The Auburn Tigers might be the most surprising team of the 2013-14 college basketball season so far in the SEC. Picked to finish last in the conference in the preseason media poll, the Tigers finished 8-3 in non-conference play, with a good win over the Clemson Tigers wedged in the middle.
However, with the difficult SEC schedule coming up, Auburn will be struggling to finish the season with a winning record. The Tigers open up SEC play against the Ole Miss Rebels and play seven strong SEC teams before playing another weaker conference opponent, the Georgia Bulldogs. I don’t believe that Auburn will finish last in the SEC as predicted, but the Tigers are going to struggle due to their lack of depth.
The good news for Auburn is that they have two of the best scorers in the SEC. Transfer from the Virginia Cavaliers, KT Harrell leads the SEC in scoring, and Chris Denson is third in front of players like Jordan McRae, Julius Randle and Marshall Henderson. If another player can step up and contribute for the Tigers, then they may have an opportunity to pull off a few unexpected wins that boost their confidence going forward.
Auburn would be competing for a place in the 2014 NCAA Tournament if they had not lost Jordan Price to transfer and Shaquille Johnson had not been dismissed. Tony Barbee has the Tigers moving in the right direction, and they will be a top half SEC team in the future. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case this season, as they finish in the bottom five of the SEC and come nowhere near the 2014 NCAA Tournament.