This was a beating.
We were coming off of two really good road performances, and Auburn had performed poorly in their only two road games to date. It seemed tough to believe, but the universe had conspired to provide a scenario where the Tigers were on #upsetalert.
Auburn then proceeded to demolish us in every facet of the game.
We inexplicably stopped going inside
We were pretty straightforward about this over the weekend: Josh Nebo won the game for us at Alabama, and the big men have been our biggest strength of the season. It stands to reason that we should continue to go to them as often as we can, right? Especially when our three point shooting is 338th out of 353 eligible D1 teams. Especially when our opposition block rate (aka, when we try to take it to the rim, we get stuffed) is ALSO 338th of out 353 eligible D1 teams. When you stack these points together, you’re left with an undeniable solution: Feed the big men the rock.
You can imagine my frustration when Nebo and Mekowulu combined for only two FG attempts in 40 minutes.
They made both.
Bryce Brown terrorized us
We hung around for a little while, but Auburn’s All-SEC guard broke the game open with an insane stretch late in the first half where he scored 19 consecutive points.
You read correctly. 19 consecutive points.
You may be asking yourself, “did we attempt to deny Brown the ball as he crossed half court?” You may also be asking yourself, “did we go to a box and one, triangle and two, line segment and three, or any defensive tactic designed to stop a hot hand?” Finally, you might even ask yourself, “did we make any defensive adjustments at all?”
The answer to all three was no. And Brown didn’t just carve us up on the court. He dropped one of the most damaging post game quotes I’ve seen in a long time.
Auburn's Bryce Brown, who had 20 of his 22 points in first half, critical of Aggies' effort. Said he expected more 'fire' from A&M defensively when a ranked opponent comes on to Aggies' home court -- 'They probably could have played a little harder'— Brent Zwerneman (@BrentZwerneman) January 17, 2019
- Flagg was great yet again, dropping 22 points and 7 rebounds in 37 minutes of action. When you hear me say things like “the team didn’t play well,” just know that I’m not talking about Savion Flagg. Like the understood you at the beginning of certain sentences. I dunno. Grammar is weird.
- Chuck Mitchell continues to be our only remotely reliable game-to-game outside shooter. 3-7 from beyond the arc is nothing special, but when the rest of the team goes 4-17, you learn to be grateful.
- Fun fact about the bullet above: only the bold text is changed from last week.
- That fact is not fun.
- We were straight murdered on the glass, to the tune of a 50-33 overall advantage for Auburn, which included a 20-7 advantage on the offensive glass. It was jarring to see, as we have generally handled our rebounding business with little fuss.
- We are all familiar with the concept of Good Starks / Bad Starks. TJ rarely seems to give a middle-of-the-road performance, and last night was no exception. It was clear pretty early on... we had Bad Starks. TJ giveth, and TJ taketh away.
I’d like to loop in a tweet that adequately described the game watching experience, particularly in the second half.
The entire second half was commentators justifiably ripping our team's effort and overall quality of play, and, searching for something positive to say, complimenting our school's traditions.— Doug Keegan (@doug_keegan) January 17, 2019
While this might feel like an exaggeration… it’s not. The announcing booth was aghast at what they were seeing, and the game was so far out of reach that they resolved to talking about our traditions to keep the broadcast moving.
I like it when people talk about our traditions. I do not like it when they do so to distract from our basketball team getting worked.
Next up is Missouri at home on Saturday. This Missouri team is limited by injury, and according to KenPom we’ve got a 63% to win this game. It’s not a sure thing, but it’s about as close as we’ll get.