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What is The College Basketball Invitational and Should Auburn Accept an Invitation if Offered?

By on February 21st, 2017 in Basketball, News 9 Comments »
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Bruce Pearl says Auburn has been in a dialog with the College Basketball Invitational committee (photo: USA TODAY Sports)

5138596CBIlogoColor me embarrassed or color me stupid. Either way, when news broke yesterday that Bruce Pearl might consider Auburn’s participation in the College Basketball Invitational Tournament, I have to admit I didn’t know what the CBI was. I certainly know about the once prestigious National Invitational Tournament, which in recent years has been relegated to something akin to a minor bowl game for those teams not good enough to be invited to the NCAA Tourney, a.k.a. “The Big Dance.” But the CBI, what’s that?

A quick look at its web site tells us the tournament started in 2008. Tulsa was the first CBI Champion, and the University of Nevada, Reno defeated Morehead State to win the crown in 2016.

According to the Tourney’s home page, the CBI selects 16 teams that fail to receive an invitation to the major tourney (NCAA) or the minor tourney (NIT). Like the NIT, teams compete on home courts in a single-elimination format. The final two teams play a best-two-out-of-three championship series.

Much like minor bowl invitations, the minimum threshold for an NIT invitation is low. Only a .500 season is required to qualify for selection. So some of the teams the CBI considers are on the .500 bubble, and others are under .500. Sounds prestigious doesn’t it? I’m sorry, I can’t understand the need for a minor—minor  national tournament despite the fact that this year’s championship game will be picked up by ESPNU.

Don’t misunderstand, I’m not trying to be negative. Anyone who has followed this column knows I’ve been accused of being a sunshine pumper. But the idea of a tourney comprised of teams that can’t even qualify for the NIT  just doesn’t have much appeal to this fan.

I’m sure all the arguments used for the plethora of bowl games can be applied here: what does it hurt, the schools get extra practice time, and the players get to play for a trophy. That last one has the ring of the present day little league practice of giving every one a trophy. Used to be that trophies were awarded for superior achievement. Nowadays, if you participate you earn deserve a reward.

Would Auburn accept such an invitation? Bruce Pearl has indicated it’s a strong possibility. “They’ve contacted us,” said Pearl. “And we’re in dialog with them, so yeah … that’s something we would look at.”

While there have been some well known schools to play in the CBI, including Loyola, Oregon, and Texas A&M, others have elected not to accept invitations, including Indiana in 2014.  I support coach Pearl, and I’m glad he’s at Auburn, but if an invite comes to play in the CBI I hope the school will turn the offer down—participation trophies notwithstanding.

Of course it will be a moot point if the Tigers finish strong and make the NIT field.

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Auburn Women’s Basketball Looks to Save Season in Final Week – Face Alabama Tonight

By on February 20th, 2017 in Basketball, News 4 Comments »
Katie Frerking (13). 
Alabama vs Auburn in Auburn, Ala. on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. 
Zach Bland/Auburn Athletics

The Tigers are currently 15–12 overall and in the middle of the league with a 5–8 SEC record. A 20-win season is still within reach if the ladies can win their last three contests and snatch a couple of wins in the SEC Tournament. Do that and a WNIT bid is assured, and an NCAA berth is within the realm of possibility.

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Signing Day to Season Finishes: Who Converts Stars to Wins

By on February 20th, 2017 in Football 21 Comments »

With national signing day wrapped up and future stars signing letters of intent, the next step is spring football before the long wait until September. Recently, Auburn relieved Scott Fountain, a recruiting guru and Auburn's special teams/tight ends coach, of his duties, replacing him with Larry Porter. As Track 'Em Tigers writer Jay Coulter wrote, Malzahn is doubling down on recruiting. Should he? Read how Auburn has done with its five-straight top ten recruiting classes.

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A New Start For Auburn Baseball

By on February 17th, 2017 in Baseball, News 5 Comments »
Butch Thompson 
Auburn baseball vs Troy on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 in Auburn, Ala.  
Photo by Wade Rackley/Auburn Athletics It’s hard to believe it's that time of year again. It's time for baseball, that great American pastime. And on the college level, baseball usually comes before the beginning of spring. And, like spring, it awakens thoughts of new life.It brings hope and stirs the imagination like no other sport. After all it is part of the Ame... Read Full Story

This and that in Auburn

By on February 16th, 2017 in Football 5 Comments »
Adding on More construction at Jordan Hare Stadium is planned (Photo by Acid Reign)     War Eagle, everybody! It's another brisk February morning in the state of Alabama, and I'll look back on the week that was. We have leaking Tiger basketball defense, trouble with the trees, softball off to a great start, offensive football me... Read Full Story

Auburn Basketball Drops Another

By on February 15th, 2017 in Basketball 7 Comments »
C4uHeQRUYAARSjx Auburn dropped its second consecutive game on Tuesday night against 15th-ranked Florida, 114–95. The Gators set a school record for most points scored in a conference game. This should be the nail in the coffin for Auburn's NCAA Tournament hopes, as the Tigers' conference record drops to 5–8. Joe Lunardi predicts that four ... Read Full Story

Auburn Leaves Puerto Vallarta 3–1, SIUE Next

By on February 14th, 2017 in News, Other Sports 2 Comments »
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Auburn kicked off the season with a win against the No. 1 team in the nation before dropping a close game to the 14th ranked Washington Cougars, The Tigers wrapped up the trip to Mexico with two wins. Read how the Tigers accomplished these wins and see who they play next.

