Morning Musings: A Crushing Blow
USA TODAY Sports
A conference loss on the road… I can handle that. A season-ending injury to one of our own? Now that’s a different story.
Just last week, Anfernee McLemore had one of the best performances in his career against Kentucky. Yesterday, he had surgery on his ankle after suffering a frightening injury on Saturday against South Carolina. The Tigers showed tremendous heart in the second half after McLemore was taken off on a stretcher, but the 26-point first half deficit was simply too much to overcome.
Only a sophomore, there’s no doubt in my mind that McLemore will be back and better than ever next season, but he surely will be missed in March as there will be a glaring hole on defense without the SEC’s leading shot blocker.
With the loss of McLemore… the burden of the Tigers’ size issue on the inside now falls completely to Horace Spencer and Chuma Okeke. This sort of style just simply isn’t sustainable in the tournament. With just eight scholarship players left in the rotation, each and every one will need to play to near perfection for the Tigers even to get past the Sweet 16.
However, there is good news. The Tigers are just two wins away from clinching the regular season SEC Championship with a two-game lead over Tennessee, which includes a tiebreaker in the Tigers’ favor.
The daunting reports of the FBI’s investigation… have plenty of college basketball fans around the country feeling nervous, but I believe Auburn should be in the clear. The program made all the necessary steps before the season even began to make sure that this season would count in the record books.
And for Bruce Pearl? Well, if the FBI had something on him, let’s just say he wouldn’t currently be head coach. Same goes for Auburn’s internal investigation, and Coach Pearl seems to agree, too.
“We’ve complied enough to still be here,” Pearl said on College Gameday. “I wouldn’t be here coaching if there were greater problems.”
It seems like Auburn’s business with the Bureau was handled before the season when Chuck Person was placed in handcuffs.