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Auburn def. Alabama, 85-71

We're getting ready for a BIG HALF of college basketball at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.

Vot Barber -- 18 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocks


AUB 30-61 49.2%
ALA 23-49 46.9%

3 Shooting
AUB 10-20 50.0%
ALA 2-11 18.2%

FT Shooting
AUB 15-21 71.4%
ALA 23-28 82.1%

AUB 31 (12o 19d)
ALA 29 (7o, 22d)

    Auburn wins, 85-71.

  • FOURTH TO @ 3:33
    Auburn leads, 79-64. Auburn seemingly has lost interest in this game. Alabama has not. Probably not enough time remaining for the Tide to truly threaten, but they have been the better team for the past seven minutes or so.

  • THIRD TO @ 7:52
    Auburn leads, 75-56. There have been a lot of hard fouls in this game. Waller was going for a dunk moments ago when he was knocked to the ground by a defender. It wasn't anything worth fighting abount or anything, but the Tide clearly isn't afraid to get physical.

  • AUBURN CALLS TO @ 11:22
    Auburn leads, 67-50. Getting sloppy again, the home team is.

  • SECOND TO @ 11:57
    Auburn leads, 67-45. Highlight of that last period was Robertson making a behind-the-back pass to Barber (in traffic) that led to a lay-up. Really nice play. Auburn is in complete command of the game right now.

  • FIRST TO @ 15:30
    Auburn leads, 60-39. Auburn has scored on each of its first eight possessions of the second half. The energy is high. Alabama was called for traveling at 16:01. Automatic media timeout is at 16:00. Can't get the freebie to break the run. Gottfried thought about calling another timeout. He didn't -- Reed rolls down the court and scores on an easy lay-up. It's a landslide right now.

  • ALABAMA CALLS TO @ 18:16
    Auburn leads, 49-37. Auburn was getting really hot there, tipping passes and getting scores in transition. Barber took one of those steals, rolled down the lane and posterized someone with a two-handed slam.

    Auburn leads, 42-35.

Alabama @ Auburn, 1st half

    AUB 13-32 40.6%
    ALA 13-26 50%

    3 Shooting
    AUB 6-11 54.5%
    ALA 0-2 0%

    FT Shooting
    AUB 10-13 76.9%
    ALA 9-10 90%

    AUB 15 (6o 9d)
    ALA 19 (4o 15d)

    Auburn leads, 42-35. Auburn's defense slopped it up during the final five minutes. Alabama now is back in the game. Stats coming.

  • FOURTH TO @ 3:30
    Auburn leads, 35-25. Same ol. Auburn is markedly sloppier, but Alabama is kinda lost without Ronald Steele to guide things along. Alabama is doing a nice job with defensive rebounding. Auburn isn't getting many second-chance opportunities.

  • THIRD TO @ 7:51
    Auburn leads, 31-20. The Tigers have gotten a little sloppy. Barber attempted a risky alley-oop pass on a break that Hargrove couldn't finish. LeBron James couldn't have finished on that pass, either. Alabama doesn't have much of a plan. I don't see a go-to guy there. Auburn doesn't have one, either, but Auburn's defense is better than Alabama's.

  • SECOND TO @ 11:57
    Auburn leads, 26-12. Auburn is playing very well right now. Lucas Hargrove, the 6-foot-6 "forward" just blocked a shot from 6-9 Justin Knox. The swat started a fast break that Frankie Sullivan handled. The Tigers have Alabama well defended right now.

  • ALABAMA CALLS TO @ 14:57
    Auburn leads, 23-6. What a surge. Reed hit the shot on which he was fouled, hit the two intentional-foul free throws, Auburn retained possession, Frankie Sullivan hit a three, Alabama turned it over and Tay Waller hit a three. Talk about an avalanche of badness for the Tide.

  • FIRST TO @ 15:50
    Auburn leads, 15-6. Tigers have scored on six of their first eight possessions. Alabama was just called for an intentional foul. Reed, who was fouled, made the shot. I've never seen that before.

