Friday, April 27, 2012

Kick 'Em While They're Down

And to think some have questioned the state of the Alabama basketball program. It could be worse, folks.

Auburn announced today that it has dismissed two players - Cedrick McAfee and Josh Langford - while also indefinitely suspending Noel Johnson. The reason given for McAfee and Langford's dismissals was the standard "violating team rules". On top of this, Auburn recently lost freshmen, Willy Kouassi and Bernard Morena, who elected to leave the program after one year. And don't forget that Varez Ward remains under investigation for an alleged point shaving scheme and will probably not return. Langford, McAfee, Kouassi and Morena were all well-regarded coming out of high school while Varez Ward came to Auburn with high expectations after a strong start at the University of Texas.

Tony Barbee is heading into his third season. The Auburn brass has laid down some coin for the basketball facilities, including a brand new arena. Barbee's teams have been largely unsuccessful in two-plus seasons, the Auburn fans remain even worse basketball fans than the Alabama contingency, and now Barbee is losing players left and right - players that he recruited. On top of all that, he has yet to beat Alabama, the only basketball game that Auburn fans truly care about. I hate to put a guy on alert in his third season at a place like Auburn, but Barbee may have to pull a rabbit out of his hat this season to keep the wolves at bay. El Paso never looked so good, eh Tony?

To put all of this in context: ask the two Auburn basketball fans if they would take an NIT championship game appearance followed by an NCAA Tournament invite and I think they would take it in an instant. The Bama program isn't quite where we want it yet, but it could be worse.

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