The Auburn Tigers have lofty expectations after posting a 27-5 (15-3) record this season as they wait for Selection Sunday. They were in a prime spot to get an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament and had a bye in the SEC Conference Tournament until the quarterfinals but struggled and lost to the Texas A&M Aggies 67-62 in a pretty big upset. Now the fourth-ranked program in the entire country was one and done in their conference tournament so the question arises if they are going to be able to be a serious threat.
Looking at March Madness stats is a critical aspect to figuring out if a team is in a great spot to be successful throughout the NCAA Tournament. Let’s dive a little bit deeper into the Auburn Tigers to figure out how equipped they are here.
There Are Upsets in March
There is a reason why the NCAA Tournament has been dubbed “March Madness” and it is because this is the time of the year where upsets occur on a frequent basis. Good teams also can be built to win throughout the long haul as they are solid regular season teams but not good tournament teams. It’s time to figure out what Auburn is.
They are tied for 23rd in the country with 79.3 points per game and have a good three-headed monster offensively of freshman forward Jabari Smith,sophomore guard Wendell Green Jr, and sophomore forward Walker Kessler. However, they are going to fall pretty far in the brackets as they were unable to reach the semifinals or the finals in their conference tournament. It’s not the kiss of death but it is a cause for concern nonetheless.
Coming Out Flat
You can chalk this up to being just one game but I believe there is some issues after scoring only 21 points in the first half of the game and never having a lead of more than a single point. Their offense was just flat as they shot just 30.4 percent from the floor as a program but the defense was there for stretches.
It seemed like everything that could go wrong offensively did as they missed seven of their 18 free-throw attempts and outside of the trio we mentioned earlier combined for 14 points on 5-of-33 shooting overall and 1-of-18 from three-point range. In tournament action, you need to be able to spread the floor out and not have to question where your points are coming from and unfortunately for Auburn, it feels like that is what has happened.
I think this is a classic example of running on empty as the Tigers are now just 3-2 in their last five games including the SEC Tournament exit that happened. They have put themselves in good positions but teams that are not good enough find ways to lose. Auburn was able to snag 18 offensive rebounds in this game and have some size around the team but not finishing. They have the makings of a potential National Championship run but not the players right now.
They are able to play well defensively as they forced 16 turnovers and could just be some rust but their next game won’t be for another week in order to play again. This could be a massive issue for a team that has been struggling but they just need some hard practices.
This feels like that classic one and done team that gets upset in a 3-14 matchup due to a bevy of issues that are surrounding the team. It could be just running out of gas but they scored 41 points in the second half and maybe just underestimated the Texas A&M Aggies and expected them to roll over. All that is left is a week of over analyzation and projecting their matchups until we finally hit Selection Sunday and see their first round matchup.