Auburn Basketball Drops Another
USA TODAY Sports
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 SEC teams will make the tournament, and with tonight’s loss Auburn drops to 11th in the conference standings.
Both teams had 50 at the half, but Florida surged forward in the final 20 minutes of the game, scoring 64 points. In the last three games, Auburn has allowed 62, 63 and 64 points, respectively.
The defense is troubling to say the least, but on a more positive note, Auburn’s offense has been shining.
Six different Auburn players scored in double digits, however Mustapha Heron had a rare off-night—the freshman guard scored just nine points.
It’s certainly a tale of two halves with this team. Part of it can be attributed to the youth of the team, but part lies on the shoulders of Bruce Pearl. The recent second-half collapses will be the reason why this team doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament, or worse, no tournament at all.
There’s really no doubt in my mind that Coach Pearl can and will turn this around. With a string of strong recruiting classes already on the roster, and with another on the way, talent will not be an issue for this program for years to come. Execution will be the biggest key to the Tigers’ success from this point forward.
This final part of the season will be a crucial test for this team’s durability and resilience. Auburn has five games remaining against Texas A&M, LSU, Arkansas, Georgia and Missouri —all of which are very winnable. Not to mention, the conference tournament could give the Tigers an opportunity to turn a few heads.
I may be beating a dead horse at this point, but I’ll say it once again. Give Coach Pearl time, because he’s earned it. He has all of the necessary building blocks set in place for a successful program, and I am fully confident that we will begin to reap the benefits next season. Patience is key.