Samir Doughty

The Auburn men's basketball team will try to recapture the magic of last year's SEC tournament-winning run starting Friday when the Tigers take on either Missouri or Texas A&M in a quarterfinal matchup in Nashville. 

The Tigers will play to an empty arena after the SEC announced on Wednesday that fans would be prohibited from attending tournament games.

Auburn secured a two-round bye and No. 2 seed for the tournament by closing out the regular season with a convincing 85-63 win over Tennessee last Saturday.

The Tigers put together their best game of the season against the Vols, shooting 50 percent from the field and nearly 44 percent from three-point range. 

"We haven't played like that this year," said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl. "This should give us confidence heading into postseason play. We'll see what we can do with it."

Samir Doughty played exceptionally well, too, connecting on 10 of 17 of his shots and 8 of 13 from beyond the arc for 32 total points.

"It's a big motivation," said Doughty on how the win will help the team going forward. "We know what we're capable of doing. This will help us get out of the slump, so we won't be focusing on the losses that we had. We're looking forward. The win will help us look forward and know what we're capable of doing each and every night, especially that we did it on the road in a great environment."

The Tigers dropped both matchups against their potential opponent  earlier in the season. Auburn lost 85-73 on the road to Missouri in February and lost its only home game of the year last week 78-75 to the Aggies. 

The Tigers on the side of the bracket where they will face the winner of a matchup between LSU and either Vanderbilt, Arkansas or South Carolina.

"We were a five seed that was able to cut nets, so it certainly can happen," said Pearl of last year's Auburn team that won four games to take home the SEC Tournament title. "I think this year, with the exception of Kentucky being, I think, superior to the rest of the teams in the league, I think everybody else has got a pretty good shot."

Another good showing in the SEC Tournament could propel the Tigers to a better seeding for the NCAA Tournament. Currently, Auburn is projected to be a five seed. 

The Tigers will try to start their tournament run Friday against either the Aggies or Missouri at 6 p.m. The game will be televised on the SEC Network. 

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