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Is it OK to root for Auburn? Because I am rooting for Auburn.

As you know, Auburn is in the Final Four, just like we all predicted back in February. Bruce Pearl’s Tigers upset Kansas, North Carolina and then your University of Kentucky Wildcats for a spot in Minneapolis, the first Final Four appearance for both the school and Pearl.

I am now rooting for our SEC brethren, but does that make me a bad person? You can be honest with me. I’m a big boy.

In most cases, I would only wish awful things upon the team that ended Kentucky’s season. In this case, though, I can’t help but pull for Pearl and a program that is there for the first time ever (against the snooze-fest that is Tony Bennett basketball at Virginia).

I know my colleague Ryan Lemond is also wearing Auburn colors this weekend. He covered Bruce Pearl at Southern Indiana many years ago, so he too is a Pearl fan. I followed Pearl back when he was at USI and have always liked his charismatic personality, even when he was coaching and barbecuing down in Knoxville from 2005-2011.

His son, Auburn assistant Steven Pearl, makes it even easier to be for Auburn after what he said to the Calipari daughters soon after Auburn knocked off UK in Kansas City. As Megan and Erin Calipari were getting some hate on Twitter, Steven Pearl tweeted to them, “Don’t listen to the outside noise. Your father is an absolute legend in this profession, one of the best to ever do it. Gracious in victory and defeat….nothing but love and respect for your family.”

Then of course there is the injury to Chuma Okeke, one of Auburn’s best players, in the Sweet 16 game. You’d have to be a real asshole to not feel bad for him in how his year was cut short with an ACL injury.

All of those things combined make me an Auburn fan in Saturday’s semifinal and then again on Monday if they take down Tony Bennett.

War Eagle! (That’s how I say it, right?)

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

60 Comments for Is it OK to root for Auburn? Because I am rooting for Auburn.

  1. Bobbum Man
    6:05 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    Hard to dislike pearl… hope he sticks around the SEC

    • J. Did
      6:22 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

      I love Bruce Pearl. Always have. YES – it IS O.K. to cheer for AUBURN. They represent the SEC. But for their win, over us….KENTUCKY is the team we’d be rooting for, obviously. So yeah – GO AUBURN!

  2. michaelb
    6:06 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    I am rooting for auburn too. You can’t help but to admire how good the coach and players have done this season at auburn . I hope they shock the world

  3. Memphis UK Cat
    6:07 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    Auburn earned it and they are SEC. I am all for rooting for them and then I want to destroy them next year.

    6:10 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    Real respects real. They earned it – it wasn’t given.

  5. VirginiaCat
    6:14 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    I am very curious to see how Auburn does without its best player against Virginia. If the game is competitive, I will feel better about our EE loss. If Virginia handles them easily, it will sadden me that we let a golden opportunity slip through our fingers again.

    • catsarerunnin
      7:11 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

      You’ll live

    • henderblue
      8:40 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

      Handle them easy? Virginia will have their hands full.

    • KayutsBy90
      11:28 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

      Shouldn’t it be the other way around? If it’s a close game or Auburn wins, then I could understand thinking we let it slip through our fingers. But if UVA blows them out I just think it proves UVA is a solid team that probably would have given us a run for our money.

  6. addyjaxlarkin
    6:16 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    I don’t see any issue with it but me personally I’ll be rooting for Virginia what those kids went through over the past year the adversity they had to deal with over that loss to Maryland Baltimore County I have a ton of respect for Tony Bennett and that entire basketball team and will be rooting for them to win the national championship

    • J. Did
      6:24 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

      UVA is ACC. If you love KENTUCKY……it is obligatory to cheer for AUBURN. NOT UVA.

    • JT919
      6:25 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

      Laying an egg against a 16 seed and being rightly ridiculed is not adversity.

    • addyjaxlarkin
      6:46 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

      Hahaha I have no obligation to cheer for anybody I am my own person I can cheer for who I want. Sorry that you have chosen to live by a set of unspoken rules. Our definition of adversity differs then because these kids could’ve easily folded it in some could’ve left for the NBA but they chose to come back to school and compete for a national championship listening to fans like you tell them they laid an egg last year and would choke again this year. The pressure put on their shoulders to me was adversity. I will be rooting for Virginia because that’s who I choose to root for.

    • JT919
      9:28 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

      Yeah, I don’t define being made fun of by the fans of other teams as adversity. They’re grown men. Besides, they’ve been national sports media darlings all year, the narrative really hasn’t been about how they’re going to choke again since the preseason. They get no sympathy for doing what a basketball team is supposed to do.

