Mark Fox's Hoop 'Dawgs are slated to take on Auburn this evening at Stegeman Coliseum. Of course we'll have an open comment thread, but for now, I'm pleased to present a brief Q & A I conducted with Chris from SB Nation's Auburn site, College and Magnolia about the upcoming contest. My answers to his questions can be found over at College and Magnolia. Enjoy.
1) The Tigers inbound it with 8 seconds on the clock, down by 2. Who's taking the shot?
Funny you should ask, because last Saturday against Ole Miss, that scenario played out. After Marshall Henderson (who is a piece of garbage, just for the record) made two free throws with six seconds left to put the Rebs up, 63-61, senior guard Frankie Sullivan launched a contested three at the buzzer that came up short.Honestly, Frankie is the guy that should be taking the shot in that situation. He's third in the SEC with 16.9 points per game, and he's Auburn's unquestioned team leader. The problem is that Auburn's opponents know that, which resulted in Sullivan taking a three contested heavily by two Ole Miss players on Saturday. I think it would have been a better idea to pass off to one of Auburn's other outside shooters like Jordan Price, Noel Johnson, Shaq Johnson or Allen Payne.
2) Auburn and Georgia enter this game with identical 8-11 overall and 2-4 conference records. What ultimately makes the difference in this one?
I think this game will probably be pretty close and probably pretty ugly. Neither team shoots all that well -- Auburn at 42.5 percent; Georgia at 41.3 -- and they both like to play a slow, half-court game. I really do believe Auburn is the better team, but the Tigers aren't good enough to check this off as a win beforehand. They've allowed opponents to pull down too many offense rebounds and score too many second-chance points lately, and they are always capable of having an awful night at the free-throw line.For Auburn, having a decent night shooting the three and getting production from center Rob Chubb will be key. If the Tigers are knocking down shots from outside and Chubb is controlling the paint on both ends, the Auburn should win fairy comfortably. If one of those things happen, Auburn will likely win a close game. If neither happen, the Tigers will probably lose.
3) What is the mindset of the Auburn fanbase in year three of the Tony Barbee era? Compare/contrast to the vague despair of UGA fans trying to come to terms with the Conrad Aiken-like return to the same middling real estate we feel like we inhabited four years ago, and will inhabit for all eternity.
Some fans are beginning to waiver on Barbee. I haven't heard too many flat-out calling for his dismissal if Auburn doesn't turn it around this year, but many have asked if he'll be fired if Auburn completely goes into the tank. However, I think the majority of the fanbase feels that Barbee is building from a smoking crater that was the end of the Lebo era (which is true), and they're willing to give him another year. But if we don't see legitimate progress next season, I think his seat will get pretty warm.
4) What is Jeff Lebo doing these days? Do you believe that he should go in with Ray Goff on a Zaxby's restaurant? If they did, would you dare to eat there?
Lebo is currently the head honcho at East Carolina, and a quick Wikipedia search tells me he's 42-37 overall and 15-21 in C-USA play. Basically, it would appear that he picked up right where he left off after leaving Auburn. And no, I would not eat at a Zaxby's run by Lebo and Goff. I'm a Guthrie's man.
Thanks to Chris for his time, and for allowing me one final shot at Jeff Lebo. That felt good. We'll see you this evening for the open comment thread. Until then . . .