Auburn basketball earns berth to NCAA Tournament, faces College of Charleston

Published: Mar. 11, 2018 at 10:06 PM CDT
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AUBURN, Ala. – The Auburn men’s basketball team earned an at-large berth in the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament and will face the College of Charleston in the first round in San Diego on Friday, March 16, the NCAA Selection Committee announced Sunday.

Friday’s game will be played at Viejas Arena on the campus of San Diego State University at 6:27 p.m. CT on truTV.

The Southeastern Conference regular season co-champions, Auburn will be the No. 4 seed in the Midwest Regional. The Auburn versus No. 13 seed Charleston winner will face the Clemson-New Mexico State winner on Sunday, March 18.

“We’re excited about this opportunity,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “People think you play for the national championship if you play in the last game and I don’t. You play for the national championship when you’re in this tournament, and you have to win six games to win it.

“The bracket is loaded at the top with Kansas, Duke, Michigan State, Auburn being the 4 seed in that group. It’s a pretty darn good (group) from the standpoint of profiles, national programs, and to be in the top four seeds in this bracket is a tremendous statement for the regular-season champions.”

It marks the Tigers’ first NCAA appearance since 2003 and is the program’s ninth overall. The 2003 Auburn team advanced to the Sweet 16, falling to eventual national champion Syracuse, 79-78, in the East Regional Semifinals.

Auburn was previously in the Midwest Region in 1987 and 2000. This will be the Tigers’ first postseason appearance on the west coast since playing in Long Beach, Calif., in 1986.

In 20 previous NCAA Tournament games, Auburn is 12-8 with Sweet 16 appearances in 1999 and 2003, and an Elite Eight appearance in 1986.

Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl, in his fourth year on the Plains, will be making his ninth NCAA Tournament appearance in 14 years as a Division I head coach.

The Tigers finished the regular season 25-7 and were SEC co-champions with a 13-5 league mark.

Auburn is 3-0 all-time against the College of Charleston with the last meeting a 55-51 Tigers’ victory on Nov. 16, 2012.