I am not the best person to be talking to you about basketball by any stretch. We've got some great basketball experts on here and for the most part I will lean on them for the details about what's happening or not happening with the Xs and Os of Auburn basketball. The goal going forward will be to bring you a "3 Thing We Learned" review such as Clint did last night as soon after the final horn as humanly possible. That will be followed the next day by a more detailed break down with fun stats.
So, I want to take the time to show you some nifty interactive graphs our own WarRoomEagle has come up with to help us with analysis of basketball games. They're especially poignant this afternoon for showing the areas where Auburn struggled Tuesday morning.
First, let's look at some general stats.
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As you can tell from these graphs, Auburn had some serious issues with their shooting percentages. The Tigers didn't take advantage of free throw opportunities, and at times it appeared they were just throwing the ball up and hoping it would go in. Auburn squandered numerous opportunities by rushing down the court and taking shots without attempting to set up a better shot or to drive inside.
From what little I understand, Bruce Pearl likes to play fast and aggressive. That can and will definitely pay off for Auburn. But the Tigers are going to have to actually make the shots they take if it's going to work. The final score shows a game that just got out of hand, but there were plenty of times where the Tigers could have tied or taken the lead even going into the long scoreless stretch had they just capitalized on the chances they were given or created.
Speaking of that long scoreless stretch:
<iframe width="600" height="371" seamless frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src="https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1GrzlJ_o9K5kbKDlX1bW2Vg55rfqYONLU8OkXJ-hWUAw/pubchart?oid=2050870133&format=interactive"></iframe>
From almost 13 minutes to go until just under 6 minutes to go, the Tigers did not score a single basket. This was following almost immediately after a similar 4 minute scoreless stretch early in the second half, as well. The Tigers also had a 4 minute scoreless stretch in the first half.
That's bad. That means that Auburn spent half the game without scoring a single point. I realize that's not the best way to word that or attempt to draw a conclusion from, but I think you see what I'm getting at.
Some of this can be blamed on Antoine Mason's absence, but not all of it. It goes back to the FG%. The Tigers had chances to score, but they just couldn't get it done.
Another big factor was the obvious size disadvantage on the part of the Tigers. There were times that it looked like Colorado players barely even needed to jump in order to put the ball in over the top of a Tiger defender at the basket. While 7'1" Center Trayvon Reed will provide some height when he arrives in January, but it will take a while before he's able to fully contribute.
So what can we take away from last night? The Tigers faced a tourney team from a year ago returning virtually the entire squad. They are a very good team expected to contend for the PAC12 title. The end result might be lopsided, but if you watched the game, then you know the Tigers fought hard. They fought hard through the weird timing of the game and the altitude in only their second game in a new scheme without two players that were expected to be starters before the season began.
In short, this is a team with potential. I don't know what that potential is, but I know they have it. There may be only two or three teams they'll face in the SEC that are as good as that Colorado team. I have a feeling the Tigers are going to take us on quite a ride this season. There will be some great highs, and there will be some depressing lows (like last night's final results), but it's going to be fun.
Most importantly, the Tigers are going to get better. This is a team that I feel will serve notice to the rest of the SEC this season. The future is bright for Auburn basketball, and it's starting right now.