Auburn hasn't commented on the scheduling change, but an individual with knowledge of the move said it was the Tigers' decision, pointing to the tough competition as the primary reason. The person requested anonymity because neither Auburn nor officials at the tournament have given word on why the swap was made.
Coming off a 9-22 campaign in head coach Tony Barbee's third season, wins will be at a premium in 2013-14. They would have been tough to come by in Puerto Rico, as in addition to Northeastern, the field includes Michigan, Georgetown, Kansas State, VCU, Florida State, Charlotte and Long Beach State. The Wolverines were national runners-up in April's NCAA Tournament, and the Hoyas, Wildcats and Rams all made the field of 68. FSU, Charlotte, LBSU and Northeastern all participated in the postseason NIT.
Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs recently stated that Barbee "has got to produce" in Year 4, and with his job seemingly in the balance, the head coach likely couldn't afford to risk starting the season in a hole and bruising his team's confidence.
|Team||2012-13 record||Postseason result|
|Georgetown||25-7||NCAA second round|
|Kansas State||27-8||NCAA second round|
|VCU||27-9||NCAA third round|
|Florida State||18-16||NIT first round|
|Charlotte||21-12||NIT first round|
|Long Beach State||19-14||NIT first round|
|Northeastern||20-13||NIT first round|