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JwgreDeux

What I saw - Alabama

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FINAL: Auburn 84 Alabama 64

 

After a first half full of jitters and self-inflicted mistakes, we played free and fast and opened it up late, cruising to a HUGE 20 point win over bama. This could represent a turning point for this young team. For the first time we saw seamless transition from one personnel grouping to the next. I really liked the way that CBP rotated players, cutting the rotation down, evening out Harper and Johnson's minutes, and expanding Wiley and Brown's minutes. 

Purifoy did in fact return, playing nearly 30 minutes, and while his statistical production was limited, he played his best defensive game of the season so far. He recognized passing lanes, shifted over to help, had active hands and disciplined position almost all night. Alabama is not great offensively, but if he can defend like that more often, look out for this group. Speaking of defending, Brown was very good on the defensive end, locking down Ingram for most of the game (4 turnovers, 3 assists, and only 8 points). Ingram is bama's facilitator, and Brown bottled him up, and therefore frustrated their entire half court set. The team overall, played with great energy and much improved communication on defense. Again, bama isn't great offensively, but combined with the good defensive showing against LSU, this is beginning to look like an improved defensive trend. 

This was a game of two halves. The first half we came out overhyped and tight. It showed, but we battled to keep the game tight. At halftime we were tied after playing the entire half at their pace and on their terms. Once the second half got underway, the game clearly was going in our directing, speeding up the pace, more aggressive defense, and our guys settled into the game. 

Several guys played good games. In addition to what I already mentioned about Brown, he played well on offense, letting the game come to him, shooting 50% on threes (both off of the dribble, creating his own shot). Wiley was assertive on offense, in my preview I said that I thought he could have a big night based on the matchups and he had his best game yet, nearly a 20/10 game. He was a force on both ends rebounding and gave us a glimpse of how dominant he can be as he continues to adjust to the college game. Heron also had a great night. He let the game come to him, not forcing much. He was too passive in the first half, but found his groove in the second half, in part thanks to some driving and dishing of Johnson.  Johnson has begun to earn more minutes thanks to his coolness down the stretch. He and Harper might be the best combination of point guards in the league. Other teams have better starting points, but I'm not sure another team has a combo that is better. McLemore had a quietly good game, with 6 rebounds and quality defensive minutes, he continues to show his value. Smith and Lang didn't touch the court as there was no foul trouble on the team, and that will likely continue as the season rocks along. CBP and the players are all starting to settle into roles and it looked great last night. Particularly, the rotation of Johnson, Brown, Heron, Purifoy and WIley, looked like a quality basketball team. I still like Harper starting and Johnson coming off the bench. Harper has had a few rough games, but I think his struggles vs bama were more matchup issues than Harper issues. I expect him to get back on track sooner rather than later. 

What does this win mean? It puts us tied for 8th in the league, but only one full game out of 5th. Our RPI is now 70 and with South Carolina and TCU awaiting (both top 30 teams) we have a real chance to make a move next week if we can find a way to get a win. 

Enjoy this win, it could prove to have been a big moment in this season. War Eagle. 

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Can you bring any light as to why Bama had multiple open 3 point looks from the wing? Is one of our guys getting drawn into a double team leaving that man open? The defense has improved the last two games, and we even frustrated Kentucky some, but I've noticed we've seemingly been caught leaving an open 3 point shot.

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If we somehow win both games next week would that put us on the bubble? I know winning both is very unlikely and that going 0-2 is far more likely but was just curious

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2 hours ago, AUTigersfan89 said:

Can you bring any light as to why Bama had multiple open 3 point looks from the wing? Is one of our guys getting drawn into a double team leaving that man open? The defense has improved the last two games, and we even frustrated Kentucky some, but I've noticed we've seemingly been caught leaving an open 3 point shot.

Usually it happens off of a break or offensive rebound or some other loose ball situation. That leads me to believe it is an inability to communicate and matchup. Has gotten better over the last few games and I would look for that to continue. 

