It’s hot out there, and to many of us, college basketball is the last thing on our minds. But here at the SEC Microsite, we’re going to be rolling out mid-summer resets of each of the (now) 14 basketball programs in our league. We’re calling it Transition Basketball, and you can expect we’ll cover three or four teams a week until we’re done. By that time, we’ll actually start to be turning the slight corner into the fall, and from there it’s a smooth slope down to Midnight Madness in mid-October. Today’s update: Auburn.
State of the Program
Auburn was host to a losing record, the worst adjusted offensive efficiency rating in the SEC (and one of the worst in all of the six power conferences), and a point shaving scandal in 2011-12. Not exactly the signs of a team on the rise to success. Eight players are gone from a team that went 15-16 overall and 5-11 in conference play, yet coach Tony Barbee has reason for optimism. “In these first couple years, because of the strength of the other teams in the league, it was going to be tough to crack the top half of this league,” Barbee said. “Now I think with the group of seniors we’ve got coming back, the influx of talent we’ve got coming in, we’re a team that’s going to transition from the bottom half of the league to the upper half of the league. That’s my perspective.”
Barbee’s Tigers are slowly making progress, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Auburn notched four SEC wins in 2011. Barbee took another step forward with five conference wins in 2012. Though the Tigers last achieved a winning record in 2009, Auburn hasn’t made an NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003. Barbee’s goal of moving into the upper half of a deep SEC means competing with the likes of powers Kentucky and Florida. Auburn hasn’t beaten Florida since the SEC Tournament in 2009 and hasn’t beaten Kentucky since 2000. With the amount of change the team has undergone in such a short time period, it is hard to fully buy into Barbee’s lofty goals.