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Checkin’ in

Not too much time today, but a few quickie thoughts while I have a second in the fine, fine Durango Coffee Company:

— Was anyone really worried about Malzahn bolting for La. Tech this offseason? Just in case, Dr. Gustav put that rumor to bed so hard it won’t ask for a glass of water for a month. (Or something.) Not that we really need any more Chizik vs. Kiffin comparisons by this point, of course, but if you want to contrast Eddie Gran’s and Frank Wilson’s tiretracks out of Knoxville alongside Malzahn’s statement, there’s nothing I can do to stop you.

— On the krootin’ front, after months of predicting Marcus Lattimore to go places that weren’t Auburn, ESPN’s J.C. Shurbutt has seen the light:

This one is a tough call between Auburn and South Carolina, but Lattimore recently went public with the Tigers as his leader and there is supreme confidence in Auburn about this one. Former Tigers star Stephen Davis was the last great running back prospect from Spartanburg County, S.C., where Lattimore is from.
Projection: Auburn

Mmmmmmmm, Stephen Davis comparison. Shurtbutt’s 180 is just the latest bit of evidence we’ve got that it’s no longer homerism to feel awful good about pulling Lattimore out of Carolina. (Too bad Shurbutt also sort of endorses the Lemonier-to-Florida St. whispers.)

Elsewhere, Scout has joined Rivals in bumping Auburn’s current class into their top 5 as Trovon Reed and Kenneth Carter (!) have picked up extra stars. Not a big deal–the players are still the same players they’d be if Auburn was 9th or 10th–but as they say in the medical profession, it’s nice to have a second opinion.

UPDATE: Of course, just as I post this Eric Mack makes a total hash of that “firm to South Carolina” talk from a few days back and declares he’ll sign with either Auburn or Florida. On Auburn’s side: months of recruiting work, that hat photo, visits, etc. On Florida’s side … well, they’re Florida. So we’ll see. But still a heck of a development.

— OK, with not much else to discuss, a few seriously belated words about the basketball weekend. I basically covered my reaction to the “Man, too bad they can’t play in front of crowds like that all the time” yesterday, but I should add how proud I was (like everyone) these Tigers didn’t fold even in the face of a 19-point deficit and a half-dozen future NBAers. The Sam Houston St. response might have produced something truly embarrassing; instead, this was something truly encouraging.

Not too encouraging, of course, because a lot of Auburn’s old problems were still there in full effect, the same ones that must have Auburn in the running for some kind of record for Most Games Lost in a Single Season Despite Shooting 15 or More Shots Than the Opponent. Thanks to 16 forced Kentucky turnovers, some productive offensive rebounding, and (yeah) a hack-first-ask-questions-later policy, the Tigers outshot UK 60 to 43. Those shots weren’t even that productive for the ‘Cats, since–wonder of wonders–Auburn held them to 35 percent from 3.

But Auburn’s shots were, as always, even less productive since DeWayne Reed was busy taking 25 of them. 25 of 60! 42 percent of Auburn’s total shots! Taken by a guy who’s not even shooting 40 percent from the floor for the year! For the game, Reed shot 28 percent; everyone else, 51.4 percent. Auburn can play like they care about Jeff Lebo, but they still haven’t started playing like they’re well-coached. Sorry.

As for the women, after three straight solid-to-terrific performances they were due for a clunker, and sure enough they lost by 14 on the road in Columbia. The recap blamed poor shooting, and certainly 39.6 percent’s not great, but the bigger problem was defense: the Lady ‘Cocks (snicker) hit 8 of their 15 threes and collected 44 percent of their misses. It would have taken some white-hot Auburn shooting to keep up with that effort, and obviously it wasn’t the Lady Tigers’ day on that front.

That’s all for now.

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