a road game for them - a place where their best and worst have come in big ways.
Prediction: UT 65 - Auburn 56