Auburn has won 17 games this season and it is only the third season since 2003 in which the Tigers have won that many games, but it feels like a disappointment. Most people, including yours truly believed Auburn needed at least two wins out of its last three games to close the season out with a trip to a post-season tournament. That didn’t happen, and now it will take a win against Mizzou and then at least one win in the SEC tournament for Auburn to even have a hope at making the NIT. Weirder things have happened, but I just wanted so much more for this team.
Auburn loses games in such predictable ways. Most of the time it gets up on a team and then blows the lead in the early second half on the way to a double digit loss. The past two losses, however didn’t follow the script. Against Arkansas Auburn was lulled into a slow, Big 10-like game it couldn’t win. Auburn’s biggest strength is its pace. It can get up and down the court at astounding speeds and can break the back of any defense. Arkansas dictated the pace of play and Auburn had zero say in the matter.
Austin Wiley was bad. Real bad. Like, I want him to forget that game ever happened. I’m really glad he came to Auburn early, because he is going to need another year of college if he wants to make a quick jump to the NBA. His game is neutralized in so many weird ways by teams he should dominate.
What’s going on with Ronnie Johnson? He wasn’t himself against Arkansas and barely played against Georgia. He was crushing it in the SEC the past few games until these last two. Strange to see him disappear from a scoring standpoint.
Against Georgia, Auburn played about as well as we could ask it to against one of the best teams in the SEC. Georgia was fighting for its postseason life as well, and Auburn just didn’t have what it took to knock the Dawgs off in Athens. Georgia has the one trait Auburn just doesn’t: experience. (And Offensive Rebounding)
Auburn has to beat Mizzou. Getting 18 wins, with a chance to add to that total in Nashville would be special for this team. The postseason is still a possibility, but a distant one. Now we see how much fight this team still has left in them.
Looking further ahead
Personally, I think this team needs another offseason of practicing to gel. I don’t think anyone on this team will be silly enough to declare for the draft, but the worry of transfers is real to me. I remember losing Toney Douglas to Florida State, and he was a player that ended up in the League. I think Pearl is a good enough coach and likes these guys enough they will all stay. Replacing some of the seniors will be tough, but I think Pearl is excited about the incoming class and these freshmen have been really good. I’ll do a season in review article in a few weeks, but this season is not a genuine disappointment—just synthesized sadness. If next year’s team doesn’t win 20, that will genuinely bum me out.
Still, I thought we were going to win these two games, and we lost them. It sucks.
This week in a Gif
Sorry for the late/short post this week. I’m on vacation, and the wifi isn’t super awesome in Portugal I guess. Anyway, War Eagle and Get Buckets.