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CBS Early Preseason Rankings


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22. Auburn

21.Virginia

20. St. Bonaventure

247Sports: This week, Auburn landed one of the top big men available in the transfer portal in North Carolina's Walker Kessler. Last season for the Tar Heels, Kessler averaged 4.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks in just 8.8 minutes per game. Pairing Kessler with incoming freshman Jabari Smith, a 247Sports Composite five-star recruit and the No. 5 ranked player in the recruiting class of 2021, could give the Tigers one of the best frontcourts in the entire SEC. 

https://247sports.com/college/auburn/LongFormArticle/College-basketball-preseason-rankings-update-Ohio-State-Tennessee-Kyle-Young-John-Fulkerson-164325885/

 

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Crazy how much adding one player can change the perception of a team. He does give the team a whole new dynamic. Imagine if Thor actually decides to come back.....

Next year is going to be the most talented team we've had at AU. If Pearl can get these guys playing together and bonded over the offseason look out. 

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1 hour ago, gravejd said:

Crazy how much adding one player can change the perception of a team. He does give the team a whole new dynamic. Imagine if Thor actually decides to come back.....

Next year is going to be the most talented team we've had at AU. If Pearl can get these guys playing together and bonded over the offseason look out. 

Imagine if Thor comes back AND Scoot reclassifies and comes to Auburn...

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4 hours ago, gravejd said:

...

Next year is going to be the most talented team we've had at AU. If Pearl can get these guys playing together and bonded over the offseason look out. 

based on this alone,  I just put in a bet on auburn to win it all next year. with excellent odds to boot.

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I have a question that probably has already been discussed and answered. After all of this transferring and reclassifying settles down and ends when do these kids sign on the dotted line?

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This is them underestimating our new back court. With Coop and Powell we were top 5 predicted and that's without Kessler. Sorry but I think both Zep and Green are better than Powell, and I think they will be fine to replace Cooper. No way on paper this isn't at least a top 12ish roster. 

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1 minute ago, AuburnMike86 said:

This is them underestimating our new back court. With Coop and Powell we were top 5 predicted and that's without Kessler. Sorry but I think both Zep and Green are better than Powell, and I think they will be fine to replace Cooper. No way on paper this isn't at least a top 12ish roster. 

...I don't know that I'd be saying that. Both are probably better at handling the point, but Powell at the 2 would have been pretty awesome to see. Tis too bad he decided to leave.

And I don't know one way or the other about where we'd rank at the moment. If JT comes back and Scoot reclassifies to come to Auburn, then I can't really imagine any team being better on paper, but we'll have to wait with both of them.

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3 minutes ago, Rednilla said:

...I don't know that I'd be saying that. Both are probably better at handling the point, but Powell at the 2 would have been pretty awesome to see. Tis too bad he decided to leave.

And I don't know one way or the other about where we'd rank at the moment. If JT comes back and Scoot reclassifies to come to Auburn, then I can't really imagine any team being better on paper, but we'll have to wait with both of them.

Lol allow me to rephrase this. Better in Bruce's system. I think Powell is a very good player but system wise and play style Zep and Green fit better. 

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2 minutes ago, AuburnMike86 said:

Lol allow me to rephrase this. Better in Bruce's system. I think Powell is a very good player but system wise and play style Zep and Green fit better. 

Well, that's just the thing: I think Powell gave Bruce a different element, when positioned at the 2. There's no doubt that the two incoming transfers fit better with regard to being the small, quick, fast guards who are great ball-handlers, but neither has the size Powell does, and I don't think either is as good from 3-point range as Powell is. I wouldn't be surprised if Trey Alexander is starting at the 2 before the end of the season, and he fits a similar type of mold as Powell did. Green is the one I expect to take Coop's place, and Zep is insurance so we don't run into the same problem next year that we had this past year. If Scoot reclassifies and comes to Auburn, he'll almost certainly start at point, but Green is still the one who fits the same kind of mold as Coop fit into.

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1 hour ago, Rednilla said:

Well, that's just the thing: I think Powell gave Bruce a different element, when positioned at the 2. There's no doubt that the two incoming transfers fit better with regard to being the small, quick, fast guards who are great ball-handlers, but neither has the size Powell does, and I don't think either is as good from 3-point range as Powell is. I wouldn't be surprised if Trey Alexander is starting at the 2 before the end of the season, and he fits a similar type of mold as Powell did. Green is the one I expect to take Coop's place, and Zep is insurance so we don't run into the same problem next year that we had this past year. If Scoot reclassifies and comes to Auburn, he'll almost certainly start at point, but Green is still the one who fits the same kind of mold as Coop fit into.

