Trojans stake state claim

Published 9:38 pm Thursday, December 10, 2009

It may not seem like a big deal to some, but Troy went to Auburn Dec. 4 and beat the Tigers on their home court in a game of basketball.

So what, you may ask. Auburn isn’t a very good basketball team. They were picked to finish last in the SEC West and 11th overall out of 12 teams in the SEC.

However, it is still a victory over an SEC school, and an in-state one at that.

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Troy played Auburn back in 2006, and had a chance to win the game late then, too.

The point is the gap between Troy and one of the so-called big two may not be that big in this particular sport, if it even exists at all.

In fact, the win over Auburn should cause people to reconsider where they rank the basketball teams in this state. For all intents and purposes, there are five teams to take into serious consideration. Those teams are Alabama, Auburn, South Alabama, Troy and UAB.

I caught most of the Troy-UAB game online, and I would have to say UAB looks like the best team in the state at this point.

The Blazers are 8-1 and have an 18-point win over the Trojans, as well as victories over Georgia and Middle Tennessee on their resume.

The second spot is a bit tougher to decide, as I could really go either way between Alabama and Troy. I honestly believe it is a tossup.

Alabama has wins over Michigan and Baylor. However, the Tide also has a bad loss to Cornell and a loss to an average Florida State team on its 6-2 record. Troy, on the other hand, has the win over Auburn and a decent win over Valparaiso.

Two of Troy’s losses are what I would classify as quality losses, as well. Florida and UAB have proven themselves to be solid, solid basketball teams, and the Trojans should not hang their heads over losing to these two teams.

Troy is only going to get better as the season goes along, and I would not be surprised if the Trojans are widely recognized as the second best team in Alabama by season’s end.

Next, I would put South Alabama on the list. The gap between USA and the other three schools isn’t that wide, as USA has a win over SEC member Arkansas, as just a two-point loss to Rice.

Finally, we have Auburn. The Tigers are 5-4 and were beaten by Troy, as well as Missouri State, Central Florida and North Carolina State.

Auburn does have a win over Virginia, but that isn’t enough to pull Auburn from the cellar of the state.

Nick Duke a the sports writer for The Messenger and he can be reached at or on Twitter at Messenger_Nick.