The Auburn Tigers continued their recent winning streak under Bruce Pearl throughout this season with a regular-season SEC championship to show for. Pearl will now be looking to get his team into playoff mode, as they seek to win the conference and then do the same in the NCAA Tournament.
After clinching the regular season title in an 82-71 win over South Carolina, Pearl met with the media to discuss what the result means for him and for the university.
“We are obviously very excited about our championship – third in three years,” Pearl said. “It speaks volumes about our university’s commitment to the program, our incredible fan base that travels with us. The Jungle, gives us incredible home-court advantage here at Neville Arena. I’m so happy – Bill and Connie (Neville) are dear friends, and the investment they are making in this facility, and the investment I hope others will make, will allow us to continue to improve this facility. to be able to win a championship here after the ceremony was very meaningful.”
Auburn has been dominant against SEC haters with its only losses on the road; Pearl sees this feat as a reflection of the team’s mindset: always ready to work.
“It’s all about our players, guys. It’s all about our players,” Pearl said. and 19 year olds. Our guys came to play every night. We didn’t take any team for granted. We locked ourselves in, we worked hard. I think the lessons these guys learned because of their own discipline will serve them well for the rest of their lives. They know how to win, they know how to train, they know how to prepare.”
Auburn looks poised for a championship run, but postseason basketball can be an unpredictable animal. Every team enters the arena with a level of desperation seen only in March, and the pressure will be on the Tigers to perform against anger-hungry foes as the likely No. 1 seed.
“So that chapter is closed – the regular season. The coaching staff has done a phenomenal job as well,” Pearl said. , and the reward is even greater. So can we get hot? That’s the deal. Our defense will carry us. But to win another championship, we will have to take it back offensively.
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Auburn will rest and then be back in action Friday in the SEC tournament, where it awaits the winner from Texas A&M and Florida.
Nathan King contributed to this report.