Bruce Pearl: Auburn's SEC banner won't say 'co-champions'

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Bruce Pearl: Auburn's SEC banner won't say 'co-champions'

When Auburn opens the season Nov. 6 against South Alabama, the newest banner in the rafters at Auburn Arena won't say "co-champion" anywhere on it.

In the eyes of the Tigers, they're the sole SEC regular-season champions from last season.

"We say we're SEC champions," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said Wednesday at SEC basketball Media Day in Mountain Brook. "I don't say we're co-champions, but we did have the same record as Tennessee, so for me it was kind of an honor to be able to share that title with them, even though there will be nothing about co-champions on our banner. It'll say champions."

Auburn went 26-8 last season, including a 13-5 run in SEC play. That record was good enough to finish tied atop the SEC standings with Tennessee, though the Tigers won the head-to-head matchup on Jan. 2 in Knoxville, Tenn., 94-84.

It was Auburn's first regular-season SEC crown since 1999, and it led to the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003. While the record was the same as the Vols', the Tigers have no intention of sharing that title -- and Auburn's players seem just fine with that.

"I feel that's fair enough," senior guard Bryce Brown said. "I feel like we won the head-to-head matchup, so I feel like that's pretty good."

Though Auburn will be raising a banner into the rafters at Auburn Arena, there will not be any pregame ceremony hoisting it and celebrating last year's achievements. Pearl announced that decision at the start of preseason practices, noting that the banner will already be in place when Auburn takes the floor against South Alabama on Nov. 6 for the season opener.

While Brown said it's going to be "strange" to not have a formal banner-raising, he understands Pearl's reasoning for the decision.

"He kind of doesn't want us to think about that," Brown said. "That's over. They can't take that away from us. That's in the past. We're working on building toward this year's championship."

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

from Auburn Sports Impact

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