Auburn Wins Greatest Game in Program History to Advance to Final Four
Auburn Basketball is the NCAA Midwest Region Champs! (photo: Charlie Riedell / AP)
After 113 years of wandering in the wilderness, the Auburn Tigers are going to the Final Four. And the Tigers did it with yet another win over one of basketball’s royalty: Auburn 77, Kentucky 71. No one, I mean no one, thought they could do it except the coach who instilled a contagious confidence in this team.
The Tigers’ last loss came on February 23rd in Lexington after which Bruce Pearl built a fire under this team that almost seems inextinguishable. Looking back, that has to be the turning point that produced this magical post season run. Players at the time said their coach gave them a postgame talk that made them believe they could do it. And nothing has been the same since.
After being down 35–30 at the half, the Tigers rallied to beat the Wildcats in overtime and win the Midwest Regional Championship. The victory also achieved another milestone by notching Auburn’s first 30-win season in program history. And the Tigers did it with the their best player, Chuma Okeke, sitting behind the bench in a wheel chair.
For most of the game the three pointers were not falling as they had been leading up to the region final. However, it didn’t matter as the Tigers made up for it with an inside game and clutch baskets at the foul line. Jared Harper and Bryce Brown led the charge, combining for 50 points. Both made the All-Region Team with Harper being named the Region MVP.
No one can deny they deserve to play in Minneapolis. The Tigers beat the three winningest programs in history to earn the right. Kansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky own a combined 17 national championships.
They were all classic games but advancing to the Final Four against Kentucky had to be the best. In fact, Charles Barkley opined that it was the, “Greatest game in Auburn basketball history.”
I’m sure most Auburn fans would agree that it was the greatest game in the history of the program. However, this season isn’t over yet. There’s two more games ahead that may, just may, eclipse this regional final. For now though let’s just enjoy this one because it sure feels, “Great to be an Auburn Tiger!”
War Eagle and…