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'A new tradition': Auburn embraces March Madness bid
<em>'A great opportunity': Jared Harper, right, celebrates Auburn's NCAA Tournament bid with teammates Davion Mitchell, middle, and Pat Keim, left. Photo: Wade Rackley/Auburn Athletics</em>
'A great opportunity': Jared Harper, right, celebrates Auburn's NCAA Tournament bid with teammates Davion Mitchell, middle, and Pat Keim, left. Photo: Wade Rackley/Auburn Athletics
March 11, 2018

By Jeff Shearer
AuburnTigers.com

AUBURN, Ala. - Seated amid three generations of Pearls, Auburn coach Bruce Pearl began pointing at the big screen, confident Auburn would be the next team to flash on the monitor.

Sure enough, the SEC regular season champions were the next school on TV, the No. 4 seed in the Midwest Regional.

Auburn's players and coaches celebrated Sunday evening in the F. Steve Taylor Family Auditorium, savoring the Tigers' return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003.

"For us to be able to participate is going to be great," said sophomore guard Jared Harper. "I know all of us are comfortable where we are and the matchups that we have that we'll be able to advance."

Auburn plays the College of Charleston, the No. 13 seed, Friday at 6:27 p.m. CT on truTV in San Diego. The winner will face either No. 5 seed Clemson or No. 12 seed New Mexico State on Sunday.

"Auburn has come a long way with the basketball program, and we've all come a long way within it. It's a great opportunity," Harper said. "It's a great feeling. Before I came to Auburn, it was part of my decision. I wanted to make history.

"Coming to Auburn, the basketball program wasn't always what it is now. We're starting a new tradition."

Bryce Brown, Auburn's second-leading scorer, relished the chance to continue playing a key role in what has been one of the most memorable seasons in program history.

"Knowing where the program has come from is a big honor," Brown said. "We're going to take advantage of every opportunity we have. We have to hit the reset button and play how we can, and we shouldn't have a problem at all.

"I'm ready. My team is ready. I feel confident. I'm ready to take on this journey."

Minutes later, Pearl referred to the three teams -- with 10 NCAA championships among them - seeded with Auburn in the Midwest's top four.

"Kansas, Duke, Michigan State and Auburn," Pearl said with a smile. "All household names in college basketball. As I always ask Desean [Murray, Auburn's leading rebounder], `Desean, what is this?'"

"A great opportunity, Coach," Murray replied. "It's a great opportunity," Pearl repeated, before leaving to begin preparing for that opportunity.

"We do not want this season to end," Pearl told the Tigers. "We're two wins away from the Sweet 16. This team can do that. And that's what our mission is."

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter:


NCAA Tournament Info

Ticket Info

Click HERE to purchase tickets directly through StubHub.

Tiger Walk

Sunday, March 18, 1:15 p.m. PST
Team Hotel - Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego (West Entrance facing Cheesecake Factory)
1 Market Place
San Diego, CA 92101

Coverage

Follow the Tigers with the Tournament Central page at AuburnTigers.com/ncaa, presented by Ford.

Watch Party

The Auburn Family is invited to attend the official watch party location of Auburn Basketball in Auburn on Sunday, March 18 at Baumhower's Victory Grille at 6:00 pm CST.

Auburn Basketball in Auburn on Sunday, March 18 at Baumhower's Victory Grille at 6:00 pm CST
 

 

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