Auburn is set to go dancing for the fourth time in the last five postseasons, as Bruce Pearl’s team has built a resume sound enough to withstand a 4-9 record since late January.
Auburn, which lost in the second round of the SEC Tournament on Thursday against Arkansas, heads into Selection Sunday with a 20-12 overall record that included a 10-8 mark in SEC play. Despite the Tigers’ turbulent go of things during the back stretch of the season, which included six losses by five points or fewer, Pearl’s team has been in position to earn a second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth throughout the season and all but shored it up with a signature Quad 1 win against Tennessee in the regular-season finale.
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The Tigers head into Selection Sunday as the No. 32 team in the NET rankings and will await their postseason draw Sunday evening. The NCAA Tournament selection show is set for 5 p.m. on CBS, after the remaining conference tournament championship games wrap up.
As Auburn awaits its postseason draw and the official reveal of this year’s 68-team bracket, here’s a look at the Tigers’ resume and final bracketology projections entering Selection Sunday:
Auburn’s season at a glance:
Overall record: 20-12
SEC record: 10-8 (seventh in the league)
AP poll rank: unranked
KenPom: 29th (48th in offensive efficiency, 29th in defensive efficiency)
NET ranking: 32nd
Home record: 14-2
Road record: 4-8
Neutral-site record: 2-2
Quadrant 1 record: 3-10
Quadrant 2 record: 6-1
Quadrant 3 record: 8-1
Quadrant 4 record: 3-0
Best resume win: March 4 vs. Tennessee, 79-70, at Neville Arena (Quadrant 1 win against NET No. 4)
Worst resume loss: Jan. 3 at Georgia, 76-64 (Quadrant 3 loss against NET No. 152)
Other notable wins: Jan. 7 vs Arkansas (NET No. 22) at Neville Arena; Nov. 23 vs. Northwestern (NET No. 41) in Cancun.
Strength of record: 34th
NET Strength of schedule: 18th
The week ahead: the NCAA Tournament opening round.
Final NCAA Tournament projections (as of March 12)
— Bracket Matrix, which compiles a composite field based on bracket projections from 103 analysts across the country, has Auburn as the final No. 9 seed in the field. The Tigers appear on all 103 brackets, with Pearl’s team appearing no lower than a 10-seed and no higher than an eight-seed.
— ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has Auburn as the 10-seed in the East Region, with the Tigers facing seventh-seeded Northwestern in the opening round in Columbus, Ohio. This would be a rematch of the teams’ November matchup in the Cancun Challenge, which represents one of Auburn’s three Quad 1 wins this season.
— Jerry Palm at CBS Sports has Auburn as the No. 8 seed in the Midwest Region, with an opening-round matchup against No. 9 seed Penn State in Des Moines, Iowa. This projection would also set up a potential second-round matchup against top-seeded Kansas.
— Bracket WAG has Auburn as the No. 10 seed in the West Region, with the Tigers drawing an opening-round game against seventh-seeded Northwestern in a rematch of the Cancun Challenge.
— RealTimeRPI.com has Auburn as the No. 9 seed in the East Region and facing eighth-seeded Creighton in the opening round. A win would set up a potential second-round matchup with top-seeded Kansas.
— Bart Torvik’s T-Rank projection has Auburn as a No. 9 seed in the field.
— SB Nation has Auburn as the No. 10 seed in the West Region and facing seventh-seeded Michigan State in the opening round in Sacramento, Calif.
— The Athletic has Auburn as the No. 10 seed in the East Region and facing seventh-seeded Florida Atlantic in the opening round in Columbus. A matchup with the Owls would pit Pearl and his team against one of his first great players on the Plains: K.T. Harrell, who is on staff at FAU this year after serving as a graduate assistant at his alma mater last year.
— Sports Illustrated has Auburn as the No. 10 seed in the Midwest Region and squaring off against seventh-seeded Creighton in the opening round.
Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.
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