It’s been a long week. That’s a statement we can pretty much all agree on, right?
Well, the SEC decided it was high time to throw everyone a bone on Friday morning, with the release of the long-awaited SEC Basketball Schedule!
- Dec. 30 (Wed.) vs. Arkansas
- Jan. 2 (Sat.) at Texas A&M
- Jan. 6 (Wed.) at Ole Miss
- Jan. 9 (Sat.) vs. Alabama
- Jan. 13 (Wed.) at Georgia
- Jan. 16 (Sat.) vs. Kentucky
- Jan. 20 (Wed.) at Arkansas
- Jan. 23 (Sat.) at South Carolina
- Jan. 26 (Tue.) vs. Missouri
- Feb. 2 (Tue.) vs. Georgia
- Feb. 6 (Sat.) vs. Ole Miss
- Feb. 9 (Tue.) at Vanderbilt
- Feb. 13 (Sat.) at Kentucky
- Feb. 16 (Tue.) vs. Mississippi State
- Feb. 20 (Sat.) at LSU
- Feb. 23 (Tue.) vs. Florida
- Feb. 27 (Sat.) vs. Tennessee
- March 2 (Tue.) at Alabama
I’m sure Dr. McLaughlin will be providing you with a more in-depth look at the schedule in the coming days and weeks, but here’s a few quick reactions I have:
- Auburn picks up its traditional home and homes with UGA, Alabama, and Ole Miss, as well as home and homes with Arkansas and Kentucky. That’s a somewhat tough draw, with those teams ranking 13th, 6th, 5th, 7th, and 1st in the SEC in preseason KenPom.
- Speaking of KenPom, Auburn ranks 66th in the country and 10th in the SEC going into the season. This is understandable given Auburn’s lack of any returning production, and most places expect Auburn to outperfrom that ranking this season.
- Auburn has a chance to struggle early if road woes continue as they have the last few years. Five of Auburn’s first eight conference games are on the road, although the opponents may be fairly forgiving. Only Ole Miss of that group is in the top six of the conference in preseason KenPom.
- The week of January 9th-16th could be a wild ride for basketball fans’ emotions, as the team hosts Alabama, visits UGA midweek, and then hosts Kentucky the next Saturday. Something tells me we will see a host of reactionary declarations that week - what kind depends on the outcome of those games.
- Auburn will have a three-conference-game-home-slate at the end of January, but that will be broken up by Auburn traveling to Baylor on January 30th.
- The talk about Auburn’s extremely young team rounding into shape by the end of the season will need to be true. Starting February 13th in Lexington, the rest of the schedule (sans likely Mississippi State) could be against NCAA Tournament hopefuls. Auburn finishes the regular season at Kentucky (1stin the SEC in preseason KenPom), vs Mississippi State (12th), at LSU (3rd), vs Florida (4th), vs Tennessee (2nd), and at Alabama (6th).
- Count me in for locking Tennesse in as our last home game of the year every season. This will be the third straight year Auburn has faced its biggest rival on senior day, and I think it’s safe to say those games have gone pretty well for Auburn in the past.
Source: Auburn and Appalachian State have agreed to a multi-year series starting this year at Auburn.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) November 6, 2020
2022: At Appalachian State
2023: At Auburn
We don’t have a date yet, but Auburn and App State have agreed to a 2-for-1 series, per Rothstein, which will start with a home game this season.
App State has been a middling Sun Belt team for the last decade or so. They won the regular season title four times in the 2000’s, but last made the NCAA tournament in the 1999-2000 season.
Head Coach Dustin Kerns helped start a nice turnaround for the program in his first season last year, bringing the Mountaineers their first winning season since 2011.
No date is provided for this years game at this time.
Jon Rothstein tweeted out one more bit of news this morning, this one about Auburn’s season opener.
Fort Myers Tip-Off schedule, per release:— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) November 6, 2020
11/26: Kansas/Gonzaga (1:30 PM ET), Auburn/St. Joe's (4:30 PM ET)
11/27: Gonzaga/Auburn (11 AM ET), Kansas/St. Joe's (1:30 PM ET)
While it was previously expected that Auburn and St. Joe’s would tip off the season on Wednesday November 25th, we’ll have to wait one more day.
I do love the idea of watching the season-opener with a stomach full of Thanksgiving feast, but the fact that Auburn now has to play Gonzaga on 16 hours rest is less than ideal. That’s 2020 for you, I guess.