It was an offensive game, but don't lose sight of defense

I know that Arkansas scored 97 points, but it was the defense on the Auburn freshman point guard Justin Powell that looked like the difference in the game. Tate was marvelous. And, there was a nice rotation to keep a fresh man on Powell. He had seven turnovers and was 1-for-8 shooting. He will probably be a really good player, but he had a tough time off the dribble. There were a lot of hands touching the basketball when he dribbled.

I love to look at the plus/minus totals. Auburn’s leading scorer was Jamal Johnson with 21 points. His team was minus 18 in the 22 minutes he was on the floor. Yikes.

Clay there has been a lot of talk about Powell! Maybe we caught him on a bad night but also he was the focal point by coach to keep him down.
The defense was better by the team late coming down the stretch and that’s where it counted.
Without Justin Smith the hogs were even in rebounding at 34. That’s as impressive to me as anything else!
Coach mentioned post game he was going to go over 3 point defense as whole with the team. Auburn took some wild 3’s tonight that just went on that don’t happen every night.

I wonder if Tate will be interested in the extra year seniors are getting. He is a very good college guard but he’s not overly athletic, doesn’t shoot it well from distance, doubt he has much of a future in professional basketball.

Getting him for another year would be huge.

That could be possible. It will be interesting to see how many seniors come back next season across the board in college basketball.

I didn’t know basketball players were getting this option. Interesting. Tougher for basketball because of the smaller numbers that see the court.

In CEM’s post game comments, he said the plan was to put a lot of pressure on the ball defensively because Auburn doesn’t have a true point guard. He thought that might have created more open looks for 3 for them in the first half. Get something, give something. I think that strategy ended up working, though. Auburn had something like 7 turnovers in the first half, ballooned to 12 in the second half. They also cooled off a little from 3, but not much. No doubt our 3-point defense could have been better, but part of it was due to the game plan to create turnovers.

They shot 50% from deep in both halves. What we did do after halftime was give them fewer looks. They tried 17 treys in the first half, 12 in the second.

Interesting, given his 3pt% is better than both Vanover and Notael. He comes in at almost 37%. His wingspan and overall ability to play multiple positions is what I think gives him a bright future.

Good point, Swine.

Well, Justin Powell is not a PG. Since NCAA is yet to declare McDonalds AA Sharife Cooper eligible, somehow Auburn finds itself without an eligible PG on the roster. Powell has been forced into that role and you can tell Coach Muss made that Auburn weakness a focal point of his game plan. Auburn is not winning many SEC games unless Sharife qualifies.

I suppose when Bruce signed Cooper, he decided he didn’t need to fill the roster with another PG.

He was a career 27% shooter from 3 before he got here. Maybe he’s really improved it but he hasn’t looked good shooting it from 3 the last few games and it certainly doesn’t seem to be a big part of his game. Betting that 37% continues to drop.

I can see some overseas opportunities for him but his skillset doesn’t scream NBA.

Some of tate’s improvement in 3 point shooting is that he only takes open 3s, unless it’s a last second shot with the shot clock winding down. I’m sure with his previous team, he was counted on for more of the scoring, which probably caused him to shoot more contested 3s.

IMO, if he decides to come back next season, it would be the equivalent of signing a 5 star recruit. His contribution to this team in this system next season might be more than most 5-star freshmen would contribute.

I would have a resounding YES vote for him coming back next season.

We can only hope that Tate will play for the Hogs another year.
His overall ability and maturity/experience would be a net plus
for our team.

There appears to be much value to his leadership.

I know for most it’s only natural to simply think that one’s ticket to the NBA is offense, but Pat Beverly ain’t in the NBA because of his offense. Just listened to Muss on his conference call and he pretty much nailed Tate’s worth - he takes the other team’s best player out of the game. Powell, while not really a point guard, had to play that position last night and is arguable their best player (according to Muss). Tate guarded him. Powell had 7 TO’s. That’s like Tate scoring 14 points if you want to think of it in offensive terms. Powell averages 12.8ppg. Last night he went 1-8 from the field. 0-3 from 3 and had 4 pts. That’s what makes Tate great.

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