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Calipari: Auburn's Tony Barbee 'coaching as well as anybody'

Feb. 10, 2014

Auburn basketball coach Tony Barbee faces his mentor, Kentucky’s John Calipari, on Wednesday night (USA Today photo)

By Phillip Marshall

Kentucky coach John Calipari had high praise for Auburn coach Tony Barbee, two days before the No. 13 Wildcats and the Tigers meet on Wednesday at Auburn Arena.

Barbee played for Calipari at UMass and was his No. 1 assistant at Memphis before moving on to be head coach at Texas-El-Paso, and then Auburn.

“Watching tape of Auburn, Tony is doing so many good things with this team,” Calipari said Monday on the Southeastern Conference’s weekly coaches’ teleconference. "His guard play is outstanding. His big guys are active, and the stuff that he’s running.

“They started with a ridiculous (Southeastern Conference) schedule that any of us would have been on a losing streak against. He’s coaching as well as anybody in this conference or in the country. To keep that going and the way they are playing is just amazing.”

The Tigers (11-10 and 3-7) lost their first six SEC games before winning three straight. They lost 87-80 last Saturday at LSU. The Wildcats (18-5 and 8-2) have won three straight and six of its last seven.

Barbee said Auburn’s inside game did not hold up at LSU.

“In our little three-game stretch where we won, our bigs played really well,” Barbee said. “They contributed on both ends of the floor - rebounding, blocking shots and scoring. …  But this last game against LSU they did not contribute, and that’s why we lost the game. We got dominated on the interior, and that’s a concern heading into this game against Kentucky.”


Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for Follow Marshall on Twitter:




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