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1 hour ago, au302 said:

If we somehow win both games next week would that put us on the bubble? I know winning both is very unlikely and that going 0-2 is far more likely but was just curious

We'd be 15-6 and .500 in the league with several good road wins. I think we would be on the outside looking in but in the discussion. 

We will be 10 point or more dogs in both games. So even a split would be good and help our case. 

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Really glad to hear that. The fact that you said splitting will even helps gives me more hope.  I don't think we're tournament quality but if we can string some wins together then we may have an outside shot come march.  But let's just hope we keep doing well and not implode like past years

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With regards to the tournament- typically, an SEC team that has 20+ wins is at least going to be a bubble team. It certainly depends on RPI and SEC record, but if we can get to 20, we'll at least get some air time with the talking heads. 

If we beat TCU, we will need 6 more SEC wins to reach that 20 game mark, which would be a final record of 9-9 in the SEC.

If we lose to TCU, we'll need 7 SEC wins, a final record of 10-8.

20-11 with a 9-9 or 10-8 SEC record and an RPI in, roughly, the low 40s.

Good Wins: Texas Tech (Neutral), Oklahoma (Neutral), @Connecticut

Bad Losses: Boston College (Neutral) 

 

ill get some flack for lumping the Connecticut win in there, but any time you beat a team with that historic caliber on the ROAD, that will be recognized as a good win. If we can pick up one or two more good wins ( S car, TCU, Arkansas, Florida, or some more road SEC wins) we will be building a good resume. The Vandy game could come back to haunt us if they falter a bit down the stretch. I'm rooting for vandy and BC the rest of the season and hoping we take care of the most business that we can.

Edited by tigerbrotha12

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This was Wiley's coming out game. He has started to use his big body better to shield the defender and make himself available for the pass. He has improved his free throw percentage and has improved his rebounding. Post defense still needs some work as sometimes the other teams big man pushes him back into paint where they can catch and score easily but he has improved there and will continue to improve there.  He scored inside against bama and was fouled shooting around that basket a good bit with a  little improvement he will finish about half the shots where he was fouled so he will shoot FT as a three point play.  While I mentioned a few things he needs to work on I am amazed at how much progress he has made in such a short period of time. This young man is good and will continue to get better.  

Having his inside presence on O will open up other players for easier shots.  Despite their SEC record bama is not a great team this was a great win and along with improvement in LSU game portends well for the rest of the season but we still have a tough schedule and we have to be careful about setting unrealistic expectations as this team is still young and will still have those frustrating moments that we saw in both bama game and LSU game that we were able to overcome. Against better teams we may not be able to overcome those moments. 

No matter what the rest of the season brings this is the best basketball I have seen at Auburn in years and our future looks bright.

 

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If we can somehow split these next 2 games I'll be happy.

Wiley is a difference maker for everyone and our more compact rotation now is allowing guys to find their groove. I like it

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I think I will be content if AU can be competitive in both games. I still think AU is going to struggle to get into the NIT, so my expectations aren't super high this year. Next year I expect AU to be a bubble team at least.

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I was able to catch the replay yesterday and by was that a fun way to end the game. Love the 3 at the end. Announcers couldn't even get on Keim too much for taking that shot. Nice memory for a guy who will never get a whole lot of playing time. 

But lots to like in this game. We kept up with bama in the first half while playing the game at their pace and then we blew them out in the second half when we started playing "our" game. Nice games by several different guys. Johnson, Wiley, and Heron had the best games. It was nice getting Purifoy back and he contributed in different ways. With each game i get more and more excited about McClemore. That guy is going to be beastly by the time he leaves AU. I'd put him right up with the rest of the true freshman that we fans should be excited about. I might even rank him ahead of Harper at this point. Speaking of Harper he struggled again which was too bad. But not unexpected for a young guy with his size. He is going to have a hard time playing against physical guards until he can bulk up a bit more. Looks like refs aren't calling his flops as much anymore which I thought was coming. He needs to save those for critical moments in the game. 

Game atmosphere looked awesome on tv. Students were getting rowdy and it seemed LOUD in there. Really hope AU will give the team that can of atmosphere for more than just rivalry games but we gotta start somewhere. 

Always fun to beat bama. War Eagle!

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