Bruce Pearl believes Houston is ‘maybe the best team in the country’

Bruce Pearl did not hold back praise when speaking about Auburn’s second matchup of the 2023 March Madness tournament, the Midwest Region’s No. 1 seed Houston, while speaking to reporters on March 17.

“It is an opportunity to play maybe the best team in the country,” Pearl told a press scrum the day between their first-round victory against Iowa and their chance to go to the Sweet 16 on Saturday against the Cougars (h/t 247Sports).

Pearl believes the Tigers are going to have a performance that exceeds the ‘special’ label to knock off Houston. “Certainly a No. 1 seed. We are going to need to be on our game on both ends of the floor, but it is an opportunity for us to make history. It is going to take something real special,” he said.

Bruce Pearl shouts out various Tigers for performance vs Iowa

Bruce Pearl shouted out several Tigers following Auburn’s 83-75 victory over Iowa on March 16 at Birmingham’s Legacy Arena.

K.D. Johnson, who made several key shots in the second half to help seal the deal after the Hawkeyes carved into a 15-point lead. “Obviously, K.D. Johnson’s energy and scoring ability off the bench, what a punch that is for us,” Pearl said.

Mountain Brook product Lior Berman got love from Pearl a day after he helped gift himself a Tigers win on his birthday. “Lior Berman will guard physically, and he is going to make a shot. Even though yesterday was a birthday, and he didn’t make a shot (three-pointer), he is going to make a shot,” Pearl said. “You have to guard him out there.”

Pearl then shouted out Allen Flanigan and Dylan Cardwell for helping the Tigers push past foul trouble from Jaylin Williams and an injury to Chris Moore. “(Flanigan) hadn’t played a minute there all year long and we managed to sort of piece it together because of our depth, because of the play off the bench,” Pearl said. “Dylan Cardwell had a good series out there as well.”