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Midweek Mailbag

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

Raleigh seems to be the best placement for Auburn in regional play. How far do you see the Tigers getting in the tournament, and what could potentially be their downfall? - PlainsmenDoItBetter

You are correct, Raleigh is just about the most fertile soil for this Auburn baseball team to grow. Think about it this way, you are going to face a pitcher you’ve already seen in game 1, albeit you didn’t have much success against him in the first outing, you’ve seen his pitches and can adjust. In game 2, you will be facing the ACC pitcher of the year on his home mound, however you have the top pick in the MLB draft toeing the rubber for you, then you have Andrew Mitchel/Davis Daniel going in game 3 if you can get past the Wolfpack for a chance at the Supers.

My personal goal for Auburn since the end of the 1st game against FSU (I had written off last year after that don’t survive a gut punch like that in Tallahassee...) was for this season to get to the Supers, and this team is in prime position to do that. I will say if they can get to Gainesville (or back to Auburn if the absolute upset of the century happens) that will hit my expectations. Worst case scenario, Auburn drops game 1 to a Northeastern team out to prove they belong. In this scenario, Auburn would go Davis probably against Army and then Andrew vs Northeastern in the other elimination game (at least that’s what I would do and hope it works) then have Casey for game 1 on Sunday and then go anyone that can give me innings on Monday and pray the offense is red hot.

The downfall in the end for Auburn will be Auburn’s in-ability to be able to string together hits against pitching that can locate breaking pitches and off speed stuff. Auburn is a fastball hitting team, with the exception of Jarvis and Estes and a few other random at bats, which is why I am nervous for the winner’s game Saturday night if Auburn can make it there. All that said though, I have Auburn winning this regional in my bracket and facing Florida, even with all their question marks, late season skid and injury issues. - Drewmac20

With the successes of so many different squads, would you call this one of the most successful years in all Auburn athletics? - PlainsmenDoItBetter

I’d have to say yes. Obviously, football is the big indicator, then basketball, but historically I’m not sure we’ve had a slew of teams that have done this evenly well (even without winning a bunch of championships). Just since the SEC Championship Game has been in effect, Auburn’s won the West six times (not counting “co-championships”). In those six years, men’s basketball has had a winning record twice, and both of those years they were barely above .500 (1997-98 and 2000-2001). You might have to go back to the Pat Dye/Sonny Smith years to find the last time that football and basketball were both consistently good together, but they didn’t even win titles in the same season during the 1980s.

Baseball was alright in those years, with a Super Regional appearance in 1998, but they lost in the Regionals in 2001 and 2005. Softball wasn’t even a thing before a few seasons ago, and Equestrian titles never coincided with football success except in the 2010-2011 year.

The point is that we don’t have an outright bad team. Women’s basketball isn’t great, missing the NCAAs for the first time in three seasons, but that might be it. In terms of top-to-bottom consistency, this may very well be Auburn’s best year. We don’t have a ton of banners, but we’ve had good to great teams in nearly every sport. - Jack Condon

What’s your best projection for the starting roster and rotations off the bench? What do you think a reasonable expectation for next year’s team would be? And why should we as rational Auburn fans completely ignore those reasonable expectations and get hyped for a Final Four run? - DesertWegle

NOTE: Will tackled this question pretty in depth yesterday here, so give this a look. But, with as excited as everyone is, we thought we’d give you some more attention here.

Alright, lets answer these one by one...


1 - Harper/Doughty

2 - Brown/Doughty

3 - Purifoy/Dunbar

4 - McLemore/Okeke

5 - Wiley/Spencer

Auburn has 9 guys who should be playing good minutes. While Bruce has said publicly his biggest concern is PG depth, this team still has a lot of flexibility. We have four guys who have college experience at the 5, and both Dunbar could play the 4 in a pinch. If you wanted/needed to add some depth at the 2 (maybe Samir was playing more minutes at the 1, or if you just wanted to give Malik more minutes at the 3), you could conceivably let Danjel split time with Bryce. The point is, this is a versatile roster, and as is it should be able to withstand injuries or shooting funks better than last year’s team.


You asked what a reasonable expectation for this team is. Sorry, but expecting a championship or even a Final 4 is reasonable just yet. Is it possible? Very much so. But for a program that’s never made it past the Elite 8 and a team that got bounced in the second round last year, we just aren’t there at the moment. So I will set my reasonable expectation at a top 3 seed, an Elite 8 appearance, and about 24 wins. Worst case, this should still be a top 8 seed and a second round appearance. Best case? This team has the ability to win it all.

That brings me to the last point of your question. And for that, I have to bring in someone more learned than myself. Someone that has seen more Auburn basketball than myself, that will know how to navigate the tumultuous water that is preseason hype. I now turn to Dr. Carvalho, journalism professor at Auburn.

Can we just get the full Cam Newton 7x7 team to come play at Auburn? In reality, how many prospects play for them and which do we have a shot with? - elcarg4

Cam Newton is the gift that keeps on giving. For those that aren’t aware, Cam runs his own 7v7 on team and is highly involved in their practices and games. Naturally, a ton of top prospects want to play on his squad and get the chance to learn from/hang out with the 2010 Heisman trophy winner. Last year’s team included guys like Justin Fields, Kearis Jackson and Smoke Monday. This year’s squad has an equally impressive list of names, including these major Auburn commits/targets:

Haselwood has been an UGA commit for a long time but both Auburn and Oklahoma are not giving up until he signs. Both coaching staffs think Haselwood is very flippable while there seems to be plenty of confidence on the Dawgs side he will stay. Spending a lot of time around Bo Nix and George Pickens can do nothing but help Auburn’s chances. I fully expect Haselwood to take an official visit to the Plains at some point.

I haven’t written much about Puckett but he’s a name to know in this class. Auburn likes him at either wide receiver or cornerback and he’s expected on campus this weekend for Big Cat Weekend. Puckett has also already set his official visit to Auburn for October 12-14 when the Tigers host the Tennessee Volunteers. He’s honestly one of the most dynamic playmakers in the state of Georgia in the 2019 class.

Burrell is an interesting name to track. When he dropped his top 7 last week it did not include the Tigers. Auburn worked quickly to change that fact, getting him on campus at the end of last week. He told DawgNation that Auburn is firmly in his top group now. Auburn wants to load up at cornerback this class and Burrell is a guy to watch this fall.

Two future names to file away are Deonde Jackson and Julian Nixon. Jackson was briefly committed to Auburn before stepping back from his commitment. He will more than likely remain a top Auburn target in next year’s class. Nixon is only a rising sophomore but already holds offers from the likes of Auburn, Georgia and Ohio State. The Tigers are expected to be a major factor in his recruitment.