Auburn formally punched its ticket to the Big Dance.
Bruce Pearl’s program earned its second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth — and its fourth within the final 5 postseasons — throughout Sunday’s choice present, when the Tigers had been tabbed as a ninth-seed within the Midwest Region. Auburn (20-12) will face eighth-seeded Iowa (19-13) within the opening spherical of the match Thursday in Birmingham at Legacy Arena. It’s the primary time in 12 all-time NCAA Tournament appearances that Auburn has drawn a nine-seed.
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Tipoff time and tv channel for Auburn’s matchup with Iowa will probably be introduced later Sunday.
Auburn earned its NCAA Tournament bid regardless of struggling to shut out video games through the ultimate stretch of the season, when the Tigers went 4-9 over their ultimate 13 video games and misplaced six of these video games by 5 factors or fewer, with 5 of these losses coming in Quad 1 matchups. Still, Auburn constructed a strong-enough resume all through the season to warrant an at-large bid; the Tigers entered Selection Sunday ranked thirty second within the NET, and their 79-70 victory in opposition to Tennessee (NET No. 4) within the regular-season finale final week gave Pearl’s group a signature win that each one however shored up its March Madness berth.
Auburn completed the season 7-10 in opposition to groups that made the sector of 68 and earned the No. 35 total seed within the subject. Iowa is the No. 32 total seed. Since 2010, ninth-seeded groups have a .514 successful proportion within the opening spherical in opposition to eighth-seeded groups.
Now the Tigers head to their fourth NCAA Tournament in 9 seasons beneath Pearl. The program additionally went dancing in 2018, 2019 and 2022; there was no NCAA Tournament in 2020 because of the pandemic, and Auburn served a self-imposed postseason ban in 2021. Prior to Pearl’s arrival on the Plains, Auburn had simply eight NCAA Tournament appearances in program historical past and none since 2003.
The Tigers have received at the least one NCAA Tournament sport in every of their prior three March Madness journeys throughout Pearl’s tenure. Auburn received within the first spherical in opposition to College of Charleston in 2018 as a No. 4 seed earlier than dropping to Clemson within the Round of 32. The following 12 months, fifth-seeded Auburn made a run to the Final Four for the primary time in program historical past earlier than dropping to Virginia within the semifinal. Last 12 months, Auburn earned a No. 2 seed and defeated Jacksonville State within the opening spherical earlier than bowing out to Miami within the second spherical.
To maintain that development intact, Auburn must undergo Iowa within the opening spherical this week. If the Tigers win, they’d face both top-seeded Houston or Sixteenth-seeded Northern Kentucky within the second spherical Saturday with a visit to the Sweet 16 in Kansas City on the road. Auburn’s final Sweet 16 look, in 2019, additionally occurred in Kansas City.
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Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.