Names you need to know: Joe Jackson (13.4 ppg, 4.8 apg), Adonis Thomas (11.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg), Chris Crawford (10.3 ppg, 3.2 apg)
Stats you need to know: One. That’s how many losses the Tigers have since December 15th. And it was was two point loss at Xavier. I know, I know. Look at who they played. It’s not overwhelming. But a 24-1 record is a 24-1 record.
Tendencies: The biggest tendency for the Tigers? Head-scratching plays. They have all the talent in the world, but their decision-making leaves something to be desired.
Big wins, bad losses: The reason that Memphis needed to win the automatic bid to feel safe? Their best win this season is beating Southern Miss. Three times.
Outlook: Memphis has all the talent in the world, the problem is that you never know when they are going to make a play or take a shot that just doesn’t make any sense. They have enough talent to get to the Sweet 16, but the problem is that they look to be headed to an 8-9 game. Can the Tigers upset a No. 1 seed if they get out of the opening round?
How do I know you?: The Tigers will be one of the headliners in whatever the old Big East is going to be called next season.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.