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SEC Basketball Tournament Preview: The Hard Barnin' Schwarzenegger Edition


John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Picking up where we left off yesterday, we were in a boring universe where everything worked out as it should.  Auburn won a game, Kentucky won the tournament.

Between the time when the HUNH faced Wisconsin and the rise of the sons of Omaha, there was an age undreamed of. And unto this, Bruce Pearl, destined to wear the nylon crown of SEC Baskeball upon a troubled brow. It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga. Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!

Auburn comes out of the locker room and people's heads turn.  Auburn is no longer the 98 pound weakling that ran out of gas on its way to a 13 seed.  Auburn is big, buff, and angry.  The Tigers cross the court and grab Miss State by the ankles:

A wild Aggie appears as a band wearing a ridiculous amount of khaki plays vaguely martial music.  Auburn's lost twice to them already.  Now the Aggies approach to finish the job.  Auburn makes only one request: "Grant me vengeance:"

At halftime, Auburn is losing by five.  They have no answer for Texas A&M's physical inside play.  It is at that moment that KT Harrell realizes what is best in life:

Historians will tell you it was at that moment that Auburn basketball changed forever.  When the dust settled, the few remaining Aggies slink back to Texas wondering how it went so wrong.

Auburn faces LSU.  It already has one win against the Tigers on the year.  One more puts us in the semifinals.  LSU enters confidently but soon the tables turn!

The ensuing game is raw carnage played out in front of a national television audience suffering from a serious case of bloodlust:

Auburn did not care any more... life and death... the same. Only that the crowd would be there to greet them with howls of lust and fury. They began to realize their sense of worth... they mattered. In time, their victories could not easily be counted...

Auburn meets Kentucky in the semifinals.  Bruce Pearl saunters over to greet Cal confidently in pregame.

Late in the second half, Auburn looks like they might break:

It's a trap.  The game goes to overtime where Auburn pulls it out amid some real fireworks.  But victory comes at a price:

Auburn arrives at the finals to find a typical Arkansas crowd and team waiting:

Auburn leaves wearing Mike Anderson's clothes and the freshly cut Bridgestone Arena nets.  Auburn went on to become king  by its own hand . . .