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Auburn, Ala. – Following Auburn’s first-round SEC Tournament defeat to Missouri, Auburn’s postseason hopes appear to be dashed. With Auburn’s postseason drought on the verge of being extended to eight years, Tiger fans are wondering if Auburn Basketball has improved under Bruce Pearl.
It is no secret that Tony Barbee left the Auburn program in a bad place, but how far has Auburn come since his departure? When just comparing the records of Barbee and Pearl, Auburn has taken small steps in the right direction.
Both head coaches posted a win percentage lower than 50 percent. Barbee finished his time at Auburn with a 49-75 record and a .40 win percentage, while Pearl has accumulated a 44-54 record and a .45 win percentage.
Furthermore, Pearl has led Auburn to a winning season, their first since 2008-09, something Barbee failed to do in his time at Auburn. The Tigers seem to be on track to do even better next season.
In his first season on the plains, Pearl recorded a 15-20 record in 2014-15 and followed it up with an 11-20 season in 2015-16. Although there was a drop in overall wins, Auburn did win one more conference game in 2015-16 than the year before, including a victory over the Kentucky Wildcats.
Then there was this season. Auburn posted an 18-14 record with a 7-11 record in conference play. Considering that this is Auburn’s first winning season in seven years, it sounds like Auburn is developing. Right?
The metric statistics suggest that this year’s Auburn squad is better than the two before it. This season, the Tigers posted their highest points per possession under Pearl with a 1.035. That is slightly above average for college basketball teams.
Auburn also posted their best opponent points per possession stat under Pearl this season with a 1.024. That is slightly below average for college basketball teams.
When you subtract opponent points per possession from points per possession, a statistic called efficiency margin (EM) is derived. This is an indicator of how good a college basketball team is. Auburn finished this season with their best efficiency margin under Pearl with a .011. To put that in perspective, at this point in time North Carolina has a .16 and that is one of the best EMs in the nation. A .011 suggests that Auburn is an average basketball team.
The year before Auburn had a -.10 EM making them a poor basketball team in the eyes of metrics. For Auburn to make a .111 jump in EM over one season, that is a major sign of improvement.
Auburn is in an unprecedented point for recruiting as well. Auburn signed their first five-star recruit in program history when they landed Mustapha Heron. They followed that up with the signings of Austin Wiley, Chuma Okeke and Davion Mitchell, all of which are high profile recruits.
With the amount of talent and core of this year’s team returning coupled with the arrival of Mitchell and Okeke, all indications point toward next season being even better for the Tigers.
The season ended bitter sweet. Auburn might have ended the year by losing to the worst team in the conference in the first round of the SEC Tournament, but hope can be seen through the smoke of the dumpster fire that was the Auburn program at the end of this year.
Back away from the cliff Tiger fans. Auburn is taking steps in the right direction. Baby steps, but steps nonetheless.
The Auburn Tigers scored a run in each of the six innings they came to the plate Wednesday night. The Tigers won 10-4 over rival Opelika.
Junior Ted Benda stole the show for the tigers, as he went a perfect three for three in the game with two home runs and four RBIs. Rowdy Jordan finished the game two for three in the game with an RBI. Junior Ryan Lambet also recorded his first home run of the season, as he finished two for three with an RBI and a couple of runs scored.
Brooks Fuller started the game for the tigers and got credit for the win for his 4.0 innings allowing just two hits and two earned runs.
Auburn High improved to 8-3 on the season.
Head Coach Matt Cimo will be giving the Tigers some time off as Spring Break approaches. Auburn’s next game will be next Friday, the 17th, when they host Sparkman. That game will be broadcast on ESPN 106.7 at 11:00, and may be streamed online at espnau.com and on the ESPN 106.7 app.
