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His Boss’ Job Security, His Buyout, And “The Pearl Factor” Could Work In Barbee’s Favor At AU

SEC Men's  Basketball TournamentTony Barbee will lead his Auburn Tigers onto the floor of Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena tonight for what could be the final time.  Barbee’s third AU team finished dead last in the SEC thanks to an overtime loss to Mississippi State on Saturday.  The Tigers are 9-22 on the season and have dropped 15 of their last 16 games (the program’s worst stretch since the 1940s).  At #253 they have the lowest RPI rank of any major-conference team.

Worse, in three seasons on the Plains, Barbee has gone 35-58 overall with a 12-38 mark in SEC play.  That’s the worst three-year SEC stretch in Auburn history.  And Barbee’s most recent team is his worst.

Two Tiger plays has said this week that it’s not the coach’s fault that his players haven’t bought into his plan yet.


Frankie Sullivan:  “What Coach Barbee did at UTEP is the same thing he brought here, and they won at UTEP, so obviously, his methods work.  You’ve just got to buy into it.  (Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski) doesn’t do it.  He doesn’t change his approach for his kids.  When he brings in kids, they come and they buy into it, you’ve got to get guys to come into your program and buy what you’re trying to sell.”

Chris Denson:  “People are just not buying into what Coach Barbee is talking about.  I mean, he’s a great coach and people just aren’t buying into what he’s saying.  But I think that all comes with maturity.  We’ve got a lot of young guys on the team, so we’re looking to build that up next year.”


Asked for a response, Barbee said he’s not seen buy-in as being a problem for his team.  He’s also said he’s “not at all” worried about his job security and that AD Jay Jacobs has talked to him about games only, not the overall state of the program.

For his part, Jacobs sent out an email to Auburn boosters on February 5th asking for “patience” as Barbee tries to build his program.  The very next day, the Tigers knocked off arch-rival Alabama.  They’ve lost nine straight games since.

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