Morning Musings: They’re Just Getting Started
How secure is Bruce Pearl on The Plains? (photo:USA TODAY Sports)
Maybe next year. It’s a phrase that is all too familiar for Auburn fans. Always looking toward the future, rarely able to live in the moment.
I was ready to about the future. How Auburn most likely has its entire rotating cast returning next season with possible additions of Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy. Ready to about how hungry next year’s team will be after the way this season ended. But that wouldn’t give the 2017-18 Auburn Tigers the credit they deserve.
With Purifoy and Wiley, my prediction was a #1 or #2 seed in the NIT. Even without the pair, they won the conference and went dancing. Nothing can take that away.
It was a great season that ended with whimper, but I assure you that Sunday’s game against Clemson is not the lasting memory of this season. The wound is still fresh, but it’s only temporary.
Bruce Pearl has laid the groundwork for a powerful dynasty, and no matter what the media or rival fans want you to believe, he isn’t going anywhere. It’s exciting to look toward the future, but I hope you all will appreciate what this team gave us this season — through all the rumors, allegations and turmoil — and what they managed to set up for years to come.
Tony Barbee’s Twitter trolling… was childish and petty. For a basketball program that is certainly below average in level of success, Barbee managed to finish with the lowest winning percentage of any Auburn head coach with more than a two-season tenure.
Coach Pearl took the high road this season by urging fans to “be classy” to the former coach ahead of his return to Auburn Arena back in February, and this is the way Barbee returns the favor to Pearl and his team. It’s despicable.
In his fourth year at Auburn, Pearl has taken Auburn to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In Barbee’s fourth year, the Tigers finished 12th in the SEC standings. He was quickly fired and he was forced to crawl back to his friend and former colleague, John Calipari. Bitter much?
With no more basketball and football still five months away… it’s the perfect time to start paying more attention to Auburn baseball. The Tigers won a series last weekend against No. 10 Texas A&M, which boosted them up from No. 13 to No. 6 in the latest Baseball America top 25.
But this is just the beginning. In the SEC — a league with six teams in the top 10 — it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Led by the arm of top MLB prospect Casey Mize (who just added a cut fastball to his arsenal) and the bats of freshmen Steven Williams and Edouard Julien, the Tigers are loaded with enough talent to win the conference and go to Omaha.
Auburn was picked to finish sixth in the SEC west and 12th overall in the coaches’ annual preseason poll, and they now sit with a 19-2 record to start the year.