Listen, I know we’re talking about a program that — despite counting the likes of Charles Barkley, Chuck Person, and Wesley Person amongst its alumni — has hardly a modicum of basketball tradition, but this is getting ridiculous.
New coach Tony Barbee isn’t yet finding the same success he had at UTEP, where he went 82-52 over four seasons, including a Tourney appearance last year.
No, following Saturday night’s 62-59 loss to Presbyterian, Barbee and Auburn are now 3-7 on the year, and despite 8 of those 10 games being played at home.
Oh, and it’s not like the odds have been firmly stacked against the SEC West squad either. Just look at who’s doing the damage…
- UNC-Asheville (L 70-69 in OT)
- Samford (L 79-68)
- Campbell (L 61-54)
- Jacksonville (L 69-55)
- Rutgers (L 63-54)
- @ South Florida (L 61-49)
- Presbyterian (L 62-59)
For the record, there are Camels, Dolphins, and Blue Hose in that group. That’s right, Blue Hose.
As far as mascot morale goes — the vicarious effects of which I posit should not be overlooked — that’s pretty pathetic. Thank goodness Auburn managed to edge Arkansas-Pine Bluff 76-72, or we’d be adding “Golden Lions” to the list as well.
Considering Auburn offers the dual threat of both Tigers and War Eagles, the embarrassment on The Plains right now is likely approaching Eric Ramsey-like proportions, but at least the potential for a BCS title is there to distract fans from these hardcourt horrors for the next few weeks. Right?
Now, to be fair, this team is very young. Only two players averaging more than 12 minutes a game are Juniors or Seniors.
However, when you’re 3-7 with Auburn’s schedule — let alone the fact those three wins came against Middle Tennessee State, Div. II Georgia Southwestern, and, of course, the Golden Lions of Arkansas-Pine Bluff — I’m not sure youth is a reasonable excuse.
Is Cam Newton available after January 10th? I’m not necessarily kidding. He’s got the size and athleticism, no? If nothing else, that smile of his might exorcise whatever demons are possessing Auburn Arena at the moment.
But yeah, again: I’m not saying the college basketball world was expecting Auburn to be contenders. For anything.
This far removed from the 16 wins per season former coach Jeff Lebo — now at ECU — was reeling in, though?
Incidentally, I suppose Lebo’s coaching stock has never been higher.