Auburn Basketball: Tigers Predicted to Finish 8th in the SEC


Dec 2, 2013; Ames, IA, USA; Auburn Tigers guard KT Harrell (1) drives the lane against the Iowa State Cyclones at James H. Hilton Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The second day of SEC Tipoff ’15, typically referred to as SEC Basketball Media Days, centered on the 14 men’s basketball teams across the league. As part of the event, the media predicts the order of finish in the conference standings, and this year have pegged the Auburn basketball team to finish eighth.

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To the surprise of no one, the reigning national runners-up Kentucky Wildcats were selected as the unanimous favorite to win the SEC in 2015, taking all 20 first place votes. Florida, Arkansas, LSU and Georgia followed the Wildcats in the top five, while Ole Miss and Missouri were picked ahead of the Tigers in the top half of the conference standings. Texas A&M, Alabama, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi State round out the bottom half.

Finishing eighth in the SEC in 2014-15 would be an improvement for Auburn. The Tigers struggled to a 6-12 conference record last season under Tony Barbee, which put them 12th in the season standings. However, with a new head coach and a revamped roster, there is a lot of optimism for this year’s team on the Plains.

“There are many teams that are going to be fighting for the bubble. I’m hoping that we are one of those teams,” Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl said on campus Tuesday. “What is the bubble? The bubble is the middle of the league. Can we get there? Can we go from the bottom of the league to the middle of the league? When you get into the middle of the league, they start talking about postseason. Those are my goals for this team. I want to still be playing in postseason.”

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  • Pearl is certainly used to the postseason. Entering his 20th year as a collegiate head coach, he has been to the NCAA Tournament 17 times. With the return of K.T. Harrell and Tahj Shamsid-Deen from last year’s squad, plus the additions of Division I transfers K.C. Ross-Miller and Antoine Mason, along with JUCO star Cinmeon Bowers, there’s a chance to get there this season as well. If Pearl can lead the Tigers to the first dance, it will be Auburn’s first appearance in over a decade.

    “We’ve got high expectations, says Harrell. “I think Coach raised them, and we’ve raised them for ourselves.”

    The media also selected the pre-season All-SEC team, as well as the projected SEC Player of the Year, and there were no Auburn Tigers listed. With the nation’s leading returning scorer (Mason) and the league’s top returning scorer (Harrell), that might be seen as an oversight. It might also be used as motivation for the new head coach and the slighted players when they begin the season Friday November 14 against Milwaukee, and in Nashville January 6 when the Tigers open SEC play against Vanderbilt.

    First Team All-SEC

    F Bobby Portis – Arkansas 6-11, 242, Soph.

    F Jordan Mickey – LSU, 6-8, 235, Soph.

    G Michael Frazier II – Florida, 6-4, 194, Jr.

    G Aaron Harrison – Kentucky, 6-6, 212, Soph.

    G Jarvis Summers – Ole Miss, 6-3, 186, Sr.

    Second Team All-SEC

    F Alex Poythress – Kentucky, 6-8, 238, Jr.

    F Karl-Anthony Towns – Kentucky, 6-11, 250, Fr.

    F Willie Cauley-Stein – Kentucky, 7-0, 240, Jr.

    G Charles Mann – Georgia, 6-5, 215, Jr.

    G Andrew Harrison – Kentucky, 6-6, 210, Soph.

    SEC Player of the Year: Aaron Harrison, Kentucky