Riley’s Ramblings: Auburn Basketball Proves They Can Compete With The Best Of The SEC

By January 5, 2018Talent Columns

The Auburn Basketball program is quickly making a name for itself after defeating (23) Tennessee in Knoxville on Tuesday night for the first time since 1998. After the scandal this program went through in the offseason that resulted in two of their projected starters being benched, it’s incredible to see them be so successful. Many Auburn fans even feel that the win at Tennessee should push Auburn into the top 25.

(Video Courtesy: ESPNU)

Even after a successful 12-1 record in non-conference play, there were still doubts about how well the Tigers would fare in their tough SEC schedule. The SEC looks pretty strong this year with four teams in the AP Top 25, but Auburn showed that they are ready for the challenge on Tuesday night. The win should also give Auburn and their fans confidence going into a battle at Auburn Arena against (22) Arkansas on Saturday night. (5:00 tip on ESPNU)

 

Jared Harper has been the brightest star for the Tigers so far this season and has shown more maturity and looks like a better shooter than last season. Harper is averaging an impressive 12.6 points per game, a team-best 5.4 assists per game, and shooting 42.6% from behind the three point line. Everything Harper shoots seems to go down, especially in close games like his three three-pointers in the final four minutes of the Murray State game.

 

Auburn is playing extremely well as a team and the Tigers’ young players are lighting the court on fire. Anfernee McLamore has 47 blocks this season which is seventh best in Division one basketball and shooting 59% from the field, and Auburn as a team is averaging 42.3 rebounds a game which is ninth in division one basketball. Auburn had 22 offensive rebounds on Tuesday night against Tennessee and those second chances were huge in getting the win.

 

All of the New Year’s Six Bowls are in the books, even though only three ended up being entertaining games. Auburn got embarrassed by UCF in the Peach Bowl, especially at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Following the loss, a lot of fans questioned how excited Auburn really was to be in the Peach Bowl against a non-power five opponent. Personally, I think that UCF was much more excited to be there than Auburn (they treated it as a National Championship as it turns out) and that played a big role in their win.

 

The SEC will receive their 11th national championship since the BCS era began in 1998 on Monday night in Atlanta, helping prove the case that the SEC is the best conference in college football. Georgia surprised a lot of people with their offensive performance in the Rose Bowl against Oklahoma on Monday led by Jake Fromm, Sony Michel, Nick Chubb. Fromm, who’s ability to pass in big games was doubted before the game, went 20 for 29 passing with 210 yards and a touchdown. Sony Michel and Nick Chubb combined for 326 yards and five touchdowns in the double overtime victory, but it will be very tough to duplicate that performance against Alabama’s stellar defensive line. I see Alabama winning in a close game.

 

Riley Hubbard

ESPN 106.7

rhubbard@aunetwork.com

Leave a Reply