Monday, March 2, 2009

Basketball Jones

Less appropriate/PC original Cheech and Chong version here.

First of all, congratulations to Coach Nell Fortner and the Lady Tigers, outright winners of the SEC regular season title! The achievement was the first in 20 years for Auburn, and they punctuated it in a "statement game" type of way. Arkansas was a hot team, coming to Auburn on Sunday on a five game winning streak, and was playing to finish above .500 in SEC play. Lesser teams might have laid an egg, but not these Tigers. Instead of sleepwalking through the game, they looked as good as ever, putting up over 90 in the 37 point rout of the Arky-hogs. Look for them to go deep into postseason play. Big kudos to CNF, who, unlike certain other roundball coaches, set a goal of winning the SEC and achieved it, regardless of any obstacles (cough cough... facilities... cough cough) that stood in her way.

Speak of the Devil.

The men are riding an impressive 6-1 run since the embarrassment in Oxford, are playing some of their best ball in the Lebo era, and have a chance to lock up the #2 spot in the SEC west and a bye in the tournament. The only loss in that span came in a well played game against the 11th ranked SEC champion LSU Tigeurs in Baton Rouge. I maintain that had that game been played in Beard-Eaves, its a 7-0 run for Auburn. Nonetheless, I won't withdraw my previous jab at Lebo. At least not until the end of the season, and depending on the way it's finished. Lebo's guys have a tough week ahead of them starting with a dangerous game tomorrow night in West Vance, and wrapping up at home with senior day and a chance to avenge their loss to the Tigeauxrs.

In spite of the Gottfried situation, the Bammies have pulled together and rattled off three straight wins, including a thrashing of Ole Miss in Oxford on Saturday. Auburn had better treat this one as seriously as they take the next one, or the #2 spot in the west is in serious jeopardy. Auburn must win tomorrow night to secure a bye in the first round in Tampa*.

Obviously, if they play like they've been playing for the past month or so, it shouldn't be a problem. Fun with numbers: over this 6-1 run, Auburn's bench has outscored their opponents' 112-48 including a 36-0 performance in Starkville. The Tigers also hold a +25 turnover ratio in this run. These are going to be the keys in West Vance tomorrow night: Auburn's strong bench, and ball control.

Prediction: Bama makes a strong showing, but New Auburn Basketball is just too solid. Auburn wins 78-65.

Bonus Prediction: My finance teacher gets a rock through her car window if I don't get out of my test randomly scheduled for tomorrow night by tip-off. [Disclaimer! OK, that last prediction was in jest. Somewhere in Section 25 does not endorse vandalism, no matter how much it is warranted by ignorance of in-state rivalry]

*BTW, who on God's green earth decided to put the tournament in Tampa. Obviously the concept of "central location" is lost on some people. Even the womens tourney is in Little Rock. What is that all about?

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