The Auburn High baseball team hopes to rebound from a tough road trip to Theodore last week with a win against arch rival Opelika tonight. Auburn comes into the game boasting a 7-3 record, while Opelika holds a 5-5 record. Auburn senior Rowdy Jordan currently leads the team with a .524 batting average, 10 RBIs, and 12 runs scored. Junior Garrett Morris is also off to a hot start in 2017, as he holds a .364 average, with 7 RBIs and 12 runs scored.
Auburn High’s pitching has been a bright spot early in the year, as senior Drew Williams holds a 1-0 record and a 0.88 ERA. Reliever Cole Maxwell has yet to allow an earned run in four appearances for the Tigers.
Scott Bagwell and Riley Hubbard will be on the call for the rivalry game begining at 7:00 CT tonight on ESPN 106.7. The broadcast may also be streamed online at espnau.com or on the ESPN 106.7 app.
Auburn High basketball made an incredible run at the 7A State Championship, but came up just a bit short to Mountain Brook in the championship game in Birmingham on Saturday by a final score of 63-43. The final score doesn’t show how competitive the game was, as the Tigers were only trailing 38-32 after the third quarter. Playing in the final game of his high school career, senior Garrison Brooks led the team with 11 points. Antoine Pitts, also playing in his final high school game, recorded six points and nine rebounds, both in their final high school game.
Auburn finished the season with an impressive 23-10 overall record, including an imprssive run to the state championship game with wins over Robert E. Lee, Central-Phenix City, and Vestavia Hills.
The Auburn High baseball team had a rough couple of days at a round robin style tournament at Theodore High school, as they win just one of the four games at the tournament.
Offense was hard to come by in the first game against Spanish Fort on Friday as Auburn lost in extra innings by a 2-1 final. Ted Benda scored the lone Auburn run on an error in the fourth. Spanish Fort won the game in the tenth on a walkoff hit batsman with the bases loaded. Auburn starter Drew Williams pitched 5.0 innings allowing just one run and two hits. Cole Maxwell also pitched two hitless innings out of the bullpen.
Later in the day Friday, Auburn dropped another game against Saraland 6-5. The game was scoreless through four full innings until Saraland scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth. The tigers responded with five runs in the top of the sixth, coming on a bases loaded walk to Rollins Cleveland, a Clayton Phillips RBI single, and two wild pitches, giving Auburn a 5-4 advantage. But in the bottom of the seventh, a wild pitch and an RBI single allows Saraland to take the walkoff win 6-5. Junior Clayton Phillips went one for two in the game, with one RBI and a run scored.
On Saturday, Auburn finally notched a win against tournament host Theodore 6-5. AHS got the scoring started in the top of the second on a RBI single by Clayton Phillips, followed by an error that scored another. Theodore then scored a run on an error in the bottom of the second, making the score 2-1. Theodore took advantage of an Auburn error in the fifth to tie the game at 2. Rollins Cleveland put the tigers back on top in the top of the fifth on an RBI single, giving the tigers a 3-2 advantage. Theodore came back with a three run bottom of the fifth to go back in front 5-3. In the top of the seventh, the Tigers responded with an RBI groundout by Carter Hunt and RBI singles by Cleveland and Trey Woodham that gave the tigers a 6-5 advantage. The Tigers went on to win by that score. Cleveland finished the game two for three with two RBI. Richard Preus got credit for the win for his 3.0 innings out of the bullpen.
In their final game, Auburn fell to Spanish Fort by a 5-2 final. Auburn drew first blood in the top of the third on a single by Carter Hunt that scored Garrett Morris. Later in the inning, Cleveland drove home Tanner Jones on a RBI ground out, giving the tigers a 2-0 advantage. Spanish Fort scored on an Auburn error in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to 2-1. Spanish Fort scored one in the fifth, then added two more in the sixth. Spanish Fort went on to win 5-2. Ryan Lambert started the game for the Tigers, allowing no earned runs through 4.1 innings
The next game for the tigers will be at home against rival Opelika. That game will be broadcast on ESPN 106.7 starting at 7:00. The game may also be heard online at espnau.com or on the ESPN 106.7 app.