Despite losing two definite starters before the season start, Auburn basketball has been on an incredible run. Our 9-1 start is the best since Chris Porter’s 1999 squad.
More than the record, there are other reasons to be optimistic. We’re scoring more and allowing less than we did last year. We’re hitting free throws. I didn’t actually know it was legal to shoot good free throws on the Plains. We’ve outrebounded every opponent we’ve played. The offense moves the ball around; the defense doesn’t blow many assignments.
DeSean Murray and Anfernee McLemore have set a great tone inside. DeSean rebounds like his life depends on it. Anfernee wants to challenge every shot. Mustapha Heron has announced himself as the unquestioned leader. Bryce Brown is killing people outside. Chuma Okeke is incredibly smooth and makes plays all over the floor. Jared Harper has matured as a point guard and is an efficient passer and scorer. Malik Dunbar is putting in really quality minutes as a TJ Dunans type utility player. Davion Mitchell was not oversold. Horace Spencer remains a defensive force and is actually hitting free throws!
In short, even without Wiley and Purifoy, this is a really fun team to watch.
People are starting to notice. Auburn was listed among the “Others Receiving Votes” in this week’s AP poll. Auburn is rated 28th in the RPI, 39th in BPI, 43rd in Kenpom, and 47th in Sagarin. The BPI projection tool is calling for Auburn to win over 10 conference games and 21.8 games overall this regular season. TeamRankings has a very similar projection and gives Auburn a 49% chance to make the NCAA Tournament and currently projects us as a 10 seed. BracketMatrix shows that Auburn is seeded in 10 of the 31 major bracket projections, listing Auburn as one of the first four out in their aggregate projection.
Let’s all take 30 seconds to overreact
Now, huddle up guys
The truth is that right now we don’t know how good this Auburn team is. Both of the last two years, we started strong but fizzled in SEC play. Our strength of schedule has been weak but that isn’t entirely our fault. Dayton and Connecticut normally field strong teams but they’re struggling this year. George Mason and UAB are solid, but not great. We have a good idea about Auburn’s floor, but the ceiling hasn’t been tested at all. We also don’t know when—or if—Wiley or Purifoy will return.
The quality of basketball in the SEC is improving everywhere, not just at Auburn. Nine SEC teams are receiving Top 25 votes. Texas A&M and Kentucky are in the Top 10. Rick Barnes has Tennessee in the top 25. If you’re not impressed by SEC Basketball yet
I promised myself that this year, as a fan, I would take it one game at a time. That’s an incredibly hard thing for success-starved, loyal Auburn basketball fans to do. The last time we made the NCAA Tournament was 2003. To give you an idea how long ago that was, Auburn upset Wake Forest and challenge Carmello Anthony’s Syracuse. It was a week after America invaded Iraq. It’s been a minute.
All I know for sure is we’re 9-1 and there’s reason for hope. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, tonight’s your chance. Auburn plays Murray State. The game will be broadcast online on the Ohio Valley’s website. Tune in and catch what promises to be a really fun team.
What Are Your Expectations for This Auburn Team?
This poll is closed
That we will continue laying our guts on the line again and again and keep coming away empty-handed.
I only know that I know nothing.