"F/C" -- Korvotney Barber Shop
"PF" -- Rasheem Barrett of greater Atlanta
"SF" -- Tay (With A Tray) Waller of southern Georgia
G -- Tez Robertson of southern Ohio
PG -- DeWayne "Speed" Reed

CROWD: Approximately 8,500 at tip.

Damn near none.

Free throw report


I'm working on a story for Saturday's editions about the Tigers' woes at the free-throw line. Here are some interesting numbers I have uncovered.

If it seems like this story repeats itself, well, that's not an illusion. Auburn has ranked in the bottom half of the NCAA in free-throw shooting for six consecutive seasons.
  • Auburn (hitting 59.2% from the line) currently is ranked 324 out of 330 D-I teams.

  • SEC average is 68.9%.

  • Auburn has only three players above the SEC average ... and they're not the guys who draw fouls.
    • Tay Waller 28-35 (80%)
    • Rasheem Barrett 14-19 (73.7%)
    • Frankie Sullivan 21-29 (72.4%)

  • Those three guys together have taken only a few more free throws than Korvotney Barber, who is 34-of-77 (44.2%) this season. Add in Tez Robertson's 37-of-63 (58.7%) performance ... and you can see why the Tigers are a mess overall.

  • Still, Barber is not the SEC's weakest free-throw shooter. Among players who have attempted at least 20 free throws, Florida's Kenny Kadji (10-23, 43.5%) and Georgia guard Zac Swansey (9-24, 37.5%) are performing at an even lower level.

OT: Andy Kennedy saga continues

Not Auburn, but too good to pass up.

The wife of Ole Miss basketball coach Andy Kennedy is suing a Cincinnati cab driver whose allegations against the coach she believes have harmed the couple's relationship.
Kennedy’s wife sued that cab driver and a valet driver who backed his claims to police and the media, saying their accusations had harmed the couple's personal relationship, including their sex life.

Kennedy, who was in Cincinnati as the head coach for the University of Mississippi, was charged Dec. 18 with misdemeanor assault after police said he punched cabbie Mohamed Jiddou while shouting racial slurs at him after leaving a downtown bar.

Chizik takes his first home-run swings

1/16/09, AFTERNOON

Gene Chizik and his guys will be playing host to several high-profile recruits this weekend. We haven't yet nailed down a final number of arrivals, but it's either nine or 10.

Only one of them, linebacker Donald Ford, is an Auburn commitment.

UPDATE: The most intriguing visitor WAS Louisiana wideout DeAngelo Benton, who was a 5-star recruit (he signed twice with LSU) now considering all options after completing work in prep school.

He backed out of his trip. It probably won't be rescheduled.

Another Louisiana prospect, defensive tackle DeQuinta Jones, will be on the Plains as well. He's still in high school. Jones committed to U. Michigan last summer, but met with Arkansas coaches last weekend and will visit with the Tigers this weekend. He's considering all options.

One of Alabama's top uncommitted players, North Jackson High linebacker Tana Patrick, will be on the Plains this weekend. Chizik and his staff consider Patrick one of their top three targets overall.

Other expected visitors include: Defensive end Nosa Eguae, offensive linemen Brandon Moore and John Sullen, tailback Anthony Gulley, wideout Emory Blake and athlete Demond Washington.

Another Tuberville assistant finds work

1/16/09, AFTERNOON

Hey everyone. Just days after former de facto offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger landed on his feet at Smiths Station High, another Tuberville assistant has found work.

Eddie Gran, Tuberville's consigliere at Auburn from 1999-2008, has been hired as running backs coach at Tennessee. The guy has skills. He'll be a good head coach within the next five years.

Photo credit: USA Today

Questions? Comments? Post directly to the blog below or email me at

Your Friday Thread

Hey everyone. As discussed in yesterday's comments, I'm headed to my first school assembly since 1990 this morning. This is non-negotiable, I'm told.

So I have nothing for you yet.

Still, you know how I hate comments cracking the 200 barrier, so here is a new thread to relieve the pressure.

Please enjoy.

Vicarious satisfaction

Auburn fans have watched their school endure its fair share of criticism lately.

Now comes troublesome news for a few other programs.

Thursday chatter

Hey everyone. Thanks for being patient with me yesterday as news broke about my parent company, Gannett, which announced a "furlough" program for all employees. It's a time of professional uncertainty for a lot of private-sector worker bees. I never thought my career would come to this.