 

I think it'll depend on a few of things.

 

1. Bruce was very upset with the defensive effort a lot of last season. Zep is one of the best defenders in the country.

2. We didn't have Powell over half the season. The only "good" team he performed against was Memphis and that's before they even got what turned out to be their best player eligible and he was open for about 14 threes if he wanted to take them. While I think he would have been good for us and was an important piece, I'm not sold on a 3-4 game performance. I wish I could have seen more. Not to mention, after two head injuries, will he be the same, what if he gets another? Would that have ended his basketball career? I do think with the team we'll have next season he would have benefitted but he's not here and that's his/his families fault. I wish the kid the best, but I've moved on.

3. Wendell Green has about as many accolades as you can get as a freshman in college basketball. 15.8 ppg, 5 Apg, 3,4 rpg, 1.6 spg. Shot 40% from the floor, 36.4% from three. First team All-OVC and was named to the Kyle Macy Freshman All-American team. People can judge EKU all they want, but he's a player. I don't know if he'll adjust quickly or if it takes a half a season/full season but he is in my opinion the future.

4. As far as Scoot is concerned, until he reclasses and commits I'm not expecting anything or counting on him. Obviously would love for him to be here lol.

5. I think we'll be able to do a bunch of different things and we will be able to open the floor a lot better as well. Kessler and Jabari inside is going to lead to a lot of offensive boards, spacing, inside out, etc... Also, Trey, Zep, Green, and Flan will have an advantage the guards/wings didn't have last season. Thor (if he comes back) will be better and more experienced, Kessler can shoot it well enough to keep a defense honest when he stretches the floor, and a future lottery pick in Jabari will be here as I stated before as well. The whole dynamic changes. 

 

Ultimately, we'll see but my argument about this being a top 12 roster is easily justified. If This roster was at Kansas they'd be top 5. If it were Duke's roster they'd be top 5. So on and so forth. I just feel #22 is low. The roster as is, is good right now not counting Thor coming back or picking up Scoot. Top 12. If Scoot comes in and Thor comes back, in my opinion it's top 3-4. Which is why I made the statement that they are undervaluing our new guards. 

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36 minutes ago, AuburnMike86 said:

We didn't have Powell over half the season. The only "good" team he performed against was Memphis and that's before they even got what turned out to be their best player eligible and he was open for about 14 threes if he wanted to take them. While I think he would have been good for us and was an important piece, I'm not sold on a 3-4 game performance. I wish I could have seen more. Not to mention, after two head injuries, will he be the same, what if he gets another? Would that have ended his basketball career? I do think with the team we'll have next season he would have benefitted but he's not here and that's his/his families fault. I wish the kid the best, but I've moved on.

People say this, but we were only expecting this guy to be an off ball catch and shoot shooter, that could dribble a bit. And even with his tough finish, the guy had to be like 70-80% from 3 on catch and shoot shots. He would’ve probably had the best percentage from 3 out of anyone in recent memory 

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1 hour ago, AuburnMike86 said:

 

I think it'll depend on a few of things.

 

1. Bruce was very upset with the defensive effort a lot of last season. Zep is one of the best defenders in the country.

2. We didn't have Powell over half the season. The only "good" team he performed against was Memphis and that's before they even got what turned out to be their best player eligible and he was open for about 14 threes if he wanted to take them. While I think he would have been good for us and was an important piece, I'm not sold on a 3-4 game performance. I wish I could have seen more. Not to mention, after two head injuries, will he be the same, what if he gets another? Would that have ended his basketball career? I do think with the team we'll have next season he would have benefitted but he's not here and that's his/his families fault. I wish the kid the best, but I've moved on.

3. Wendell Green has about as many accolades as you can get as a freshman in college basketball. 15.8 ppg, 5 Apg, 3,4 rpg, 1.6 spg. Shot 40% from the floor, 36.4% from three. First team All-OVC and was named to the Kyle Macy Freshman All-American team. People can judge EKU all they want, but he's a player. I don't know if he'll adjust quickly or if it takes a half a season/full season but he is in my opinion the future.

4. As far as Scoot is concerned, until he reclasses and commits I'm not expecting anything or counting on him. Obviously would love for him to be here lol.

