AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn Basketball's 18-game SEC schedule for 2017-18 is highlighted by four home games against NCAA Tournament teams in Elite Eight Kentucky, Final Four South Carolina, Arkansas and Vanderbilt as well as Texas A&M, one of the preseason favorites, the league office announced on Thursday.
The Tigers, who are ranked 24th nationally in ESPN's BPI preseason ratings, will play their three traditional home-and-home games against Alabama, Georgia and Ole Miss in addition to both South Carolina and Arkansas twice. LSU comes to Auburn Arena for the only matchup between the two.
Auburn's opponents on the road only are Florida, which reached the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight last year, Missouri, Tennessee and Mississippi State.
"What jumps out at me is three or four nationally-ranked SEC teams will be coming to Auburn," said head coach Bruce Pearl. "When is the last time the league has been this strong from top to bottom? We are excited, and we will be ready."
Auburn has five Saturday home games out of nine, three of them in January and one each in February and March.
The Tigers open SEC play against Tennessee for the second time in Pearl's four seasons, this time in Knoxville on Tuesday, Jan. 2. Auburn returns home to play Arkansas on Jan. 6 and Ole Miss Jan. 9 before playing four of its next six games on the road at Mississippi State Jan. 13, at Alabama Jan. 17, Georgia Jan. 20, at Missouri Jan. 24, LSU Jan. 27 and at Ole Miss Jan. 30.
February opens with three of the first four games in Auburn Arena against Vanderbilt Feb. 3, Texas A&M Feb. 7, at Georgia Feb. 10 and vs. Kentucky on Valentine's Day. The Tigers play South Carolina, which reached the Final Four last season, twice in the last five regular season games beginning in Columbia on Feb. 17 and in Auburn on Senior Day Mar. 3.
The South Carolina games bookend Alabama Feb. 21 in Auburn Arena and a difficult two-game road swing at Florida Feb. 24 and at Arkansas Feb. 27.
The 58th SEC Tournament will be played west of the Mississippi River for the first time and in its most northern site in St. Louis, Mo., at the Scottrade Center Mar. 7-11.
Times, dates and television information will be announced at a later date.
The Tigers returned last week from an 11-day Italy Tour with a perfect 4-0 record, winning by an average of 46 points per game.
Twenty-six of the ESPN.com Top 100 recruits have signed with SEC schools and nine teams have top 31 recruiting classes. Auburn's incoming freshmen, Chuma Okeke and Davion Mitchell, are ranked 48th and 61st, respectively. Austin Wiley was a top 17 recruit before he enrolled in Auburn last December. Auburn's class is ranked 28th nationally and was ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation before Wiley enrolled.
The SEC is coming off a season where it posted an 11-5 record in the NCAA Tournament and had three teams advance to the Elite Eight. It marked the fifth time in the last seven years that the SEC had a team playing in the Final Four.
Auburn is playing in the 2017 Gildan Charleston Classic in an eight-team field of Clemson, Dayton, Temple, Hofstra, Indiana State and Old Dominion Nov. 16, 17 and 19 at TD Arena in Charleston, S.C. The Tigers play Indiana State in the opening round followed by either Temple or Old Dominion. The tournament will be televised by the ESPN networks.
Dayton reached the NCAA Tournament last season while Clemson played in the NIT.
Additional information, including travel packages, can be found on the Charleston Classic site at charlestonclassic.com.
It was announced last October that Auburn will play in the 2018 Maui Invitational for the first time in school history against a field of Arizona, Duke, Xavier, Gonzaga, Illinois, Iowa State and San Diego.
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|Auburn 2017-18 SEC Schedule|
|Jan. 2 (Tue.)||at Tennessee|
|Jan. 6 (Sat.)||Arkansas|
|Jan. 9 (Tue.)||Ole Miss|
|Jan. 13 (Sat.)||at Mississippi State|
|Jan. 17 (Wed.)||at Alabama|
|Jan. 20 (Sat.)||Georgia|
|Jan. 24 (Wed.)||at Missouri|
|Jan. 27 (Sat.)||LSU|
|Jan. 30 (Tue.)||at Ole Miss|
|Feb. 3 (Sat.)||Vanderbilt|
|Feb. 7 (Wed.)||Texas A&M|
|Feb. 10 (Sat.)||at Georgia|
|Feb. 14 (Wed.)||Kentucky|
|Feb. 17 (Sat.)||at South Carolina|
|Feb. 21 (Wed.)||Alabama|
|Feb. 24 (Sat.)||at Florida|
|Feb. 27 (Tue.)||at Arkansas|
|Mar. 3 (Sat.)||South Carolina|
|Mar. 7-11 (Wed.-Sun.)||SEC Tournament (St. Louis, MO – Scottrade Center)|