February 28, 2009

Lebo talking Mississippi State

Mississippi State's Humphrey Coliseum has been a house of horrors for the Auburn of late.

The Tigers have lost eight straight games there and head coach Jeff Lebo has never beaten MSU at home during his tenure at Auburn. But when the two teams tip off this afternoon at 5 p.m. sole possession of second place in the Western Division will be on the line.

"It's always a tough task when you go to Starkville," Lebo said. "We haven't had a lot of success over there at Auburn. It's obviously a big game with a lot on the line. Rick (Stansbury has done a great job of playing a different style. Their ability to shoot the basketball and also to score inside with (Jarvis) Varnado gives a lot of teams trouble."

The Tigers won the previous matchup 91-76 at Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum on Feb. 14. Auburn bombed 13-of-27 shots behind the 3-point arc in that game led by Tay Waller's 32-points and eight treys.

"Tay (Waller) shot the ball unbelievably," Lebo said. "Offensively, we scored a lot of points in that game. We got off to a big lead. Then, they got back. They are never out of the game with the way they shoot the basketball, too. They came back and made about five or six threes in a row, and that is the way they are. When they are making shots, they can beat anybody in the league. They beat South Carolina at home in a game when they just made shots. Tennessee had them up late in the game and then all of a sudden Ravern Johnson makes two or three threes and then boom, they are right back in the game. That's the way they are, and they are committed to playing small. You are not going to find four better perimeter shooters in the country. When they put them in there all together, it makes for a hard thing to try to figure out how to defend."

Lebo sees a lot of similarities in the Bulldogs that he also sees in his own team. Both squads play a four-guard lineup with one big man down low. They both also have lived and died by the 3-point shot this season.

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