Lebo Says Basketball Schedule "Challenging"

Auburn, Ala.--Home games vs. Temple and Southern Miss and road games at Colorado State and Pittsburgh are the highlights of the non-conference schedule announced by Auburn coach Jeff Lebo.

The 2005-2006 campaign will be celebrated as the 100th anniversary of Auburn basketball. As part of the Centennial Celebration the Tigers will wear "throwback jerseys" when they play Arkansas on January 21st to commemorate what is officially listed as Auburn's first intercollegiate game, a 27-7 victory over Tulane on Jan. 18th, 1906.

The Tigers will also be wearing their "throwback jerseys on Feb. 18th at home vs. LSU as part of the SEC's Throwback Jersey Weekend. Each of the league's 12 teams will participate by wearing replica uniforms from an earlier team at their colleges.

The Tigers open the regular season on Nov. 20th at home vs. David Lipscomb, six days after playing an exhibition game vs. West Alabama at 7 p.m.

Frank Tolbert (right) fights for rebounding posiiton last season.

Lebo's second Auburn team opens Southeastern Conference play in Nashville on Jan. 7th at Memorial Gym vs. the Vanderbilt Commodores.

Outside the conference, the Tigers play a road game at Texas A&M, a team that received an NIT bid last season. That contest is set for Dec. 22 in College Station, Tex.

The Tigers will play a pair of lower profile NCAA Tournament teams from last season. Southeastern Louisiana will be at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum on Dec. 14th and Winthrop will visit on the 29th of that month. Eleven of AU's games will be against opponents who played in the 2005 NCAA tournament.

Lebo contends that despite the non-conference portion of the schedule featuring opponents such as David Lipscomb, Gardner-Webb, McNeese State and Jacksonville State that the Tigers have a demanding schedule.

"I thought last year's schedule was very, very difficult, and I think this year's is tougher than last year's," he says. "It is probably too tough for a very young team, but we certainly have challenged ourselves with three true road games before conference play at Colorado State, at Pittsburgh and at Texas A&M.

"We also have Temple coming in," the coach says. "One of the better teams on the schedule, I think, will be Winthrop, who is traditionally in the NCAA tournament, and no one ever wants to play them. We certainly will be challenged with a very young team early. We'll find out about some of these young kids in hostile environments.

Ronny LeMelle "We certainly didn't shy away from anything this year," Lebo adds. "You like to schedule to your team. We had some things in place, and we had some late changes to our team (Freshman All-SEC point guard Toney Douglas transferred to FSU). So, we probably have a schedule that is a little bit difficult for where we are right now, but I know our kids are looking forward to playing top-notch people."

Season tickets for the general public, which are $205, go on sale on Oct. 17th. Fans interested in obtaining the best seats available should contact Tigers Unlimited prior to Wednesday to make arrangements for those season tickets. Single game tickets are $15 except for games vs. Kentucky and Alabama that are $25. Youth tickets, if purchased in advance, are $10 for fans 17 and under.

With eight newcomers on the team, including five true freshmen, the Tigers will certainly be young and will have a very different look. Last year's squad normally played with nobody in the lineup taller than six-foot-five. That will change this season and it is unlikely that Auburn fans will see the lineups that featured four guards on the floor at the same time.

More size should come from a trio of 6-7 true freshman forwards--Korvotney Barber, Josh Dollard and Joey Cameron. After fall semester classes end in December, 6-8 transfer Emmanuel Willis is expected to help inside.

Other newcomers include 6-5 freshman guard Rasheem Barrett, 5-11 juco transfer guard Michael Woodard, 6-3 freshman guard Quantez Robertson and 6-8 transfer Quan Prowell, who will redshirt this season.

The Tigers return 6-3 sophomore guard Frank Tolbert, 6-5 sophomore guard/forward Daniel Hayles, 6-6 junior guard Moses Edun, 6-1 junior guard Brett Howell and 6-5 senior guard Ronny LeMelle is back after missing last season with an injury.

Commenting on the conference teams his team faces, Lebo says, "The SEC schedule is very similar to what we had last year in which we had a lot of home games early in January. We have a stretch in February in which we have four of five games on the road, which is always difficult no matter what league, especially this league. We have our bye week very early, which is what we had last year as well. It will be exciting to have an ESPN game against Kentucky in here as well."

Daniel Hayles will be a sophomore for the Tigers this season.

"We are going to take our lumps early with this team with this youth," Lebo says. "We are going to have Emanuel Willis, who will be eligible at the break."

Willis is expected to be available for the Dec. 14th game vs. Southeastern Louisiana.

Lebo says that Auburn fans can expect to see growing pains this season. "Show me a team that plays a lot of freshmen, and I'll show you a team that takes their lumps. Hopefully, this will be a nucleus of guys who will be with us for four years that we can watch grow, watch develop and hopefully, watch improve. This class is really going to be a class that will be the anchor for the future of Auburn Basketball."

2005-2006 Auburn Schedule

Nov. 14--West Alabama 7 p.m. (exhibition)

Nov. 20--David Lipscomb at Auburn 2 p.m.

Nov. 25--Gardner-Webb at Auburn 7 p.m.

Nov. 28--Auburn at Colorado State 8 p.m.

Dec. 1--McNeese State at Auburn 7 p.m.

Dec. 4--Auburn at Pittsburgh 6 p.m.

Dec. 14--Southeastern Louisiana at Auburn 7 p.m.

Dec. 18--Temple at Auburn 2 p.m.

Dec. 22--Auburn at Texas A&M 7 p.m.

Dec. 29--Winthrop at Auburn 7 p.m.

Dec. 31--Jacksonville State at Auburn 1 p.m.

Jan. 4--Southern Miss at Auburn 5 p.m.

Jan. 7--Auburn at Vanderbilt (JP) 1 p.m.

Jan. 11--Alabama at Auburn 7 p.m. (JP)

Jan. 14--Auburn at Florida 5 p.m. (FSN)

Jan. 21--Arkansas at Auburn 1 p.m. (Centennial Celebration)

Jan. 24--Kentucky at Auburn 6 p.m.(ESPN)

Jan. 28--Georgia at Auburn 2 p.m. (JP)

Feb. 1--Auburn at LSU, 7 p.m.

Feb. 4 at Mississippi State (FSN), 6 p.m.

(FSN) Feb. 8--Ole Miss at Auburn 7 p.m.

Feb. 11--Auburn at Arkansas 7 p.m.

(FSN) Feb. 15--Auburn at Tennessee 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 18--LSU at Auburn 5 p.m. (SEC Throwback Jersey Weekend) (FSN)

Feb. 22--Mississippi State at Auburn 7 p.m.

Feb. 25--Auburn at Ole Miss 7:30 p.m.

(FSN) March 1--Auburn at Alabama 7 p.m.

Mar. 4 --South Carolina at Auburn 1 p.m.

Mar. 9-12--SEC Tournament TBA



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