Not for a moment. Not when we shot 30% in the first half. Not when we were down 13 points in the second half. Not when Bammy rallied from a late 6 point deficit to tie with about a minute left, and all the pressure was on the visiting Tigers. Nope. Not for one second.
OK, so I kinda thought we were toast there for a while in the second half. But not the team. Because this is New Auburn. This isn't the same Auburn team we saw in November, or even in January for that matter. This is a team with the heart and the ability to win in this league. Auburn basketball after January is like Reggie Jackson after September. Like Tiger Woods after Friday. Like Michael Phelps in Beijing after a bong hit. Like A-Rod after a vacation to the Caribbean with his cousin. Oh wait... not those last two. My point is that something has sparked a fire inside this Auburn team. This team knows how to find a way to win. They're no UConn or UNC, not by a lot but they're as good as any team in this league, which is all it takes to get into the Madness.
Timing is Everything
Unfortunately for Auburn, it may be too little too late to garner an invite to the Big Dance based on regular season accomplishment alone. "Bracketologists" (stupid ESPN word for "talking head who specializes in NCAA tournament spew") all agree that Auburn isn't on the bubble. Yet. Even with a win over LSU on Saturday, its still a long shot for the Tigers. The same talking heads agree that Auburn will have to make a big time run in Tampa next week to make it.
The good news: Auburn is peaking at the right time. If we can carry the momentum through this week and into the tournament we have as good a shot as anyone at walking away with at least a couple of wins so we can get a serious look by the selection committee (with a bye, if we win three, we get that automatic bid; I vote we take that route). Jerry* speculates that Auburn's path will most likely go through Arkansas/Kentucky in the first game and Tennessee/South Carolina (possible #1 seeds in the East) in the semis. I speculate that we can beat any of those teams if we keep playing New Auburn basketball.
- David Oku is still indecisive.
- Nothing else.
- Offseason Sucks. Look for an article by my esteemed colleague here in Section 25 later this week on how to deal with the offseason blues.
*Jerry tends to know his roundball a little better than me, so you'll probably want to see him for better details.