Auburn Basketball Continues to Make History
The Auburn basketball team watches the NCAA Tournament selection show. The Tigers made the tournament for the first time in 15 years. (photo: Julie Bennett /al.com)
The Auburn men’s basketball team made history Sunday night by receiving its second highest berth ever in the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers were selected as the No. 4 seed for the Midwest Region. Auburn (25–7, 13–6 SEC) will play the College of Charleston (26–7) in the first round in San Diego, California on Friday.
Although Auburn lost to Alabama in the SEC Tourney, the Tigers enter the tournament ranked No. 16 and winners of a share of the regular season SEC title. Early odds make the Tigers an 11-point favorite to win their first game. Should they advance, they will face the winner of No. 5 seed Clemson vs. No. 12 seed New Mexico State game on Sunday.
Auburn’s chances at making a run may rest on the perimeter shooting that saw the Tigers jump off to a 16–1 start on the season. When Bryce Brown and his teammates are hot with the three pointers, the Tigers win. When the long balls are cold, they struggle as they did in three of their last four games.
But Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said it’s a chance to play for the national championship. “When you are in this tournament, you have to win six games to win it,” said Pearl. “The bracket is loaded at the top with Kansas, Duke and Michigan State—Auburn being the fourth seed in that group. It’s pretty darn good from a standpoint of profile and national programs and to be in the top four seeds in this bracket is a tremendous statement for the [SEC] regular-season champions.”
Auburn guard Jared Harper said he welcomes the challenge. “It’s a great opportunity. “Before I came to Auburn, … I wanted to make history,” Harper said. “Coming to Auburn, the basketball program wasn’t always what it is now, so we’re starting a new tradition.”
The Tigers will continue their quest to add to that history when they take on Charleston at 6:30 CT Friday in San Diego.
War Eagle and …
Beat the Cougars!