Morning Musings: Picking Up Steam
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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 Wiley, has continued to improve, even at such a young age.
I’ve had my doubts this season, but Bruce Pearl has been able to ease my worries a bit recently with a string of strong performances. Auburn has quietly stepped into the NCAA Tournament spotlight as a bubble team following wins against TCU and Alabama—a season sweep against the Tide. Barring a season-ending collapse, the Tigers will make a postseason tournament of some kind. Whether it’s the NIT or the NCAA Tournament is still up in the air, but there’s no question that Bruce Pearl has this team headed in the right direction.
Art Briles will never… coach any level of football again. And that’s a good thing. It’s disgusting to think just how much knowledge he had of the entire situation during his time at Baylor. Auburn dodged a bullet with that one, and it was very encouraging to see just how quickly that idea got shut down by university officials.
On the note of Baylor, given everything that has surfaced regarding the program over the past few years, and now with the latest news of an assistant coach being involved in a prostitution ring, I believe the only fair punishment would be to give the football program the death penalty. The NCAA needs to allow the immediate release of all Baylor players as well as cover the cost of scholarships for players that transfer to schools that have no room for more scholarship athletes.
Do I think that this will happen? No. Absolutely not. The NCAA has continued to show its incompetence over the years regarding sanctions, and it seems like the association places a heavier focus and punishment on institutions that break recruiting rules over universities that cause actual harm to other people. It’s sickening, to say the least.
The coaching carousel across the state… is an absolute circus at this point. Nick Saban is having trouble holding on to an offensive mind that fits his system…and his personality. First, a week before the College Football Playoff, it was Lane Kiffin that was “let go.” It was no secret that the two were constantly butting heads throughout Kiffin’s tenure at Alabama, and the Tide’s quiet offensive showing in the SEC Championship game seemed to be the final straw for Saban. Then, Steve Sarkisian was brought in to take over the reins as head play-caller. This experiment lasted one game.
It’s pretty apparent that Saban is, and has always been, a complete and total control freak. The man demands to have a handle on all facets of the program.
The whole situation is just fascinating to me.