5. I think we'll be able to do a bunch of different things and we will be able to open the floor a lot better as well. Kessler and Jabari inside is going to lead to a lot of offensive boards, spacing, inside out, etc... Also, Trey, Zep, Green, and Flan will have an advantage the guards/wings didn't have last season. Thor (if he comes back) will be better and more experienced, Kessler can shoot it well enough to keep a defense honest when he stretches the floor, and a future lottery pick in Jabari will be here as I stated before as well. The whole dynamic changes. 

 

Ultimately, we'll see but my argument about this being a top 12 roster is easily justified. If This roster was at Kansas they'd be top 5. If it were Duke's roster they'd be top 5. So on and so forth. I just feel #22 is low. The roster as is, is good right now not counting Thor coming back or picking up Scoot. Top 12. If Scoot comes in and Thor comes back, in my opinion it's top 3-4. Which is why I made the statement that they are undervaluing our new guards. 

I was pretty happy with #22, for now. Scoot obviously changes everything, but the four SEC teams ranked ahead of us have better backcourts on paper right now. I would take Walker, Jabari and Allen over any other 3/4/5 combo in the league. 

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1 hour ago, Dual-Threat Rigby said:

People say this, but we were only expecting this guy to be an off ball catch and shoot shooter, that could dribble a bit. And even with his tough finish, the guy had to be like 70-80% from 3 on catch and shoot shots. He would’ve probably had the best percentage from 3 out of anyone in recent memory 

I have no clue on the 70%-80% mark lol. Like I said, I think with the additional spacing next seasons team will have would have helped his game even more. He was an important piece when Cooper was out for sure. I was on board with him being one of the best players on the team during a good three game stretch. I am anxious to see how he'll do at Tennessee. Whoever takes care of the behind the scenes stuff for him obviously didn't want him here and used Auburn to leverage a new deal which didn't come through for him.

I'm just wondering why Louisville, UK, Xavier, or any other top program that he would have happily gone too didn't offer a 70%-80% catch and shoot 6'5-6'6 stud? Seems like a guy you get at all costs and win championships with. Maybe it was everything outside of those 3-4 games they didn't like?

He avged 3 ppg, on 1-13 shooting (7.6%), 0-6 on three pointers (0%) with 4 turnovers per game during SEC play. The bright spot which I have pointed out before was his rebounding and assist numbers. Outside of those 4 games I have mentioned previously. He avged 5.5 ppg, and went 4-19 (21%) on three balls. My biggest question is this. We give Powell credit for that in a shortened season with his best games coming against South Alabama, Texas Southern, Memphis when they were essentially below avg, and Saint Joes. Yet, people are quick to discredit Green who performed better against that same level on competition?

No one knows what Powell's season would have looked like at the end. He could have gotten better, he could have had a long cold stretch that would have brought down his averages, he could have stayed about the same. It's all speculation but I will take into account the 8 games he wasn't as good over the 4 he was, especially when 3 of those 4 were back to back to back and players can get hot for a 3-4 games stretch.

Anyway, to each their own. I will support the players on our team and look forward to what we have coming up this season.

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30 minutes ago, Dunndone414 said:

I was pretty happy with #22, for now. Scoot obviously changes everything, but the four SEC teams ranked ahead of us have better backcourts on paper right now. I would take Walker, Jabari and Allen over any other 3/4/5 combo in the league. 

 

We'll see. 100% agree on the 3/4/5 comment.

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Auburn an 8-seed in Joe Lunardi's first 2022 bracketology

7 hours ago

It's never too early to look ahead, especially with the anticipation surrounding Auburn basketball's coming season.

The Tigers got more good news Tuesday morning when rising junior wing Allen Flanigan, a much-improved player last season and hoped to be a key returning piece in Auburn's lineup, announced he will not be testing the NBA draft waters and will return to the team for another season.

Auburn isn't done recruiting both the transfer portal and the high-school ranks for this season's roster, but the overall makeup of Bruce Pearl's eighth team on the Plains is becoming clearer.

Though it lost some of its best players from last season, like Sharife Cooper and Justin Powell — and possibly JT Thor, depending on whether he keeps his name in the NBA draft process — Pearl is bringing in a number of high-level players. Auburn is adding North Carolina transfer and former five-star center Walker Kessler; Eastern Kentucky point guard transfer Wendell Green Jr.; College of Charleston guard Zep Jasper; five-star power forward and the top-rated signee in program history, Jabari Smith; and Trey Alexander, a four-star shooting guard and the No. 1 prospect in Oklahoma.

