Auburn had a hard fought win against a pretty New Mexico team yesterday. Their next opponent at the Diamond Head Classic out in Hawaii is none other than the Harvard Crimson, who managed to outlast BYU in overtime 85-82.
The Crimson (yeah, I hate them already) are only 4-6 on the year with a quality loss to Kansas, but otherwise have lost to every team within a 50 mile radius of Boston. They are led in scoring by Zena Edosomwa, who had a very strong performance yesterday with 23 points and 17 rebounds.
The Crimson are well coached by longtime former Duke assistant Tommy Amaker. They are well disciplined on the offensive end, which may not bode well for the Tigers who have really lacked on the defensive end on the floor so far this season. Harvard will back cut and motion a defense to death. The guards have to be wary of back-screens and the post players will have to do a lot of sliding in defensive help.
Really one of my biggest gripes with Auburn has been the poor post play on defense, and maybe that is why we saw more of Horace Spencer yesterday. Auburn must get better play from their big men on the defensive side in stopping penetration and preventing easy entry passes inside. We seem to have this mentality that we can block every shot.
Auburn's offensive success will really depend on how much zone defense Harvard plays. If Harvard gets forced into man to man defense most of the game, Auburn should wear them out mainly due to athleticism, but if Harvard hangs in a zone, Auburn tends to settle for passing around the perimeter and taking a 3 point shot. I'd love to see more inside out play out of this team against a zone, where the ball goes in to the big men, then as the zone collapses, the ball is kicked back out to a guard for a jumper. Right now, there is way too much standing around against opposing zone defenses.
Auburn should win this game, just based on athleticism and size. I don't see anyone on Harvard that will be able to check Canty. My biggest fear is the way Harvard runs the offense. Auburn really must play disciplined or they could really get hurt on the defensive end.
How to watch
Time: 3:30 pm Central
Streaming: The watch ESPN app or watchespn.com
Radio: The Auburn radio network airtime starts at 3 PM .