Auburn got back on the wins horse after a disastrous Week 9 by taking down South Carolina and Iowa State. After the road trip from hell, the Tigers comfortably put away the Gamecocks 80-67 and held off a Cyclones comeback attempt by winning 80-76, all from the friendly confines of Auburn Arena.
Honestly, there’s not a ton to say here that hasn’t been said. Bruce Pearl has Auburn basketball at an unprecedented level these days, and it’s not just a flash in the pan. He’s translated on-court success to recruiting and fan buy-in, and at this point, any team of his that *doesn’t* make the postseason would be a disappointment. Yes, the program that had been to three tournaments in the 25 seasons prior to his arrival now has expectations to be contenders in March every year. And the program is still improving. If you are one of the people who still isn’t voting yes in FanPulse, I’m not sure I can help you.
Speaking of the accomplishments of recent Auburn basketball teams, do you remember the time they went to the Sweet 16 after thrashing Kansas? Of course you do.
In that game, Auburn matched up with 1 seed North Carolina. This was far and away the best team Auburn had ever played. And how did that go? Auburn posted 97 points to their 80, even with the best player on the team going down with a nasty knee injury in the second half.
Since that game, North Carolina, one of the bluest of blue bloods in college basketball, is a measly 10-10 on the season. This, despite starting as the preseason #9 in the AP Poll. Along with the good teams they’ve lost to, they’ve also dropped games to the likes of Georgia Tech, Clemson, Pitt (twice) and... Wofford.
There’s only one possible conclusion as to why, and I think it’s pretty obvious.
On March 29th, 2019, in Kansas City, Missouri, Auburn took their soul.