Oct. 27, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. - Tony Barbee can use a really big starting lineup or a small starting lineup and just about everything in between this basketball season.
What he does in Auburn's exhibition opener against Victory University at 7 Monday night is still up in the air. But that's OK. Barbee is still evaluating everybody, even for the regular-season opener against Nicholls State on Nov. 8.
"I don't have an idea of a starting lineup," Barbee says. "We're playing with different combinations. The thing about this team is we can play big, we can play small, we could play an all shooting group, we could play a grind-it-out defensive group. "
That really big lineup would be interesting.
Try Asauhn Dixon-Tatum, Benas Griciunas and Matthew Atewe.
"We've played with some of those lineups. You're talking 7-foot, 7-foot and 6-10," Barbee said.
But, really, he's not saying.
"All those things will be determined as we head into our first regular-season game. But in the exhibition, you'll see crazy lineups, you'll see a variety of different groups. Just like in The Bahamas, you might see one starting lineup in the first half and a different starting lineup in the second half."
Barbee needs to look at different combinations considering he has eight new players and four players who played last season. The early look will be how new point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen runs the floor. Other newcomers looking to fit in are Griciunas, Atewe, Virginia transfer KT Harrell along with Dion Wade, Alex Thompson, Malcolm Canada, Chris Griffin and Atewe.
The four returning players are Dixon-Tatum, Chris Denson, Allen Payne and Jordon Granger.
Auburn has a leg up on most because of a summer-time exhibition trip to The Bahamas.
"You're always trying to break down how far along you are because real games are around the corner,' Barbee said. "We've had the fortune of the foreign tour, and we're so far ahead of a lot of my coaching friends. They're behind in everything they're doing. That's the feeling I usually have this time of year because it's just not enough time in the preseason. We were fortunate to have the foreign tour so now I feel like we're ahead in a lot of things.
"I just want to see carryover from what we built on this summer."
Auburn will play another exhibition game, against Paine College on Nov. 1, before opening the season against Nicholls State in Auburn Arena.
Charles Goldberg is a Senor Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine