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Sunday, February 28, 2010

A review of a busy weekend for Auburn athletics

It was another busy weekend at Auburn. Let's review everything that happened in a variety of sports ...

We'll start with the sport you likely most care about. Former Auburn running back Ben Tate had a great workout at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. He finished with a 4.43-second time in the 40-yard dash, trailing only Cal's Jahvid Best and Clemson's C.J. Spiller of the running backs. He showed some versatility by then bench pressing 225 pounds 26 times, tied for tops among running backs with Fresno State's Lonyae Miller. Tate was also second in vertical jump (40.5 inches), second in broad jump (10 feet, 4 inches) and sixth in the 3-cone drill (6.91 seconds). Defensive lineman Antonio Coleman is set to participate in workouts Monday.
The big news was the Wall of Fame induction, which we covered in depth here and here, but the Tigers had some success on the field, going 2-1 against three different opponents. Brian Fletcher's walk-off home run lifted Auburn to a 6-5 win Friday night against Boston College. Left-handed pitcher Cole Nelson (12 K's, 6 IP) looked solid again in a 17-4 win in the weekend finale against Florida Atlantic. The Tigers lost the middle game of the weekend 11-7 to Missouri. Auburn is 4-2 with a pair of mid-week games against Davidson on Tuesday and Wednesday before a weekend series against Miami (Ohio). All five games are at Plainsman Park.
Auburn went 2-3 at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus. The Tigers lost to Kent State (1-0 on an eight-inning, no-hitter), Illinois State (5-4) and Southern Illinois (1-0). They beat Virginia Tech and N.C. State (2-1). Not a terrible showing, considering the level of competition at the event (every team involved qualified for a regional at some point in the last two years.) The Tigers' murderer's row of non-conference games continues when they host No. 4 Michigan on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.
We covered Auburn's win against LSU in depth as well, so this is more about what's coming up this week. The Tigers will play the last basketball game at the 41-year-old Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday against Mississippi State. They've won four straight at home and are hoping to send the arena out in style. Two games remain in the regular season and Auburn is jockeying for seeding in the upcoming SEC tournament in Nashville, Tenn. The Tigers are currently the fourth seed, one game ahead of Alabama. The teams play Saturday in Tuscaloosa. What's really at stake? Well, the West's No. 4 seed plays the East's No. 5 seed in the first round. The West's No. 5 plays the East's No. 4. That's the difference between getting an NCAA tournament-bound team like Tennessee or Florida or an NIT-bound one like South Carolina. Two wins to close the season would give Auburn an outside chance to catching Ole Miss or Arkansas, who are both 7-7 in the SEC.
The Tigers close their Beard-Eaves-Memorial slate on a high note, clobbering No. 14 Kentucky 63-53 on Sunday. That's all for Auburn (14-15, 5-11 SEC) in the regular season. The Tigers enter this week's SEC tournament in Duluth, Ga., as the No. 10 seed. They open against seventh-seeded Florida on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET. The Gators won the teams' only meeting this season 71-68 in double overtime in Gainesville. A win would put Auburn in the quarterfinals against, guess who, second-seeded Kentucky. This might not be a bad draw for an Auburn team that needs to win twice to be eligible for the women's NIT.


Anonymous said...

The baseball team does not play at Jordan Hare Stadium like your last sentence of the Baseball section describes.

Andy Bitter said...

Clearly I wrote "across the street from Jordan-Hare Stadium" and part of it got deleted.

Obviously, I meant Plainsman Park.

ExKnightMike said...

Nice wrapup. Thanks!

The women's unexpected win over ranked Kentucky was a good one, with good effort.
I'm glad the legends like Vicki Orr, Lynne Steverson and C.C. Hayden returned to see that game instead of the lackluster effort expended in recent losses to LSU and MSU.