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A Hard Luck Basketball Season at Auburn

Karma is a bitch. Sooner or later we knew it would happen. For every ball that bounced Auburn's way during the 2010 football season, the opposite has happened for Tony Barbee's basketball team.

Someone had to pay the price.

If there's ever been a more hard luck team in the history of NCAA sports - any sport - please point them out now. Is it too late to ask KISS to sing, Hard Luck Woman at Wednesday's home finale with Ole Miss?

For the second time in four days, Auburn had defeat snatched from the jaws of victory, when it fell to Arkansas in the final seconds yesterday, 57-55.

The West Texas desert probably sounds pretty good right now to first-year coach Tony Barbee. The Tigers fell in similar fashion earlier in the week at Alabama 51-49.

While Barbee will be quick to tell you there are no moral victories, what he's accomplished this year is nothing short of miraculous. I know that sounds weird coming from a team that's 2-12 in SEC play.

One only needs to harken back to December when Auburn fell to Division II Columbus State 54-52 in an early season exhibition game to see how much this team has improved.

Some college basketball experts called this Tiger team the worst in SEC history heading into conference play. That may still be the case on paper.

Grabbing two conference wins over South Carolina and Miss State is every bit comparable to the United States defeating the Soviets at Lake Placid. I'm serious. That's no hyperbole.

Auburn's performance this past week is not far off that mark. Simply put, this is a team made up of players who have no right dressing out in the SEC. That's what makes these close losses so darn frustrating.

Barbee has gotten every ounce of talent and more out of this young team. In this dark cellar of defeat, there's a light shining through that promises better days.

For sophomore Josh Wallace, it can't come soon enough. These close losses are taking their toll.

"It's draining," said Wallace. "We want to win and it hurts. We just need to learn from them and get ready for Ole Miss."

That's typical of Barbee's bunch - always looking ahead. They may take a knife to a gun fight Wednesday night; but you can bet, win or lose, the Rebels will come out with cuts.


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