Auburn finished the regular season at 25-6, 13-5 in the SEC, and won the SEC regular season championship. The Tigers will be the 1-seed at the SEC Tournament in St. Louis (it starts tomorrow), and will play the winner of the 8-9 game featuring Alabama and Texas A&M.
As for the end of the regular season, despite the championship, Auburn endured a bit of a slump. We lost three straight road games to end the year, but held serve at home to clinch the top seed. We’re ranked below Tennessee, who we beat at their place by double digits, but that won’t matter when play begins in St. Louis.
So what does that mean for the NCAA Tournament projections? Let’s see what the biggies think.
I know everyone wants Auburn to play in Nashville at Bridgestone Arena. It would be a close and easy drive for Tiger fans, and we’d be able to create a home atmosphere in the process. However, the slump to end the regular season may have hurt those chances, and Jerry Palm’s got us heading to Dallas to play Bucknell in a 3-14 matchup. Winner of that game likely gets 6-seed Houston, and the Cougars would have a much shorter trip for fans to represent on site than Auburn would.
Let’s check Lunardi:
Again, he’s got Auburn as a 3-seed in Dallas, taking on 14-seed Charleston. Winner of that game would get 6-seed Miami or 11-seed Baylor. Again, that’s a possibility of a lower seed getting a home game if they advance. Not ideal.
And SB Nation’s Bracketology update essentially says the same thing. Auburn would be a 3-seed in Dallas, with another predicted matchup against Bucknell. The 6-11 game for a trip to the next round would have Miami taking on UCLA.
What does that mean for the Tigers? After not showing off on the road over the past couple of weeks, Auburn probably needs a good showing in St. Louis to make it back to the 2-seed line. In fact, the Tigers may have to win the tournament overall to get there. Palm’s 2-seeds (Cincy, Michigan State, Duke, Purdue), Lunardi’s 2-seeds (UNC instead of Michigan State), and SB Nation’s (Cincy, Purdue, Michigan State, Kansas) are all teams that have been playing at just a bit higher level as of late than Auburn has, but a conference tournament championship (and an early exit by one or more of those teams) would likely get the Tigers back to the 2-seed line and a more local destination.