No. 1 Auburn doesn't want to fall into a trap game at Missouri Tuesday night, three days after knocking off Kentucky.
Auburn (18-1, 7-0 SEC) tried to stay grounded after posting an 80-71 victory over the Wildcats in an electric atmosphere at home.
"There wasn't a lot of water splashed around in our locker room," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. "We didn't win a championship; we're not cutting down nets. We were good enough today to beat a really good team -- a team that could be good enough to get to the Final Four.
"Now, we've got work to do. We've got to go on the road this week to Missouri; they beat Alabama at Missouri. They're a big, strong, physical team. There's a big prize on our head."
Missouri (8-10, 2-4) has lost five of its last seven games heading into this encounter at Mizzou Arena. But it took another run at Alabama Saturday, leading by as many as 14 points in Tuscaloosa, Ala., before fading late in an 86-76 loss.
"We weren't as aggressive, we became passive, as opposed to driving the ball," Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said.
Auburn had four scorers in double figures against Kentucky, led by Walker Kessler's 19 points. Its bench outscored that of the Wildcats, 20-11.
"I think for us, it's the sum of our parts," Pearl said. "If we're playing nine guys on a regular basis or sometimes 10, you've got to account for all of them."
But when push comes the shove, Auburn can rely on elite NBA prospect Jabari Smith, who averages 15.7 points and 6.3 rebounds. Smith was ready to take over against Kentucky when needed.
"There are nine really good players out there and there are times when we've got No. 10 (Smith) and you don't," Pearl said. "And it was time for No. 10 to step up and make a couple of big shots and make a couple of big plays. He's not afraid of the moment. Jabari knows because he holds himself to a high standard."
Missouri is shooting just 27.1 percent from 3-point range. It ranked 349th among Division I teams in 3-point shooting through 17 games.
But the team made 11 of 24 shots from beyond the arc at Alabama after going 4-for-7 in its 78-53 victory at Ole Miss on Jan. 18.
After scoring 17 points against the Crimson Tide with 5-for-9 shooting from 3-point range, guard Jarron Coleman asked why his team shot at higher rate in the last two games.
"I would say got a little bit of better shot selection for the team, and then also the work that everybody is putting in on their jumper," Coleman said. "Everybody is playing confident, and that's what we need, for sure. But I feel like more so the shot selection is helping them make their shots better."
Kobe Brown is Missouri's leading scorer (13.8 per game) and rebounder (8.6). But in Missouri's last three losses, he averaged just seven points and attempted only two free throws.
"When they're switching one through five, that's when we feel like we have the advantage, especially with Kobe," Martin said. "Get him in the post, get him off the blocks. I've got to watch film to see where he was in situations, but when they're switching on him he's got to be assertive and aggressive and make plays."
--Field Level Media