The rest of the college hoops world is definitely looking at the Auburn basketball program’s demise in 2021-22 as karmic.
Tiger fans relentlessly meme-blasted opponents following all 28 wins, with things reaching a fever pitch during SEC play. No doubt, the Auburn family took the return lashes graciously.
But when Tennessee State’s social media manager is wondering why there is a historic amount of Twitter engagement on the final score of a loss to Murray State, one had to question whether things were going too far.
Perhaps they were, perhaps they weren’t. ‘Too far’ seems arbitrary when talking about college hoops fandom, after all.
Beyond the meme-blasting, there was another ‘Icarus’ like quality Auburn basketball fans showed in their enthusiasm: the false designation of being a blue blood program.
Now look, most knowledgeable Tiger die-hards said it in jest. AU has never won an NCAA Championship in basketball, automatically disqualifying the orange and blue from having blood that’s blue too.
But the talk grew too toxic when talks of Auburn ‘breaking’ and even owning the University of North Carolina became prevalent. UNC just knocked off a highly talented Duke team en route to their 11th NCAA Championship game appearance. Auburn basketball has never made a single game.
Tiger fans had their fun, and will have more fun despite what anyone prints in a digital/print publication. But the Auburn family needs to embrace their status in the college basketball world.
And it’s not as a blue blood.
Auburn basketball is part of the ‘new blood’ class of college hoops ready to lead the sport forward.
Duke, UNC, Kansas, Villanova. It was 2022 Final Four that lacked any of the excited energy of a burgeoning young program looking to leave their footprint on the NCAA.
It was also a Final Four of blue bloods. These teams all have at least three titles and are part of the nine-team fraternity of teams that can all claim the same.
AU did not get a bid to the metaphorical blue blood rush, but they are apart of an exciting new push in college hoops. Bruce Pearl’s Auburn Tigers, just like Mark Few’s Gonzaga Bulldogs, Scott Drew’s Baylor Bears, and even Rick Barnes’ Tennessee Volunteers are a few of the schools that comprise the sports ‘new blood’.
These will be the teams earning massive recruiting wins in the coming years, and could all bring their programs a first (or in Baylor’s case, second) championship in school history.
Yohan Traore’s commitment to Bruce Pearl and co. was the first sign that Auburn will be an NBA Draft factory following Jabari Smith’s legendary one-and-done campaign, and there could be even more wins to come in the offseason.
Auburn basketball doesn’t need a false blue blood designation to own its exciting place in the college hoops galaxy.