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November 14, 2012

Chubb loves Charleston, tougher schedule

AUBURN, Ala. — Three-quarters of Rob Chubb’s collegiate athletic career has overlapped with that of his older sister, Elyse.

Elyse Chubb just completed an illustrious volleyball career at College of Charleston (S.C.) — she was either Southern Conference Freshman of the Year or first-team all-conference each of her four years with the Cougars. After graduation, she took a job with a brokerage firm, remaining in Charleston.

So Rob Chubb was elated when he found out the site of the Auburn men’s basketball team’s early-season tournament.

“Haven’t really seen her much because of conflicting schedules,” Rob Chubb said Tuesday. “That’ll be good to get up there and see her.”

That’s not the only reason Chubb, a senior center, approves of the Tigers taking part in the Charleston Classic. Coach Tony Barbee put an emphasis on arranging for a tougher non-conference schedule to beef up Auburn’s RPI and craft a battle-tested squad heading into SEC action.

“He’s working his butt off to get us in front of different competition, higher-class tournaments,” Chubb said. “Wins against a bunch of no-namers doesn’t really mean anything. We’re trying to get ours, and this is going to prove that we’re worth it.”

It’s not easy to schedule 30-win opponents, but that’s just the position Auburn has fallen into, drawing Murray State (32-2 in 2011-12) tonight in the Charleston Classic first round at TD Arena. The Racers’ 23-0 start made them the last Division I team to lose a game last season, and they return All-American guard Isaiah Canaan — who averaged 19.0 points and nearly three 3-point goals his junior year.

“It is a team that has a lot of confidence and plays with a lot of swagger about them,” Barbee said. “You can tell that they won a lot of games last year, and they play like it. They are a fast-paced team, really good in transition and are a great offensive rebounding team.”

After the Racers come any combination of solid competition in College of Charleston, St. John’s, Dayton, Colorado, Baylor and Boston College. The Tigers play again Friday and Sunday, making for three games in four days.

“It’s going to test our chemistry as a team. We’ll see how we react,” Chubb said. “It comes down to our second line — once the veterans get out, how are the freshmen going to react?

“They have the skill; they just need the stability. This will test their mental toughness.”

Chubb was excited to view the overall non-conference schedule, which follows with a road game at Boston College, a neutral-site matchup against Illinois in Chicago, and Florida State back at home.

“As we’ve seen in the past, if we just mosey along, once the actual SEC conference play comes in, we’re not used to playing hard teams and everybody’s used to being lackadaisical on the defensive end,” Chubb said.

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