Alabama opens Southeastern Conference tournament play today. Auburn gets going Friday against either the Crimson Tide or Texas A&M.
You will not believe this, but the postseason awards handed out Monday will not determine whether either team wins or loses.
By now, if you’re a fan of either team, you’re aware of the situation.
Auburn, the conference’s co-regular season champion, placed zero players on the league’s first-team all-conference squad, which the coaches voted upon. Dynamic point guard Jared Harper was denied Player of the Year honors. Rick Barnes, not Bruce Pearl, was named the league’s coach of the year — by both the Associated Press and the league’s 14 coaches.
Outcry was fierce. A man claiming to be an Auburn fan burned his SEC hat in protest of the snub, producing a now-viral social media clip. Pearl took to Twitter to defend his players — players who really should have been honored.
Convincing anyone there was no room on the first-team for either Harper, Mustapha Heron or Bryce Brown borders upon impossible. At least one, pick at your own discretion, merited such honors. Heron wasn’t honored on any of the coaches teams, an oversight of epic proportions.
But correlating these honors to some sort of on-court success is moronic. If Auburn fizzles out in the SEC tournament and NCAA tournament, it will not be because its players were snubbed. If Alabama ekes into the NCAA tournament, it won’t be because Collin Sexton was named Freshman of the Year.
These awards are nothing more than pats on the back, some ballots filled out by tired sports information directors and even more tired media members. They are worth little more than pride and the inflation of ego. Some can handle it.
We’ll see if these teams can, too.