Auburn Basketball: An SEC Tournament Win “Would Be Important”


The Auburn basketball team is in Nashville for the first game of the SEC Tournament against Mississippi State. A win “would be important” for the Tigers.

Auburn Tigers (12-19, 4-14) vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (13-18, 6-12)

  • Date: Wednesday March 11, 2015
  • Start Time: 6:00 PM Central
  • Location: Nashville, TN
  • Arena: Bridgestone Arena
  • TV Info: SEC Network
  • Live Stream: WatchESPN,
  • Odds ( Mississippi State (-1)

The 2014-15 season hasn’t gone well for the Auburn basketball team, especially in the second half of the year. In fact, everything went south when the Tigers were upset 78-71 at Auburn Arena on January 21.

Mar 7, 2015; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers guard KT Harrell (1) is fouled by Georgia Bulldogs forward

Nemanja Djurisic

(42) during the second half at Auburn Arena. The Bulldogs beat the Tigers 64-61. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into that game, Auburn was 10-7 overall, 9-1 at home, and 2-2 in the SEC and with plans of finishing in the top half of the league standings. Instead, they’ve now lost 12 of their last 14 games, including every single home game – a program worst seven straight losses on the Plains.

There are several reasons why the Tigers have struggled, but the most glaring is the fact Auburn has been at a size disadvantage all season.

Playing with a small roster has led to the Tigers finishing dead last in the SEC during the regular season in scoring defense (72.1 points per game), field goal percentage allowed (.470), rebounding (31.3 per game), opponent rebounds (37 per game), rebounding differential, (-5.7 per game) and blocked shots (2.6 per game).

The Tigers have also had depth issues all season, including a handful of injuries to an already thin roster. Plus, the SEC is stronger from top to bottom than it has been in recent seasons.

But, because the SEC Tournament begins today in Nashville, all the teams in the league are 0-0 and all the stats from the regular season have been wiped clean. Auburn could even make a Cinderella run and win the tournament and find themselves in the NCAA Tournament. It’s a long shot (500-to-1, in fact, according to online sports book Bovada), but it’s possible.

Of course, even one win in the SEC Tournament would be an important step for the Tigers in Pearl’s first season.

RELATED: Harrell Left Off All-SEC First Team

“The quality and the depth of the league have a lot to do with the fact that we have put together a bad run here at the end, and that we have been shorthanded,”Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl said this week. “A win in the tournament at any point in our young history would be important. It would be something that we could put in the left column as an accomplishment.”

Beating Mississippi State would help Pearl and Auburn to enter the off-season with some momentum and allow the four seniors on the roster to experience the thrill of victory at least one more time as college basketball players.

A win won’t cover up a disappointing 12-19 regular season record – Pearl’s first losing record as a college head coach – but it’s something to build upon. Of course, to win the Tigers have to find a way to beat a bigger, stronger opponent that dominated them earlier this season.

“The reflection on the season or how important a win would be for our program is stuff that I can’t control right now. I have to focus on what game plan will give us a chance.”

For Auburn to win, the Tigers need another strong performance from All-SEC Second Team guard and the league’s leading scorer, K.T. Harrell. With Antoine Mason back in action following a three game absence following the death of his father, Harrell will have some help on the offensive end. If Pearl can get his squad to pressure the Bulldogs on the defensive end, Auburn should pick up a win.


  • #5 Cinmeon Bowers, F, Jr., 6-foot-7, 278 pounds, 12.6 PPG, 9.7 RPG
  • #25 Jordon Granger, F, Jr., 6-foot-8, 210 pounds, 4.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG
  • #23 T.J. Lang, G, Fr., 6-foot-7, 193 pounds, 2.4 PPG, 1.2 RPG
  • #1 K.T. Harrell, G, Sr., 6-foot-4, 212 pounds, 18.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG
  • #12 K.C. Ross-Miller, G, Sr., 6-foot-0, 178 pounds, 6.7 PPG, 1.8 RPG


  • #20 Gavin Ware, F, Jr., 6-foot-9, 255 pounds, 10.2 PPG, 7.2 RPG
  • #23 Travis Daniels, F, Jr., 6-foot-8, 219 pounds, 6.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG
  • #25 Roquez Johnson, F, Sr., 6-foot-7, 210 pounds, 9.4 PPG, 5.2 APG
  • #32 Craig Sword, G, Jr., 6-foot-3, 196 pounds, 11.0 PPG, 2.7 RPG
  • #15 I.J. Ready, G, So., 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, 7.9 PPG, 2.5 APG

Next: Auburn Football: 2015 Spring Practice Preview

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