    • ukcamel
      12:04 am April 6, 2019 Permalink

      Will never understand the dimwits that buy the “ root for your conference” BS that ESPN invented. I’d root for them against Duke or Indiana or UConn, that’s about it.

    • catdaddyd
      2:34 pm April 7, 2019 Permalink

      Root for your own conference because the SEC shares the money equally among members.

  7. Not Dan Issel
    6:21 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    My father’s family are all native Kentuckians from before Kentucky even became a state. We’ve been here a long time. But, my mother is from Alabama, and all of her family attended Auburn. So, although we were raised as 100% UK fans, Auburn was always a second school for us to think about. I actually like Auburn, and will pull for them this weekend. Sonny Smith was always my favorite Auburn coach, and I enjoyed listening to his unique way of discussing a game. So, IMHO, nothing wrong in rooting for Auburn. I will be.

    • Ridge Runner
      7:43 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

      Visited the campus last year while driving through on vacation to Florida. Very nice.

    • UKFaninCO
      8:33 am April 6, 2019 Permalink

      Before KY was KY it was…….VA….boom!

  8. Ridge Runner
    6:28 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    Go Auburn! Go SEC!

    • J. Did
      6:31 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

      Hear ye. Here ye! GO SEC!!!

  9. Tango98
    6:28 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    I have many friends and family that went to AU and they are not a threat to us long term in basketball. So…War Damn Eagle!

  10. Wade
    6:28 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    Ughhh I guess so yea! Why not!

  11. TB112162
    6:44 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    Go Virginia $50 if they win plus Bruce Pearl is a cheater and a POS

    • krautdog
      7:53 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

      “Spot on”- if Cal had done what Pearl did he would have been “blackballed for life” from ever coaching!

    • mashburnfan1
      1:41 am April 6, 2019 Permalink

      yea cause Cal never had to have any wins vacated at any school he left. Look at Memphis and UMass, oh wait what? I’m sure Cal has never done any cheating in recruiting.

    • makeitstop
      8:11 am April 6, 2019 Permalink

      Mash, u never fail to take a shot at Cal, fair or not. Cal never had a show cause order. Cal was never found to hv committed a recruiting violation, and Bruce was. I like Bruce, he’s a good coach, and the violation wasn’t on the order of the Adidas tapes, but facts are facts, he did it and he was punished. There’s an objective difference. And I, for one, am proud of Barnhart and Cal for running a clean ship and not embarrassing us like a certain former coach did to his school.

  12. StillBP
    6:59 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    Screw Auburn. Texas Tech for Champs!

  13. IrishCat
    7:00 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    Hell yes it is.

  14. FlatTopsAndBlockedShots
    7:08 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    Easy way to lose Sharife Cooper is to lose go Auburn in the tourney and watch them win the championship so yes it’s wrong

  15. claiborne_field
    7:17 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    Yes, I’ll be cheering for Auburn… I’m still ticked about the classless banner used by Auburn players to put them over the edge pregame. And then to wheel him in at halftime was a genius move… too much emotion from them to overcome. They were going to win that game for him whatever it took…

  16. krautdog
    7:43 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    Auburn’s got nothing left!!! They “BET the HOUSE” in the UK game. Virginia won’t blowout Auburn because of their “yawning” game but they “left it in Kansas City”!

  17. KYfaninTN
    7:50 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    No way I have never understood this. I do not buy always rooting for SEC. I cannot stand Auburn and hope they lose by 50

  18. Wildcats4SaleOrRent
    7:50 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    I’m all in for the SEC. #WarDamnEagle. Wish it was the Cats though.

  19. Kat4Life
    8:03 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    I absolutely hate to say it, but Pearl is great for the SEC. Hard to hate the guy, much as I would like to.

  20. Thetruthshallsetbennyfree
    8:18 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    Would rather have lost to the national champs then the team bounced right after beating us.

  21. TB112162
    8:18 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    I don’t cheer for other they hate Kentucky and I guarantee they don’t cheer for us like I said earlier Pearl is a cheater and got in to trouble at Tennessee and then one of his coaches a legend Chuck Person gets caught cheating but Bruce didn’t know hahahahaha right

    • Cousins Fake Tooth
      8:50 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

      How is he a cheater? He got in trouble for basically saying “No, he didn’t come to my barbque”

    • mashburnfan1
      1:43 am April 6, 2019 Permalink

      Cause we got Cal and he never knew about any wrong doings at his schools. MCAA just hates him so they vacated wins.

  22. