Auburn basketball: Bruce Pearl considering lineup switch for home opener

Auburn basketball Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
Auburn basketball Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports /

Auburn basketball Head Coach Bruce Pearl hinted that there could be some changes in the starting lineup for the Tigers’ home opener against South Alabama Friday night.

Ahead of Friday’s home opener–one that will not include Sharife Cooper (more on that in a second)–Auburn basketball head coach Bruce Pearl indicated that there could be some tinkering with the starting lineup:

"“Our starters are not very verbal,” Pearl pointed out. “They are all good players, but most of the guys coming off the bench–Jamal (Johnson), JP (Justin Powell), Stretch (Babatunde Akingbola), for sure–are all better communicators than three of the guys playing in front of them. I might need to get one of those guys on the floor with that starting group just for better communication and so if I do make that adjustment, that would be the reason.”"

Pearl had explained that he did not want anyone in the first five to see this as a demotion, but it is clear that the starting lineup could use a facelift. Simply put, there are too many points coming from the second unit right now and not enough from the starters.

Coming out of games flat and allowing the other team to run up the score early on is not a recipe for success. That a UCF squad without stud big man Collin Smith was able to run up the score on the Auburn defense is damning.

Of course, without the star of the class Sharife Cooper due to eligibility issues–oh yeah, the same eligibility issues that are knocking the Tigers out of postseason contention to begin with–this season was always going to feel a tad deflated at all times.

That said, adding at least one double-digit scorer out of the Justin Powell-Jamal Johnson duo to the starting lineup could make all the difference as the Tigers look to do right by the program’s lineage.

Regardless of what accomplishments are associated with this season, the record books will always show that games were (somehow) played during this pandemic-affected season.

History will always look back with the option of honoring a past victory with a good old…*clears throat*…


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