One thing we've learned about Bruce Pearl in his tenure at Auburn to date: he loves scheduling tough opponents in the non-conference portion of the season.
Auburn has scheduled a number of teams over the last two years who reached the NCAA Tournament or some form of post-season play during their previous season. The 2016-17 version of the schedule released this morning by the school is no different:
Auburn Basketball’s 2016-17 non-conference schedule
Fri. Nov. 4 Montevallo (exh.)
Fri. Nov. 11 North Florida
Mon. Nov. 14 (1) Georgia State
Thur. Nov. 17 (1) Eastern Kentucky
Tue. Nov. 22 (2) Texas Tech (CBS Sports Network)
Wed. Nov. 23 (2) Purdue/Utah State (CBS Sports Network)
Tue. Nov. 29 USC-Upstate
Sat. Dec. 3 at UAB
Mon. Dec. 12 (3) Boston College
Thur. Dec. 15 Coastal Carolina
Sun. Dec. 18 Mercer
Wed. Dec. 21 (4) Oklahoma
Fri. Dec. 23 at UConn
Sat. Jan. 28 (5) at TCU
(1) Cancun Challenge (Auburn, AL)
(2) Cancun Challenge (Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, Cancun, Mexico)
(3) Under Armour Reunion (Madison Square Garden, New York, NY)
(4) Hall of Fame’s Birthday of Basketball (Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT)
(5) SEC/Big 12 Challenge (Fort Worth, TX)
North Florida has won back-to-back conference titles, Georgia State was the 2015 tournament darling, Purdue or Utah State are no push-overs, UAB will definitely be anxious to beat Auburn at home and hope to avenge last year's loss, Coastal Carolina and former Tigers coach Cliff Ellis will be tough as always, Mercer was a tournament darling themselves a few years ago, and, oh yeah, Oklahoma was a Final Four team and UConn is always good, too.
The Tigers will be doing a lot of traveling with trips to Cancun, New York, and Connecticut. I'm still hoping I can make the trip to Madison Square Gardens to see the Boston College game, but work may not allow it since it'll be a Monday night game.
Tough? I'd say so. Bruce Pearl's Tigers will have their work cut out for them. Thankfully, this looks to be the most talented and deep roster Coach Pearl has had on the Plains. It's going to be a fun ride!