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Bruce Pearl talks up Auburn basketball at Media Days
Oct. 21, 2015

BrucePearl
Bruce Pearl talks Auburn basketball at SEC Media Day in Charlotte

By Charles Goldberg
AuburnTigers.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. ― Bruce Pearl was in his element, talking up college basketball, selling Auburn hoops, simply being engaging and entertaining in front of every ESPN camera that pointed his way.

Auburn's basketball coach was one of the sought-after voices for the second consecutive year at the SEC basketball media day/SEC Network event on Wednesday, whether he was talking about rule changes, his young team or his thoughts of playing basketball in a football league.

Pearl did a bunch of interviews. He wasn't quite sure how many. But he was in his old stomping grounds where he once served as an ESPN basketball analyst

The two players he brought, Cinmeon Bowers and Tyler Harris, made the rounds as well.

Pearl also brought some of his one, two and three-liners, like the one on changing the shot clock from 35 seconds to 30.

"We play so fast it doesn't matter. We either shoot it too quickly or turn it over before the shot clock is ever a factor," Pearl joked.

Harris is in his first year at Auburn, but earned this trip to a different media day because of his leadership after transferring in from Providence.

"This was different than the Big East," he said. "This one was more fun."

Auburn returns four scholarship players. Indeed, the Tigers have only 12 on scholarship when they could have 13. But Auburn, with a 15-20 record in Pearl's first season, finished with a nice run last year with three wins in the SEC Tournament.

Pearl said that's momentum.

"When you win three games in three days, and it took 14 years of Auburn basketball in the SEC Tournament to win three games, you've got something started," he said.

That was different for Auburn.

"We got to March, when it really matters in college basketball, and all of the sudden ESPN is starting to talk about Auburn basketball, and not for a coaching change or anything else going on. They're talking about Auburn basketball winning meaningful games in March when it matters the most," Pearl said. "Last year's team, in a spite of facing adversity, didn't quit, they weren't ready to go on spring break. They represented, and our fans, we were selling out games at the end of the year. Our fans were coming because our kids were playing hard."

A vote by the media predicting this year's finish didn't take that into account. Kentucky was picked to win it all, of course. Auburn?

"We were picked 10th," Pearl said. "I think we were picked slightly higher last year, and I've got a much more talented team this year. We're picked where we are because that's how good the league really is."

Auburn has all but sold out its season tickets. Pearl is proud of that. The basketball team will now entertain fans at Pearl Jam at 7 p.m. Thursday in Auburn Arena on the way to two exhibition games in late October.

Pearl is also a realist when it comes to fall basketball.

"We have to stop apologizing for being a football conference," he said. "We're a football conference, and we should be proud of being a football conference because we live in the best football conference in America, bar none, and we have for a long, long time. In late October and early November, in the East and the North and the West, we're they're just about done with football, with the exception of a couple of schools, we're just getting warmed up in the South. We should stop apologizing for that.

"We have to wait a little bit longer until the focus comes our way, but that doesn't mean our people don't love basketball as much. We've just got 90,000 people at a football stadium, and traveling to a bowl game and playing for national championships."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter:


 

 

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