What does this mean for the HABOTN? We'll cross that bridge later.

For now, let's discuss more enjoyable stuff.
  • RADIO APPEARANCE FORTHCOMING: I (again) will be a guest host on WMSP's "The Roundtable" program this afternoon. It runs from noon to 2 p.m. CST and is streamed on the Interwebs. Please take a listen. It'll be me and Baggy going at it for two hours.

  • NEW COMMITMENT: Auburn added a 20th commitment on Wednesday when Izauea Lanier of Gordo High announced plans to sign with Au­burn in February. A 6-foot-1 wideout by trade, the Tigers are planning to use Lanier at cornerback or safety. I hadn't heard a word about him until yesterday. Bryan Matthews of said Lanier also had offers from Kentucky, MSU and Troy.

  • LIVING FREELY: The Auburn men threw away a game last night at the free-throw line. The Tigers played at least as well as Florida in a 3-point loss. The difference was a 10-for-21 performance at the line. Starting guard Quantez Robertson was 0-for-6. Oh boy.

    Alabama @ Auburn is this weekend. Should be a dandy.

Florida @ Auburn, 2nd half

We're live blogging the second half of Auburn's home game against Florida.


    AUB 25-64 (39.1%)
    FLA 25-63 (39.7%)

    3 Shooting
    AUB 5-27 (18.5%)
    FLA 5-23 (21.7%)

    FT Shooting
    AUB 10-21 (47.6%)
    FLA 13-19 (68.4%)

    AUB 36 (10o 26d)
    FLA 46 (14o 32d)

  • FOURTH TO @ 3:33
    Florida leads, 57-55. Rasheem Barrett has come out of nowhere to scored the Tigers' last seven points. Florida guard Erving Walker hit back-to-back threes just a second ago -- the second was from at least 25 feet -- and that mitigated Barrett's surge. Very competitive game.

  • THIRD TO @ 7:43
    Game tied at 48. Auburn ties the game, then starts taking ill-advised shots again. They're not used to being in this position.

    Game tied at 48. The Gators have lost all offensive flow. Even Calathes looks confused, so Billy Donovan called a timeout. Tay Waller finally hit a three-point shot (at the 11:13 mark) and this place came alive.

  • SECOND TO @ 11:32
    Florida leads, 48-41. Auburn has created some turnovers with aggressive defensive play, but then the team gets too hyped and makes careless mistakes trying to force a fast-break situation. Way too much pace on the Tigers' offensive plan right now. Florida playing only acceptably; nothing more.

  • FIRST TO @ 15:57
    Florida leads, 44-38. Auburn is passing more thoughtfully so far. Florida has been sloppier than expected, but it's early.

    Florida leads, 40-34.

Florida @ Auburn, 1st half

We're live blogging the Auburn @ Florida men's game from Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.


    AUB 14-33 (42.4%)
    FLA 17-33 (51.5%)

    3 Shooting
    AUB 1-13 (7.7%)
    FLA 1-7 (14.3%)

    AUB 12 (4o, 8d)
    FLA 22 (7o, 15d)

    Florida leads, 40-34. Auburn finished 1-of-13 from three-point range in that half and trails by only six points. That's not too bad. Florida isn't shooting particularly well, either. Defense is going to be the difference -- can Auburn stop Calathes?

  • FOURTH TO @ 3:20
    Florida leads, 32-24. Your Auburn Tigers are 0-for-11 from three-point range right now. Lebo wants them to keep on shootin'. Auburn cannot keep pace with Calathes. He's beating them downcourt on the break and beating them off the dribble. Does Auburn have anyone who can guard a good, 6-foot-5 point guard?

  • THIRD TO @ 6:58
    Florida leads, 25-18. Auburn is having real trouble staying with Calathes off the dribble. I don't think the Tigers yet understand that he can drive to his left. Auburn seems more in tune defensively now. Florida, honestly, doesn't have a lot of play-makers. If Calathes gets stunted, Auburn could have a chance here.

