The Auburn Tigers made history last weekend, and now as the calendar has turned to April, they are looking to make a little more.
Saturday night in Minneapolis, the Tigers will look to take another step forward towards attaining the program’s first National Championship in the 2019 Final Four. In order to do so, they will have to get through the only 1 seed left in this year’s NCAA Tournament: the Virginia Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers took down the Purdue Boilermakers and Oregon Ducks down in Louisville, showcasing their strong defense along the way. While they let Carsen Edwards go off for 42 points, they were able to withstand the blows he dealt and make to through to Minneapolis.
This will obviously be no easy task. UVA and their style is as grinding and rough to beat as any out there. While they were mired in disappointment the past few years, namely last year when they lost to a 16 seed, Tony Bennett has finally made it through to the Final Four. His team is led by the likes of Kyle Guy and De’Andre Hunter. Ty Jerome ain’t too bad either, and neither is Elite Eight hero Mamadi Diakite.
Auburn certainly has been riding an absurd wave with their offense over the last few weeks, having won their last 12 games in a row. The player who has shown the most burst has been junior guard Jared Harper. Harper, the MOP of the Midwest Region, went off for 26 points in the Elite Eight win over the Kentucky Wildcats . He also dropped a combined 35 points in Auburn’s Round of 64 and 32 victories over the New Mexico State Aggies and Kansas Jayhawks.
It hasn’t all been Harper, though he has certainly been their brightest star. Bryce Brown has been integral along the way, as well. Samir Doughty and J’Von McCormick have been great off the bench, too. While he’s hurt, Chuma Okeke was extremely vital to their success, as well. Okeke got hurt during their Sweet 16 win over the North Carolina Tar Heels, and won’t be playing in the Final Four, but obviously his presence even on the sidelines will likely aid Auburn from a mental perspective.
All told, this Final Four is one of the more intriguing in recent memory. You have two squads in Auburn and the Texas Tech Red Raiders who’ve never won a National Championship. UVA has been in a lengthy drought, and the Michigan State Spartans are the juggernaut of the field. And even they have gone nearly two decades without winning it all. This will be fascinating to watch to say the very least, and could provide plenty of excitement as always.
HOW TO WATCH
Time: 6:09 p.m. ET
Watch Online: NCAA March Madness Live