(photo: Julie Bennett. al.com)
”Any time you lose it’s disappointing, especially given how hard this team fights, and how hard they fight together,” Auburn Basketball Coach Tony Barbee after his team lost to No.7 Florida, Sunday, 68-61.
It’s no secret the Auburn Basketball Team has struggled the last couple of years. The Tigers have lost 19 of their last 20 SEC games.
Auburn began this year with a respectable 8-3 record but the start of the SEC season has seen the Tigers fall to 8 – 7. Although Auburn is winless in four SEC games, the Tigers have nonetheless played every game close, losing tight contest in the last couple of minutes.
The Tigers have not won an SEC game in 14 tries but they have come ever so close this year. They lost to Missouri by 2, to Ole Miss by 3, to Florida by 7, and trailed Tennessee by 5 with 2 ½ minutes to play before ultimately falling.
Barbee said this week, “We’re not accepting losing.” That’s a good thing too, because the patience of the Auburn fan base is starting to wear thin. However, he still has a chance to lead his team to a breakout year. He still has an opportunity for this team to do something special. Yet, after four years, time is running out. If he is going to do something, it needs to happen this year.
On the positive side, Auburn does have the league’s leading scoring tandem in Chris Denson and KT Harrell. And the Tigers have fought hard in all four of their SEC losses. Each game seems to have the same story line: The Tigers play tough, keep the score close but can’t make the plays at the end when it matters.
Florida put the game away at the free throw line Sunday and escaped with a victory. While free throws have been a sore spot for Barbee teams, the real Achilles heel this year has been a deficit on the boards. Auburn is 12th in the SEC in rebounding and has been out dueled on the boards by 38 through four conference games. To turn things around, the Tigers have to drastically improve that stat in the remaining 14 games.
Auburn plays Arkansas next Tuesday in the 19,000 seat Bud Walton Arena, one of the toughest venues in college basketball. And the Tigers are on the road tonight to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs, a team Auburn has defeated only once in their last 13 meetings.
Having watched the last four years of Coach Barbee’s teams, this writer believes there is a difference with this bunch. These Tigers stay focused, play with intensity, and keep battling all the way to the buzzer. They have been close in each game. Question is when will they get that first SEC win?
Senior forward Allen Payne says the Tigers can’t be satisfied with just battling teams. “At this point, it’s not good enough to do that. We’re desperate for a win right now.” Maybe that win will come tonight in Starkville.
Lets Go Tigers – Beat the Bulldogs!
Auburn’s losing streak continued against Mississippi State as the Tigers fell to the Bulldogs 82-74 tonight in Starkville.
Tags: Arkansas basketball, AubTigerman, Auburn basketball, Auburn blogs, auburn Tigers, Bud Walton Arena, Chris Denson, Florida basketball, KT Harrell, Miss state basketball, Missouri basketball, Ole Miss basketball, sec blogs, Tennessee basketball, Tony Barbee, Track 'em Tigers