To go with Flanigan, a good portion Auburn's core stayed in tact this offseason. Power forward Jaylin Williams and wing Devan Cambridge will both be juniors, while center Dylan Cardwell and wing Chris Moore are back after both turned in productive freshman seasons.

In case you missed it, here's an in-depth breakdown of Auburn's roster outlookafter adding Kessler last week. Most expect Pearl's club to be included in March Madness again next season.

ESPN's Joe Lunardi rolled out his first bracketology for the 2022 tournament on Tuesday morning, with the Tigers included in the West Region as an 8-seed. Their opening-round opponent? Virginia, listed as a 9-seed.

Lunardi's way-too-early bracket has Auburn as one of six SEC teams in the field, joining 1-seed Alabama, 3-seed Arkansas, 4-seed Tennessee, 5-seed Kentucky, 9-seed Mississippi State and 10-seed Florida.

Here's Lunardi's full bracket.

Playing without a true point guard for large chunk of the season, and with the youngest roster in college basketball, Auburn went 13-14 and 7-11 in the SEC last season, which was the third-worst record for the team in Pearl's seven seasons.

The program took a self-imposed postseason ban prior to the season starting, so it missed the SEC tournament and wouldn't have been eligible for the big dance regardless of its record. But now the Tigers are back, and Pearl's expectations for the 2021-22 team will be nothing shy of a return to the NCAA tournament and SEC championship contention.

After a 14-year drought, Pearl brought Auburn back to the tournament in 2018 and won one game as a 4-seed. The following season was the best in program history, as the Tigers blasted their way through Nashville to win the SEC tournament, survived a first-round scare against New Mexico State, then downed blue bloods Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky on their way to their first-ever Final Four.

21COMMENTS

A 5-seed, Auburn lost in heartbreaking fashion in Minneapolis to Virginia, which went on to win a national championship.

In 2020, Auburn was 25-6 and would have made three straight NCAA tournaments before the tournament was canceled.

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  • 2 weeks later...
4 hours ago, AUwent said:

I thought UAT's success this year was likely not sustainable? I see they're ranked #4...

I can't speak to prior thoughts, but they've been one of the kings of the transfer portal since it's ramped up. Helps to get arguably the best PG in the upcoming draft and a couple of other stud 4 stars. They'll have a very good mix of returning and experienced talent. 

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

Article excerpt:

10. Auburn
Projected Starting 5:
G Zep Jasper
G K.D. Johnson 
F Allen Flanigan
F Jabari Smith
C Walker Kessler
Projected Bench: Dylan Cardwell, Devan Cambridge, Babatunde Akingbola, Chris Moore, Wendell Green, Jaylin Williams
Key Newcomers: Jabari Smith, Zeb Jasper (Charleston), Wendell Green (Eastern Kentucky), K.D. Johnson (Georgia)
Expected Losses: Sharife Cooper, Justin Powell, Javon Franklin, Jamal Johnson

Edited by toddc
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1 hour ago, Dual-Threat Rigby said:

Surprised they remained top 10 with losing out on Sills and Trey not being in the math. He must value K.D Johnson fairly high

He knocked out Texas of the top 10 for some reason. That is what got us back in top 10. I'm surprised he has JAsper starting over Green. 

It's interesting none of the blue bloods other than Kansas is in the top 10. Ofc Gonzaga is pushing to be one, but if they don't win an NCAA championship they will have a different label soon. 

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2 hours ago, steeleagle said:

He knocked out Texas of the top 10 for some reason. That is what got us back in top 10. I'm surprised he has JAsper starting over Green. 

It's interesting none of the blue bloods other than Kansas is in the top 10. Ofc Gonzaga is pushing to be one, but if they don't win an NCAA championship they will have a different label soon. 

We were top 10 in his last one, no? I could be wrong 

He seems like more of an old head in his basketball values, I wouldn’t be surprised if he thought higher of experienced transfers over highly rated recruits. Tenn not being higher than us after the recruiting class they had would help attest to that imo 

 

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2 hours ago, steeleagle said:

It's interesting none of the blue bloods other than Kansas is in the top 10. Ofc Gonzaga is pushing to be one, but if they don't win an NCAA championship they will have a different label soon. 

UCLA has a lot of history to step into that blueblood category pretty quickly, too, you know...

 

2 hours ago, steeleagle said:

I'm surprised he has JAsper starting over Green.

I am, too. I've been expecting Green to be the main guy at PG.

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