By J.M. Comer
… Appalachian tiger hunt on Doo-doo Mountain … Toothless tigers by the tail …
Oh, hello there. There was some basketball game on TV last night that I was thinking about. I was just doing a free-association exercise to while away the time this morning.
The Auburn Tigers (4-2) lost to the West Virginia Mountaineers (6-1) last night in the first-ever Big East/SEC Invitational in Birmingham on ESPN2.
The score: 88-59.
The mood: Bewildered? Is “embarrassingly overmatched” a mood?
The lowdown: See below.
That was an ugly, ugly game for the Auburn Tigers. The West Virginia Mountaineers, on the other hand, made it look easy, at one point building a 37-point lead.
They were like a well-oiled basket-making machine. On offense they were methodical, with crisp passes around the Tigers perimeter.
You can see it in the total team assists for the game: WVU had 24. Auburn had 8. That’s one-third.
Auburn played like one-third the team that West Virginia is.
What were our hapless, helpless Tigers doing? Scrambling, dribbling the ball off their feet, playing from behind with desperation and it was not a “determined desperation.” It was a “Where’s the lifeboat? There are zombies on the ship!” desperation.
What happened to the Tigers that I saw Sunday? Tigers, I barely knew ye. (I did know that you stink with free throws. Again, last night you went 2-8.) Did I mention something about a “Big Dance” in my last game wrapup? HA!
Clearly, West Virginia will be a force in the Big East this season. The ESPN2 announcers last night were saying that they were picked to finish 10th in the Big East. 10th?!?! They look to me that they will break into the Top 25 soon enough.
I don’t know what to make of Coach Jeff Lebo’s Tigers right now. I know my judgment above is harsh, but the listless performance last night was disheartening. There was no fire, no rhythm, no identity. Show me something in the next six “warmup games” Auburn! The first SEC game against Arkansas is drawing near.
Coach Sonny Smith said it best last night: “Around here it’s still football season until Jan. 7. Then, basketball starts.”
Wake up Tigers!
Did anyone go to or watch the game last night? What are your thoughts?