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Tuesday Ramblings From The Plains (Valentine’s Day Edition)

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A look at what's happening this week on The Plains: from Valentines to Toomer Oaks to recruiting to Auburn chances at March Madness and more.

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Tigers Notch “Worst Loss” Of Pearl’s Tenure

By on February 13th, 2017 in Basketball, Memories 3 Comments »
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The Tigers were flirting with "the bubble" once again as they headed into a matchup with Ole Miss. The winner of the game would move into the top half of the SEC. Auburn played its best half of basketball before playing its: worst.

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Malzahn Doubles Down on Recruiting

By on February 13th, 2017 in Football, News 13 Comments »
We may never know why assistant coach Scott Fountain was shown the door by Gus Malzahn. Coming off one of the best recruiting jobs of his career, Fountain was ceremonially dumped last week to make room for former Memphis coach Larry Porter.Porter is regarded as one of the top recruiters in the country and is expected to help Mal... Read Full Story

New Look Tigers Split Doubleheader in Mexico

By on February 10th, 2017 in News, Other Sports 23 Comments »
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The Women's College World Series runners-up returned to action in a spectacular matchup in Mexico against the National Champion Oklahoma Sooners before taking on the Washington Huskies in the nightcap game. Read about the action.

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Changes and Turnover

By on February 9th, 2017 in Football, News 10 Comments »
Addition Let's put the press in the corner of the end zone AND take away their parking.     War Eagle, everybody! Wow, has this been a mind-blowing week. There is lots of news in the Auburn world, and quite a bit of it is of the head-scratching variety. The program has announced a new construction project that will add a toweri... Read Full Story

Why Would Auburn’s Best Recruiter Not Be Returning In 2017?

By on February 8th, 2017 in Football, News 15 Comments »
-70f6a4c79852b6bbjuliebennett This is the time of year for the collegiate coaching carousel to be swirling. And there have been some surprise changes among the SEC coaching ranks in recent days. First, came news that LSU had relieved wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig of his duties the day after national signing day. Then Nick Saban and Steve Sarkisian pa... Read Full Story

Morning Musings: Picking Up Steam

By on February 8th, 2017 in Basketball, Football 5 Comments »
9774308-ncaa-basketball-georgia-auburn Auburn basketball... picked up its fifth conference and 16th total win last night after defeating Mississippi State in a high-scoring battle that seemed like it would never end, 98–92. Mustapha Heron led the way for the Tigers once again as he scored 17 points with six rebounds and four assists. And freshman center, Austin W... Read Full Story

Tuesday Ramblings From The Plains (Super Bowl Edition)

By on February 7th, 2017 in Baseball, Basketball, Football, News 14 Comments »
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Jonathan Jones #31 of the New England Patriots celebrates after the Patriots defeat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28  during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  Getty images Jonathan Jones can now tell others never to give up on their dreams. The defensive back was an All-SEC selection at Auburn, went undrafted in 2016 but played in the Super Bowl Sunday night. He became the first former Auburn player to become a Super Bowl Champion as a rookie. I’m not a big Super Bowl fan or for that matter an... Read Full Story

Jared Harper Named SEC Freshman of the Week … Again

By on February 6th, 2017 in Basketball, News 2 Comments »
58992740c3038.image Auburn’s Jared Harper has garnered another SEC Freshman of the Week award as the league office made the announcement today in recognition of his play against Alabama and Tennessee. It was the Atlanta native’s second selection this season. The point guard had two rebounds and a steal against the Vols while hitting five three... Read Full Story

Pearl Takes Control of the State

By on February 6th, 2017 in Basketball, News 4 Comments »
Was Saturday a turning point in the tenure of Bruce Pearl? That’s a question we’ll know in time. What we do know is the 82–77 win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa was a turning point in the state."There are some places where you win and they don't count any different in the win/loss column, but they just matter more. Even when I... Read Full Story

Tigers in the Top Ten Recruiting Again!

By on February 2nd, 2017 in Football 18 Comments »
Davidson Impact Will any newcomers make a big impact, like Marlon Davidson did?(Photo by Acid Reign)     War Eagle, everybody! Another national signing day has come and gone, and I know I'll breathe easier in the coming months. I look forward to this circus every year with about the same amount of enthusiasm as I'd have for a trip to ... Read Full Story

National Signing Day – Short Wrap-Up

By on February 1st, 2017 in Football, News 9 Comments »
AU_NSD National Signing Day 2017 is for the most part over, and Auburn appears to have done "okay." For whatever it is worth, the Tigers seem to have signed another Top 10 class, coming in at #9 nationally.Auburn didn't end this year's NSD with a 5* "Boom" announcement like last year but, instead, started the day off with 5* Calvin Ash... Read Full Story

National Signing Day – Live Open Thread

By on February 1st, 2017 in Football, News Comment »
logo-768x677 War Eagle!!Welcome to Track 'Em Tigers and our Live Open Thread for National Signing Day 2017.Please feel free to join in below and follow us all day long as we keep you updated as recruits announce their commitments and Letters of Intent are received by the Auburn Athletic Department.Any surprises in store? Stick around and let... Read Full Story

National Signing Day – Track ‘Em Tigers Primer

By on January 31st, 2017 in Football, News 5 Comments »
Ready and Waiting Hello again and War Eagle!  Here is a bit of a National Signing Day primer where we re-visit what we know along with a couple of new developments that have occurred during the past 24 hours. Track 'Em Tigers will be hosting the NSD Live Open Thread starting at 7:00 AM CT and will be providing updates all day until all is said ... Read Full Story