SALT LAKE CITY – Bryce Brown saw a poll on Twitter on Friday and immediately sent her a team-wide group message.
The poll on Twitter asked: who will win the knockout stages between Auburn and Kansas? The results? Kansas: 58 percent. Auburn: 42 percent.
Brown was not surprised to see it. It's Kansas basketball and it's Auburn basketball. He can not blame people for accepting this traditional way of thinking. But he wanted one thing, to be sure. He wanted everyone in the team to know that it was indeed the individual who felt in an Auburn Kansas basketball match. "That was a motivation, you did not even have to answer that," Brown said. "They understood."
Everyone in the Auburn locker room mentioned it on the Friday before the game. Kansas had been at 31
The tigers reacted as emphatically as any of them could have imagined.
Kansas took a 2-0 lead. The Jayhawks led for 17 seconds. Then Anfernee McLemore dunked to tie the game. Auburn never followed again.
In the first half, Auburn could not go wrong.
Bryce Brown forgot what it meant to miss a jump. Jared Harper did not remember either. Auburn's defensive tenacity and transition offense led to an imbalance of 26: 1 against Kansas, as one who could keep up with Auburn. It could not be Dedric Lawson, the national player of the year, struggled to score something easy, scrapping and making a field hit in the first half.
At half-time Auburn led with 26 points. Against Kansas. In basketball It was a track that you could not catch.
It was the night of the tigers to show everyone – let's call them 58 percent – they are a force to be reckoned with in college basketball.
"We like We were so excited to be playing such a historic program as Kansas, it simply showed the world," This is Auburn, "Horace Spencer said." We're the outsiders, but now we're here , We want to show what we have. We want them to know how we get every game. "
When Samir Doughty moved to Auburn, it was the potential of such moments.
He admits he could not imagine to beat this – to beat Kansas and advance to the Sweet 16. Doughty knows if he could not imagine anyone else to go He recalls the decision to leave VCU for Auburn. but he chose Auburn because it looked like it might, although it is nowhere near what it is now.
This is justification.
"I saw the potential in the team. I have seen the potential in all. I knew we had good players, great coaches. I felt like we could make history when I come here. Not many people thought it would be a great idea to come here. It will not be a great basketball team. We did not manage to reach the NIT before I came here, so no one thought it was a great idea, "Doughty said." But I definitely could not imagine being honest , I did not think we would beat Kansas as we did to get to Sweet 16. "
It was the Saturday night Saturday night game of the NCAA tournament.
All eyes were on Kansas, as often happens.
At the end of the game, the college basketball world did not want to talk about the Jayhawks, they wanted to talk about Auburn, the tigers, if not the hottest teams in college basketball, are the ones who play four games in four days cleared the way and struck a constant blue blood on the national stage.
For the Tigers, this is further evidence of relevance. "We just wanted to make sure we were sure many people gave us that did not get out of their brackets just because it was Kansas. It's so historic. We wanted to come out early and show that we are now nationally relevant. "Anfernee McLemore said," I think we are very relevant. I think we can play with everyone in the country – the Duke, the North Carolina, everyone. I think in any case that nobody takes us lightly. If they do, they will pay for it. "
For the team's Bryce Browns and Horace Spencers, they know what it's like to be the low of the low, and there were times when they could never survive Auburn's basketball program when it was the depths they were in
So, what was Saturday night against a program like Kansas was exactly what Auburn did – most of these tigers, who were never close to sniffing a Jayhawks offer – were needed to to establish its brand among the college basketball elites.
"It's hard to explain. I am from high school because I am a 3 star hotel and not highly recruited. Auburn was the only high-major school to offer me. Being in the limelight, being one of the faces of the program means so much to me, "Brown said." I do not take it for granted. I never take any opportunity to wear this jersey for granted. "
Bruce Pearl seldom doubted that Auburn's basketball would reach that height.
It was hard work, it took great players.
But as As his team spoke against Kansas, he already felt that his program was among the best in the country, and he certainly sensed it: sure, it was Kansas, but now it's Auburn too, and the Tigers made sure that every college basketball fan in America knows what that means in 2019.
"I've said that a few times in these postgame interviews – the better team won tonight. You can not say that often when the Auburn team plays a Kansas team, "Pearl said." The fact that this is possible in Auburn is a really strong statement. These children all came to Auburn with the promise that when we got together we might put together something and do it together and create a basketball program. "