Auburn Basketball: In-Depth Look at Varez Ward Investigation

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Auburn Basketball: In-Depth Look at Varez Ward Investigation
Photo Credit: SB Nation

After Yahoo! Sports broke the news Thursday afternoon that the NCAA and FBI are investigating Auburn guard Varez Ward for point-shaving, not much more information has been released.

Only two statements have been released: one by NCAA officials and another by Auburn, who released an official statement Thursday afternoon.

In addition to jokes referring about Auburn struggling to score points this season—averaging 62.6 per conference game—if found guilty, Ward would possibly face jail time.

While most people may not think a player averaging only nine points a game can play a major role alone in a case like the one that is alleged, fans who watched the Alabama game can make an easy connection.

Taking a closer look at Ward's performance in the two games being investigated and the three games between those two, there is clear inconsistency.

Ward was injured within the first minute of the game at Arkansas on Jan. 25.

The game before, a victory against South Carolina, Ward scored eight points off the bench.

While attempting to get open for an inbounds pass, Ward and Arkansas guard Michael Sanchez collided, with Sanchez's knee driving into Ward's thigh.

 

Initially, the injury did not seem too bad. However, Ward lay on the foul for over a minute before play stopped to assist him off the court.

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Ward did not return during the 56-53 defeat. Auburn covered the nine-point spread.

Over the next three games—a 64-49 loss to Tennessee, a 59-51 win against Georgia and a 91-88 loss at Mississippi State—Ward played 87 minutes off the bench.

Against Tennessee, Ward scored 12 points, while committing only one turnover. Ward scored 17 points while again only committing one turnover against Georgia. Against Mississippi State, Ward scored a career-high 24 points with only one turnover.

During the three-game stretch, Ward also shot 84 percent (27-of-32) from the free-throw line, featuring a perfect 12-of-12 against Georgia.

As Alabama took the court at Auburn Arena on Feb. 7, the honeymoon ended.

Ward scored three points in 17 minutes while turning the ball over six times. He also shot 50 percent from the line.

Despite his stat line not sounding overly bad, witnessing the performance was atrocious.

At times, Ward would take the ball straight down the court and attempt a layup that had no chance of falling. He also had several shots that didn't even find rim.

After the Tide claimed a 68-50 victory, easily covering the spread, Ward would combine for 22 points and six turnovers over the next three games before being suspended indefinitely.

While Ward has not released a formal statement, he has had federal authorities seize his phone through a court order and question him with a lie-detector test.

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