The Auburn Tigers have been the SEC punching bag over the last few years. Winning only nine total SEC games in the last two years (most of the wins coming against other recently subpar teams – LSU, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Ole Miss), Auburn is on route to continue this trend.
However, unlike before, Auburn will have a center around which to build a capable team. Second year coach Tony Barbee landed three 4-star incoming freshmen after not having any recruits over 3-stars in four years. The same Tony Barbee who turned the UTEP Miners from a pushover team into C-USA conference champions in 2010.
Auburn may be a pushover now, but Barbee, along with Cuonzo Martin, may be one of the most underrated coaches in the SEC. This year may belong to the Florida Gators and Kentucky Wildcats, but there is no doubt that the Auburn Tigers are on their way to becoming an NCAA tournament team in the next few years.
Player to Watch:
Frankie Sullivan. This 5th year senior can score. He averaged over 12.5 points a game and almost 1.5 steals a game. If anyone can carry a team on his back, this guy can. He’s played on an underachieving Auburn team for most of his career. Watch for him to lead this team in steals, assists, and points this season. Having a 5th year senior as talented as Sullivan around will also assist in helping to develop the young talent Barbee has recruited. Sullivan’s performance and actions may not just impact this season, but future ones as well.
Sadly, there isn’t a glaring date on the schedule for Auburn. Auburn has had some success against a few great Mississippi State teams over the past few years; so if there is an upset on the horizon, expect the Mississippi State Bulldogs to be involved. The Tigers also play Murray State early in the season. Expect a more talented Murray State to win, but Auburn could throw a few interesting match-ups into the mix.
Predicted Regular Season: 15-13