With little drama aside from the opponent and location of Auburn’s first game in the NCAA Tournament in 15 years, the Tigers were able to relax and enjoy the moment this evening as they learned their fate.
Auburn earned a 4-seed, and will begin the 2018 NCAA Tournament this coming Friday in San Diego against the 13-seed Charleston. The Tigers are in the Midwest Region, where Kansas is the 1-seed, Duke is the 2-seed, and Michigan State is the 3-seed. Auburn’s the only SEC team in the Midwest Region in a year where eight conference teams made the Big Dance, a number that’s tied for the most in league history.
To begin things, it’ll be Charleston on Friday out west. The Cougars come out of the CAA, and they beat Northeastern 83-76 in overtime to win the conference championship and earn the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Charleston’s lost only one game since the middle of January, a 114-104 overtime thriller against William & Mary.
The Cougars did play two Tournament teams in the non-conference portion of the schedule, falling to Wichita State and Rhode Island, but they’ve got little to show on the rest of the schedule. Overall, Charleston’s 26-7 heading into this week, and are led by the hot-shooting trio of Grant Riller (18.7 ppg), Joe Chealey (18.5 ppg), and Jarrell Brantley (17.0 ppg), who combine to form nearly all of the Cougars’ offense.
If Auburn can beat Charleston, they’ll advance to play the winner of the 5-12 matchup, which pits 5-seed Clemson against 12-seed New Mexico State. Should Auburn advance to the Sweet 16, it’ll likely be a date with an equally thin team in the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks.
The First Four begins on Tuesday in Dayton, and this will be one heck of a week leading up to the Tigers’ first Tournament game in 15 years. War Eagle!