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Morning Musings: Down, But Not Out

By on March 14th, 2018 in Basketball, News 6 Comments »
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I was in St. Louis this past weekend… covering the SEC Tournament for Mizzou’s campus radio station. Overall, it was a wonderful experience that was tainted only by early losses for both Auburn and Missouri in each team’s first game.

Well, that, and the Alabama radio crew sitting directly in front of me.

During the second half of the Auburn-Alabama game, the crew’s producer was clapping and openly cheering on press row—a big no-no for credentialed media.

At first, other media members laughed and shrugged it off, not taking the unprofessional producer too seriously. However, when the same guy began yelling at players and referees from his spot in the front row, people began to take notice. Giggles quickly turned to silent glares.

When the game ended, the crew turned to familiar faces in the crowd and began to yell and celebrate with Alabama fans that made the trip. Other Alabama media members passed by, delivering fist bumps along the way, until one journalist shouted from behind, “Take the victory party somewhere else!” 

It was entirely unprofessional and, frankly, embarrassing for the University of Alabama to have representatives act so inappropriately in a work setting. 

Now, moving forward… if Auburn wants to make any sort of noise in the tournament, Bryce Brown and Jared Harper need to get it going. As of late, the pair of guards have struggled to find a rhythm offensively, and it appears that Brown is still nursing a shoulder injury.

Whether that’s been affecting the junior guard in-game, I don’t know, but I do know that he, along with Harper, has been shooting extremely well during shootaround and in practice. Why those shots no longer land in a game setting remains a mystery.

As it stands now, with the team in its current form, there are very few scenarios where Auburn is able to make it past the Sweet 16.

One positive moving forward… is that Bruce Pearl and the Tigers held their first contact practice in four weeks on Tuesday. With just eight scholarship players available, the concern with contact practices was entirely related to injuries, but this time of year, it’s win or go home. 

It’s crucial for a slumping team to find change somewhere within the process, and the switch to contact practices might just be the change that is necessary for a tournament run.

The team has had plenty of rest with just one game in nearly two weeks, so fatigue will no longer be a concern. And as disheartening as it was, the loss to Alabama may have been the wake-up call that this team needed.

The worst outcome for this team is to go out with a whimper. The players deserve more than that. Overcoming all of the adversity—the allegations, the rumors, the gossip—this group of student-athletes is too mentally tough for it to end in a similar fashion to Auburn’s 2017 football season. The similarities are there, but they can be put to rest with a strong tournament run.

It’s been a truly magical season, and no one can take away what this team has already accomplished. But it doesn’t have to end just yet.

Never be comfortable. Finish strong. 


  1. Jason Wright says:

    Good write up Cole. But I don’t think unprofessional behavior is “embarrassing for the University of Alabama.” Remember how the school played taunting songs at Cam before the Iron Bowl? The president, the AD and other leaders sat there listening and did not pick up the phone and tell the folks in the P A box to stop the school sponsored taunts. It was only after the school received negative press after the game that the administration denied intentions of “unprofessional” behavior.

  2. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    While I'm glad to see Auburn back in the NCAA Tourney, I wish they could have been in a regional that was closer to home so more fans could make the trip. I would be there if it wasn't on the west coast. I too hope they can make a good showing. To do that they need the long balls to fall (in the net that is). Hopefully the rest will help. Legs are important to jump shots.

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      …..We did a west coast trip back in May of 2017. It’s time-consuming, even if you fly. Expect a very long travel day on each end of the journey…

      • friedca friedca says:

        I moved from San Diego a week and a half ago. Can’t tell you how disappointed I’ve been, especially having not seen Auburn (in any sport) live in 8 years. Out of the military now though and moving to Raleigh NC so hoping to make it down to a game soon. Stopped by Auburn on the drive over and was blown away at all the changes.

  3. Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

    I know you had to have a blast working on radio for the SEC Tournament. No question Auburn has got to flip the switch and put that last game behind them. I have confidence Bruce Pearl can do this. Good post Cole.

  4. […] in full pads, and heads into spring break. The men’s basketball team heads to San Diego to play in the NCAA Tournament. Men’s baseball has taken off this season with a fantastic start, while the softball team […]

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