What a Friday this has been!!!
First, we get the news of Auburn’s highest ever ranked commit in Jabari Smith.
Now, we have some news about this year’s schedule as well.
With the College Basketball start date backed up to November 25th, it was a question of how was the schedule for Auburn going to change? It appears we have gotten answers on the same day that Jabari Smith committed to the Class of 2021!
Sources: Gonzaga is expected to play Auburn and Houston is expected to face Texas Tech in the first round of a four-team tournament in Orlando during the first week of the season.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 9, 2020
Auburn-Gonzaga during the first week of the season?????? SIGN. ME. UP.
It would appear that the Orlando Invitational has dissolved into this but this is quite the four-team field that has been put together to take its place.
The Zags and Auburn were both slated to participate in the Orlando Invitational. But over the last week or so, Siena and Xavier dropped out, followed earlier today by news that Boise State was moving to the Wooden Legacy to take on a field of Kansas, Seton Hall and UCLA.
Texas Tech was slated to participate in the NIT Season Tip-Off in New York but dropped out and Houston dropped out of the Charleston Classic, which had been moved to Orlando.
One can assume the Tigers would play one (or both) of the Red Raiders or Cougars in Orlando as well but the tournament format remains to be seen.
As for how these teams look at a very quick glance..... let’s just say the kids of Auburn are getting thrown into the fire, literally.
The Zags in many people’s opinion are a Top 2 team going into the season and many have them at #1, including in Andy Katz’s latest Power 36. Yes, Auburn might be playing the #1 team in the nation to kick off the hoops season.
Gonzaga brings back nearly all of their core pieces from last year and add top freshmen Jalen Suggs to the fold as well. This looks to be Mark Few’s best chance at getting that elusive National Championship.
Texas Tech and Houston aren’t slouches either. Katz has Texas Tech at 15 and Houston at 22 in his Power 36 rankings.
Like Auburn, Texas Tech followed up their inaugural Final Four run with a solid season and have added some high profile transfers to the group including Mac McClung, a player Auburn was highly interested in, from Georgetown. Chris Beard is one heckuva coach and has done wonders in Lubbock the way Bruce has done in Auburn.
Houston looks to be the favorite in the American Conference going into the season and will be a touch matchup defensively led by Coach Kelvin Sampson and Kansas transfer Quentin Grimes.
So it would appear Auburn will take on a pair of Top 25 teams to begin the 2020-2021 season. Personally, I can’t wait! We have just 47 days to go until it all begins once again.