  • Second TO @ 11:55
    Florida leads, 17-10. Tay Waller is still 0-fer. Auburn is zoning more, which is preventing UF from getting the easy lay-ups. They're firing away from the outside and not hitting at the moment. I'm sure that will come around at some point. Nick Calathes is a really good player. Wow.

  • First TO @ 15:50
    Florida leads, 11-4. Auburn's plan was to get the ball to Tay Waller. He's 0-for-4 right now. Florida already has two lay-ups from its quarter-court set. You know what that means -- defensive problems o'plenty.

  • Your Auburn starters:
    F -- Lucas Hargrove
    F/C -- Korvotney Barber aka Barber Shop
    "SF" -- Tay Waller
    "SG" -- Q-Tez Robertson
    PG -- "Speed" Reed aka DeWayne

He landed on his feet ...

Say this about Steve Ensminger: He knows how to network.

Just six weeks after losing his assistant job at Auburn, Ensminger is back in business. He will coach quarterbacks at Smiths Station High School.

Big ups to O-A News ace Andrew "Gribs" Gribble for a brilliant lead.
Steve Ensminger has landed on his feet.

All we have are the embers

We held 110-minute campfire earlier today.

If you weren't there, you missed quite a show.

We discussed Jeff Lebo, Raymond Cotton Sr. and his son, a player named Rueben, a coach named Tracy Rocker, flaws with Einstein's Theory of Relativity and reasoning behind Luxembourg's striking pacifism during World War II.

A good time was had by all.

Tuesday chatter

1/13/09, NOONISH

Hey everyone. As Eddie noted in yesterday's thread, things have slowed a tad. It's January and The Football Hubbub has simmered to some degree -- though ESPN's Stephen A. Smith likes to keep it going.

(I think Smith would have better luck not including Charles Barkley in his argument, which is a good one. Then he goes with Barkley and it goes askew.)

Here are some other things we're discussing:

*Chaz Ramsey's medical situation -- and Auburn's awkward decision to cower from the criticism.

*Tracy Rocker is bringing a tough-guy attitude to the defensive front.

*To Griff's delight, Auburn appears to be making progress on its search for an OL coach.

*We'll have more as the day progresses.

Tracy Rocker speaks

1/12/09, LATE AFTERNOONHey everyone. I'm live blogging Tracy Rocker's introductory teleconference.

  • "First of all -- War Eagle. I'm glad to be back."

  • Leaving Ole Miss: "Houston provides a family environment. It's a coaching environment. (Leaving that) was hard to do. He's all about the players. I enjoyed working with him. It was a great six years. We had a great run. I've enjoyed. There comes a time when we all have to part ways and move on in this business."

  • He met Chizik while he was at UCF ... when Rocker was an assistant at Troy State.

  • "Coming back is a great honor. Everything you want as a college student -- I definitely enjoyed. A goal of mine is that I want to be known as a great coach. I'm not the player anymore; I'm a coach."

  • What are you coaching?: "I'm expecting to coach the whole front four."

  • "The thing I'm looking forward to most is hard work. It takes all of us to be special."

  • On Ted Roof: "I remember Coach Roof when he played at Tech. I watched him play at Tech when I played at Auburn. He was a great player. In the coaching world, all I've ever heard is that he's a great guy to work for. I'm looking forward to it."

  • Player personnel: "I don't really know much. I've watched them on film. I watched them through the season. It's a clean slate right now. I'm not going to make judgments on anything. I'm there to make sure we get it done, do it right and do it the Auburn way."

  • Recruiting philosophy: "You've got to love playing down there. You have to play hurt. There are going to be bumps and bruises when you play down there. Every college team and every pro football team is looking for great linemen. They're hard to find. I'm open-minded to see which direction we're going."

Rocker on the way?

1/12/09, MORNING

Hey everyone. A website a few of you turned me to,, reports this morning that Ole Miss assistant Tracy Rocker has accepted a job at Auburn. He has been offered the defensive line gig.

UPDATE @ 3:30 p.m.: I expect official confirmation to roll out within the next 90 minutes.

Rocker, 42, won the 1988 Outland Trophy as an Auburn defensive tackle. He has been coaching college ball since taking his first job at West Alabama in 1994. He also has made stops at Troy State, Cincinnati and Arkansas -- where he coached with Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn in 2006.

