Hey, that week wasn’t so bad! And before you say anything, no I don’t care that it was Arkansas and Vandy. TWO AND OH BABY!
Auburn doing what it should have been doing helped out a little bit in the brackets, with one projection getting us up to a #6 seed. Generally, though, the consensus is right around a #8 or #9 seed. If Bruce and Co. do exactly what is expected of them (3-2, losses to UT and UK), I think that’s where we’ll probably be. At 21-10, with no signature wins barring an SECT run, I really can’t argue with that.
But, as always, March can do some crazy things, and a win Saturday at UK or in our final game in Auburn Arena would likely bump the Tigers up significantly. Let’s hope next time we talk, Auburn is 20-8 on the season!
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi (2/22)
#8 Seed - West Region vs. Ohio State - Salt Lake City, UT
Potential 2nd Round Opponent: #1 Gonzaga or #16 Canisius/Prarie View A&M
WM: Not crazy about the Salt Lake City part but I do like this matchup for Auburn. Ohio State struggles to score at times and if Auburn gets their usual production from Jared Harper and Bryce Brown, I think they would get by the Buckeyes. A matchup with Gonzaga would be really interesting seeing Auburn came close to playing them in Maui. Their depth at all positions is tremendous and seeing how Austin Wiley matches up with Rui Hachimura would be a fascinating matchup.
RS: Headlined by the Wesson brothers, this Ohio State team has REALLY struggled in conference play. They’re a good defensive team (20th in KenPom’s defensive efficiency), but the real matchup advantage for Auburn would be in the backcourt. As Will alluded to, a matchup with Gonzaga and their multiple draft picks would be a chance for a few of our guys to show the NBA scouts a thing or two.
USA Today (2/22)
#9 Seed - South Region vs. St. John’s - Columbus, OH
Potential 2nd Round Opponent: #1 Virginia or #16 Sam Houston State
WM: I feel like we’re destined to face St. John’s at this point. I’ve said on repeat how much I wouldn’t like to face Mustapha Heron’s Red Storm crew. Nothing has made me change that stance. I would be very fascinated to see how Auburn would fare against a team like Virginia. Their slow tempo and terrific team defense would give Auburn fits but could Auburn score enough to hang with the Hoos? Auburn’s won a few games in the 60s and would likely have to do that again if this matchup took place.
RS: As much as St. John’s would be a difficult matchup in the first round, I’ll go on record as saying this would probably be the most fun pairing. I would prefer it be a 6-11 matchup so that Auburn would not potentially have a #1 seed waiting on the other end, but hey, you take what you can get.
The Athletic (2/22)
#9 Seed - South Region vs. St. John’s - Columbia, SC
Potential 2nd Round Opponent: #1 Virginia or #16 Lehigh
WM: St. John’s, Columbia, gross.....
RS: Thank you, next.
CBS Sports (2/22)
#10 Seed - Midwest vs. Baylor - Jacksonville, FL
Potential 2nd Round Opponent: #2 UNC vs. #15 Northern Kentucky
WM: Now we’re talking! Jacksonville would be a fantastic landing spot for Auburn. Baylor has dealt with injuries all year long but Scott Drew has done a fantastic job keeping the Bears together. Their health is a major question mark going forward but they have some really good wins this year (and a couple really bad losses as well).
Fox Sports (2/22)
#6 Seed - West Region vs. New Mexico State
Potential 2nd Round Opponent: #3 Kansas or #14 Texas State
WM: A higher seed and a new opponent to talk about! New Mexico State is a perennial power in the WAC. They are 23-4 this year and one of their 4 losses was a 3-point loss to Kansas. These Aggies are really good. As for the potential 2nd Round game, I would LOVE to see Auburn go up against Kansas. The Jayhawks have been decimated with injuries but still have the Lawson brothers in the paint that would be a tough matchup for Auburn. Based on Kansas being the higher seed in this pod, I would imagine these games would be in Des Moines or Tulsa to keep Kansas close to home.
RS: Count me out from wanting this matchup. Despite a better seed for Auburn, New Mexico State is an experienced team that has laid waste to a bad WAC the last few years. The Aggies have only missed the tournament twice in the last decade, and this is probably their best team yet. Perhaps I’m seeing shades of the UCF Peach Bowl, but either way, I’d be wary of this one.