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Auburn Wins Greatest Game in Program History to Advance to Final Four

By on March 31st, 2019 in Basketball, News 24 Comments »

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…

Beat Virginia!


  1. WarSamEagle WarSamEagle says:

    What a game! Each one gets better and better. It really is Great to be an Auburn Tiger!

  2. uglyjoe says:

    So does this paint Bruce Pearl as Moses or Joshua?

    • Sullivan013 Sullivan013 says:


      Aeneas would be my choice – leading us from ancient defeat and destruction into a new era in which we are destined to dominate the future.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Presented with those choices, I'd have to say Moses since Pearl's delivered us to the Promise Land. Now if he wins a natty, then that might make him a Joshua since Joshua put the Israelites on the map by winning many battles.

      And I always like the way David Housel and Coach Dye would often use Biblical metaphors, like with Dye's locker room speech after winning the 1989 First Time Ever Iron Bowl on The Plains:

      “I wouldn't swap this year for any year I've been at Auburn. I wouldn't swap it men 'cause I've watched you struggle, and I've watched you wrestle with them angels ….and, and….but I've watched you grow up and become men……I watched you become men.”

      Dye will always be the Moses of Auburn Football.

  3. wareagle3020 wareagle3020 says:

    WAR EAGLE!!! Great to be an Auburn Tiger! Kicked the blue bloods in the butt BIG BLUE!

  4. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    …..Nice write-up! I set my alarm and got up on 3 hours of sleep, to watch it. Well worth it! I’ll get a bigger snozz today.

  5. neonbets says:

    After the 3rd quarter, I was actually of the opinion that Harper was having a poor game. Man did he turn it on at the end! Just a cool customer.

    That Auburn won with that pace of play while being undermanned was remarkable. I never would have thought they could beat Kentucky in a game that ended with scores in the 60s (regulation).

    Kentucky should just change its jerseys to a zebra motif, as those refs were clearing operating as a collective ‘6th man’. Just awful officiating…I half expected them to hit Okeke with a foul or two.

    And finally, my new nickname for Coach Pearl–The Gif Generator. Every game with Bruce Pearl is a journey through the psyche of the human condition. Every emotion is accounted for…and then some! Even Germans would be at a loss for words in describing this uninhibited cauldron.

    At one point early in the 2nd half (I think), Pearl wasn’t happy with a call and his negative head-shake is an instant classic. And how about his chameleon like ability to instantaneously change the color of his entire face to a ‘panic button red’!? Truly, this is a medical marvel.

    Just so much fun to watch this Auburn team to play the game. Thank you to both AubTigerman and Zach for the great coverage of Tiger B-Ball this year. You guys kept at it, even when Auburn seemed as if it might not make the Tournament. You guys really helped me to keep up with the team and it’s made the ride even more fun—so thanks again!

    • hello2196 says:

      Enjoyed the game, and
      Enjoyed this comment. Especially the part about the Zebra’s. I couldn’t agree more.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Thanks for the kind remarks Neon. We appreciate your participation here at TET.
      Always enjoy your comments. Often times they are better than anything I write. And today's are no exception:

      * "new nickname for Coach Pearl–The Gif Generator"

      * "how about his chameleon like ability to instantaneously change the color of his entire face to a ‘panic button red’!?"

      And my favorite:
      * "Kentucky should just change its jerseys to a zebra motif, as those refs were clearly operating as a collective ‘6th man’. Just awful officiating…I half expected them to hit Okeke with a foul or two."

      You should write a column for us.

      War Eagle!

  6. Jason Wright says:

    War Damn Tigers!!!

  7. idnod idnod says:

    Remarkable run thru both tourneys !! Yesterday was NOT our prettiest game, but it was a tough, grind it out, get it done game .. Congratulations to the entire team and coaching staff. Now, go beat Virginia. By the way, I hope they put up a statue of Calipari 🙂

  8. Good article ATM. I’m so excited. BTW, the last team to beat Kansas, UNC, and Kentucky was Arizona and they went on to win the national championship!

    • jbellison56 says:

      No disrespect intended here, but where did you get that stat? I know they beat Kentucky to win the national championship, but I can’t find where they beat the 3 teams in arow (Kansas, UNC, Kentucky) to do it. According to Phillip Marshall over at Auburn Undercover, Auburn is the first to accomplish that.

  9. Wow! just Unbelieveable!!!!

  10. Im4Auburn says:

    What a beautiful chemistry this team has and we can thank Bruce Pearl for that. War Eagle!

  11. AUglenn says:

    It’s Great to be an Auburn Tiger!
    But, I’m concerned about Virginia they are 33-3. but no matter what happens this team has proven they belong among the best teams in the country.
    Go Tigers! Beat the Cav’s!!!

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      I know, I've worried about each opponent from the time Auburn beat Tennessee to win the SEC Tourney. One things has been a constant with each game, Auburn has shown there is no stage too big for them.

  12. Tigerpharm says:

    I would have never thought it possible to to beat Kansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky in a row. But it seems nothing is impossible for this bunch. War Eagle!

  13. Your right ATM, this team has a "contagious confidence." They struggled a bit in this game with Okeke on the sideline, but that confidence held them together and they got the win. Virginia may be 33 -3 but if I was there coach, I wouldn't want to draw Auburn. They've proven they are the most dangerous team in the Tournament.
    Also, like Neobets above, I appreciate the coverage here at TET.

  14. audad says:

    I'm in Las Vegas at a conference for a few days. Lots of buzz here about Auburn being in the final 4. My son is the Auburn alum, but I root hard for them just like he does. He was able to get to KC last weekend with one of his Auburn buddies and be at the game to see them make history. Very happy he could experience that.

    And I gotta tell you, it's pretty cool walking into the Sports Book at this large, fancy hotel I'm staying at and seeing AUBURN listed on the big highlighted betting board for the final 4.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Thanks for sharing Dad. Hope you have a good conference.

  15. […] in the span of 14 days the Tigers blew out Tennessee, Kansas, and North Carolina and then defeated Kentucky in overtime (without their best player) to win the Midwest Region and advance to the Final Four. Adding insult […]

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