No. 9 Auburn women win

Auburn wins, 81-65. Team now is 17-0.

Florida "drops" to 15-2.


PG Whitney Boddie: 14 points, 11 assists, 4 steals


Auburn 31-55 (56.4%)
Florida 22-63 (34.9%)


Auburn 4-8 (50%)
Florida 10-26 (38.5%)

Auburn 15-22 (68.2%)
Florida 11-15 (73.3%)

Auburn 32 (12o, 20d)
Florida 39 (22o, 17d)

Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University

Sunday recruiting chatter

1/11/09, MORNING

Hey everyone. I have spoken with several Auburn recruits this morning as they left for home after official visits. They leave from different places, so it's impossible for me -- a one-man operation -- to catch everyone.

So here are the guys I have met so far:

Wideout from Mobile/Auburn commitment

On meeting with position coach Trooper Taylor for the first time: "He's a good guy. I liked him. He made me read an article about him -- how he's a good man and a good recruiter. It was about him adopting his football players.

On his ability to contribute early in his career: "He'd like to get me the ball because I'm a play-maker. He's seen my highlight film and all that. If he has to put me in the backfield, I'll still get the ball. He said I could come and play. He said he needs a play-maker."

On rating his visit on a scale of 1-10: "Probably a 10. I want to come back for another visit."

Defensive end from Mobile/Auburn commitment

On his best weekend memory: "We have a great relationship and (Gene Chizik) seems like a really great coach. He said he likes the way I came out on the field. We came out through the (stadium) tunnel and we had jerseys on. I was wearing No. 51 and they said I can get No. 51 and my uncle wears No. 52. I came out there really pumped up. He said it looked like I should be here."

On considering his alternatives: "I'm still going to visit some other places but they have to pick up their recruiting steam up because Auburn is looking hard right now."

On meeting with defensive coordinator Ted Roof: "I sat down and talked to him. He said he liked that I'm explosive and I have a motor. He said he liked me and I can be a pass rusher for him."

Linebacker from Bessemer/Auburn commitment

On where he fits into Auburn's scheme: Coach (James) Willis said the way things look right now, my body type, he wants me to play (middle linebacker). I'd rather play outside at (strong side) or (weak side). If I have to go to (middle) likebacker, though, I'll go."

On where Auburn coaches said they need help most: "There's no depth at (weak-side) linebacker. A true freshman will have to come in there and play the position."

Tailback from Lilburn, Ga./Auburn commitment

On the situation at tailback: I'm not sure what's going on with with the running back position. Just knowing Coach Luper, with him being the great coach that he is, hopefully I can get some playing time next year. Hopefully, I'm coming into a good situation."

On Curtis Luper: ``Great guy. Real funny. Really cares about the kids. He's really interested in me and he really cares. He doesn't just want to coach you -- he wants to be part of your family."

On watching Tulsa's dominating performance in the GMAC Bowl: "That running back -- they had over 400 rushing yards. That impresses me. I really liked watching that."

Defensive back from Fort Valley, Ga./Auburn commitment

On where Auburn coaches want to play him: "He said my best fit right now is cornerback. That's the position I'm going to start at. He likes my jam ability so he'll put more men in the box and blitz."

On what new defensive coordinator Ted Roof will run in the secondary: "He's just a multiple coach. He doesn't care what we run. We'll run nickel, man, man-free, cover-2 and all that."

On advice received from player host Mike McNeil: "Just keep your head on straight and stay on top of your books."

Tailback from Bessemer

*Cox tore a knee ligament during the second game of the year. He is considering an offer to walk-on at Auburn. Harris Gaston is his best friend.

*Cox said he was going to take a few more visits, but didn't want to name the schools.

On his thoughts about Auburn: "When I first came down to here the first couple of times I really fell in love with Auburn. That's where I wanted to go."

On what he'd like to see from Auburn: "If I get a scholarship that would be even better. I don't have my first offer yet. I'm kinda sold on Auburn right now. If I can get a scholarship from Auburn that would be great too."

On his plans once he arrives on campus: "They have a little depth at running back. I'm just going to come up and try to take someone's job."

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