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Hindsight is 20/20: Tigers Wilt Late vs UGA

Auburn was in control. Until they weren’t.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia at Auburn John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
NCAA Basketball: Georgia at Auburn John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

It looked so rosy. Auburn was cruising with a 12 point lead. Then Georgia went on a 10-0 run. Then they did it again. Georgia outscored Auburn 20-6 in the final 7 minutes

Auburn had no answer for Maten and Georgia’s inside game, and they couldn’t stop dribble penetration by Frazier.

Basically we saw a young team tonight get schooled by a veteran team. Georgia never panicked, weathered the storm and won going away.

I think this was a really good test for Auburn, and for 28 minutes, they were up to the challenge. Unfortunately this is a 40 minute game.

Auburn right now has a ton of talent. More individual talent than Georgia, but they are not the team Georgia is. That is a team that has won 20 games in each of the last 3 seasons. They are a recent SEC stalwart, and quite frankly it is easy to forget how solid a team they are.

Other random thoughts:

  • Austin Wiley is good enough to play in the SEC right now on the offensive end, but he is no where close to being ready on the defensive side. Not all of that is his fault, mind you. He rarely had to guard anyone over 6’6” in high school. And he is learning on the job. He will get better and be a dominating player in the league if he sticks around for a year or two.
  • Live by the 3. Die by the 3. Auburn will beat people they shouldn’t this year just from being hot from behind the arc. But they will lose games they shouldn’t when they are cold, unless they learn to buckle down defensively.
  • I hate Auburn’s offense. I do. As a guy who was born a son of a son of a college coach it is infuriating. It’s AAU styled “and-one” junk , basically meaning it is built on isolation and beating a guy one on one. Auburn’s not alone in this, 90% of college teams play this way now. Too often these days, teams stand around until the shot clock dwindles. I saw flashes of really good motion with penetration and kick outs tonight, but it was few and far between.
  • Tonight was one of the few times I have been disappointed with the defensive intensity. Auburn looked lost on the defensive end too many times. I thought there were unnecessary switches, which often led to wide open looks.
  • Officiating tonight was one sided. I thought the zebras decided to take over the game mid way through the first half. Lots of tricky tack fouls around the goal benefitted Georgia, who got to the rim more. Auburn was content to settle for open jumpers, and never really took the ball to the goal consistently. Maten had 2 fouls early and had to sit. He never picked up a 3rd for the rest of the game. When Fox put him back in with under 10 minutes left in the first half, Auburn never challenged him to draw that 3rd foul. If he’s sitting most of the first and second half it is likely an Auburn blowout. So yes the officiating in the box score will look one sided, but Auburn did not take advantage of the game being called tight in the paint, and it is probably the biggest reason for the loss.

So Auburn falls to 0-1 in SEC play, but it is a long season and this group will get better and better. How far they go is still an unknown. Potential is great, but I had a coach once tell me potential is a dirty word. I still think Auburn can make some noise, but after tonight our expectations should be tempered a bit. Next up is Vanderbilt on the road. It’s a tough place to play, but Vandy is rebuilding so it should be a great opportunity for Auburn to steal a win back on the road.

War Eagle anyway...