Bruce Pearl reacts to Auburn basketball's NCAA Tournament draw

Head coach Bruce Pearl reacts to Auburn basketball's difficult and far away draw in the NCAA Tournament.

Mar 17, 2024; Nashville, TN, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl celebrates with center
Mar 17, 2024; Nashville, TN, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl celebrates with center / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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Head coach Bruce Pearl reacts to Auburn basketball's difficult and far away draw in the NCAA Tournament.

It was a great season for the Auburn basketball program, especially in a year where the SEC is so good. Though Tennessee won the regular season conference title, the Tigers tied Kentucky, Alabama, and South Carolina for second place and then went on to beat three NCAA Tournament teams in the SEC tournament to win the trophy.

Auburn basketball has been predicted to earn a 4-seed in March Madness for some time now, but that was before the Tigers dominated in and won the conference tournament, adding an additional Quad 1 win to their resume.

Ultimately, none of that seemed to matter to the committee, who gave the Tigers the 4-seed in the East Region — the furthest one from Auburn — in Spokane, Washington, alongside the reigning national champions and the tournament's overall 1-seed UConn.

Auburn basketball head coach Bruce Pearl was clearly less than pleased with the situation when he spoke to reporters after the bracket was revealed this weekend.

“Are we paying a price for being in Birmingham last year and getting an incredible opportunity against Houston, the 1-seed? Perhaps,” Bruce Pearl said, via Auburn Undercover. “It’s a long way to travel for our fans. We’ve been in this for a few times now. We got San Diego. We got Salt Lake City. Yes, we did get Birmingham but we also now got Spokane. So this is three times now that they’ve shipped us quite a ways away from our fans.”

Alabama, Auburn, and UAB, three teams from the state of Alabama, have all been put in the East Region, as well as four teams including the Tigers that just won conference tournaments in 1-seed UConn, 2-seed Iowa State, and 3-seed Illinois.

“We've won our last six games,” Pearl said. “We're playing well and we're playing together. We're just excited about playing for a national championship. I've always told my teams: Don't think you have to get to the last game to play for the national championship. We're playing for the national championship when we play Yale. We're in the field of 68. You can't win it if you're not in it.”

The Tigers' first March Madness opponent will be 13-seed Yale this Friday at 3:30 p.m.