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WATCH: Bruce Pearl Previews Showdown with Tennessee

Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl will lead the No. 3-ranked Tigers into Knoxville this Saturday for a matchup with No. 17 Tennessee. It will be a massive showdown in Thompson-Boling Arena, with two tremendously talented teams on a court where Tennessee is undefeated.

Whether it be Tennessee’s undefeated record at home or Auburn’s spot in the Top 5 – something’s got to give in Knoxville.

Pearl, formerly the head coach of Tennessee from 2005 to 2011, spoke to the Auburn media on Thursday about the difficulties of playing Tennessee in Knoxville. In his own words, Pearl even compared that task to be as difficult as winning a Final 4 game.

“It will be a great challenge for us,” Pearl said on Thursday. “A championship-caliber game.”

Vol Basketball: Bruce Pearl Comments on the Difficulty of Playing at Tennessee

Auburn will head into this game in Knoxville with back-to-back road losses under their belt at unranked Arkansas and Florida. Meanwhile, as mentioned earlier, Tennessee has yet to budge to an opposing team at home. The Vols’ two best wins of the season have come at home, as well, beating No. 6 Arizona in December and No. 4 Kentucky just last week. One of the common denominators between Auburn’s road losses and Tennessee’s home wins was an electric crowd that would energize the home team while simultaneously withering down the visiting team.

“We have got some great wins, but because of how tough they are at home, how well they shoot the ball at home, how well they share the ball at home, we are absolutely going to have to have our best afternoon of the year,” Pearl said during his press conference.

Both teams come into this game as winners of their midweek game with Tennessee taking down Missouri on the road and Auburn defeating Ole Miss at home. Now, the stage is set for one of the most high-profile SEC games of the season.

Pearl and the No. 3 Auburn Tigers will take on the No. 17 Tennessee Volunteers this Saturday at 4:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Below is the full Thursday press conference for Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl via The War Rapport on YouTube.

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