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This Week in Auburn Hoops: Week 6

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NCAA Basketball: Auburn vs Boston College
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The 12th was my birthday. It started out terribly: I woke up at 3am to watch the Cowboys lose to the Giants, and then had to get to the airport by five to fly to America. Well, first I had to fly to Madrid. My flight was supposed to go from Düsseldorf to Madrid and then we were to fly Madrid to Dallas. There was fog in Madrid, which was so bad it slowed the whole of European aviation to a standstill. Our flight was delayed leaving Germany by two hours because of this fog. Of course, we missed the flight to Dallas, and had to sit in Madrid until someone admitted they could reroute us to Miami. It is amazing how five people working for the same airline in the same country can have vastly different opinions as to how much they can help me. Anyway, we made it to Miami—which is not Dallas—where we had to spend the night on our own dime because the airlines don’t cover you on weather delays. By the time we got to the hotel, Auburn had just lost to Boston College. I left Germany as the Cowboys lost, and arrived in America to see Auburn lose on the same day. American Airlines and Iberia Airlines admitted to me today they have no idea what country my bag is currently in. I admit I have no idea where Auburn is going to find rebounding.

Last Game

Auburn lost to the worst team in the ACC on Monday in New York. It was the worst game Auburn played this season, and needs to be their rock bottom if they want to win more than zero conference games. Auburn was out-rebounded by 17. Auburn had fewer total rebounds than Boston College had defensive rebounds. I know I harp about this team’s lack of rebounding every week, but what this box score shows is a dreadful rebounding team. Historically bad.

Auburn’s big three was more like a big two. Jared Harper couldn’t find the basket, shooting 20% and only taking one free throw—which he missed. Young players are going to have up and down games, but Auburn can’t win if he is going to have a 5/2/3 game in 25 minutes. That isn’t good enough, because Auburn only has two other guys right now who can even think about knowing how to score. Either Harper or Brown have to get double-digit points each game.

This game was an abomination. Monday was awful. Hopefully American Airlines can find my bag and Auburn can find some rebounding before tomorrow.

Next Game

Auburn plays host to Coastal Carolina on the 15th. Auburn has yet to lose a home game this season, and needs to bottle up senior guard Elijah Wilson if it wants to continue that streak. He is an experienced player who is capable of getting hot from three and dropping twenty points without breaking a sweat.

From a rebounding standpoint, the Chanticleers (made-up word) won’t be a difficult matchup for the Tigers, as their best rebounder is only 6-8. Auburn should be able to out-rebound this team if it is ever going to do it.

Things I think about this team

I think Bryce Brown needs to come off the bench. Currently he is playing the fourth-most minutes on the team, and has fallen into a black hole of despair on offense recently. He is shooting 25% from three on the season. A trip to the bench might be the thing he needs to get out of this slump. Also, TJ Dunans could replace him in the lineup, giving Auburn a better rebounding starting five and adding another long defender to the court. It also would move Heron to the two, which is his more natural position anyway, I think. I’m just a JV girls basketball coach—and Bruce Pearl is a great college coach—but this is the adjustment I would make after watching the last few games.

Things I know about this team

Auburn has two guys carrying the Tigers on their backs. This is obvious to anyone with eyes who watches these games, but look at the stats!

percentage of the team’s total stats accounted for by these players

Almost half of Auburn’s total made threes and points, a third of its assists and rebounds, and almost two thirds of its made free throws come from two players. This isn’t a sustainable way to win games. In each of Auburn’s wins, a third player has stepped up to help these two with the load. Auburn needs someone to be a consistent third man, because against good teams Purifoy and Heron will struggle if they are counted on to pull this kind of weight.

Things I want to see from this team

New Williams. I want to see him. He has yet to record a minute on the court and there has been no word as to why. Is he hurt? Is he in the dog house? Are they saving him as a secret weapon? According to his Instagram, he was in New York for the game. Does Bruce Pearl honestly believe he can’t do better than what Bryce Brown did? If Williams could get one offensive rebound he would have gotten more than Horace Spencer and LaRon Smith grabbed COMBINED.


Until next week,

War Eagle and Get Buckets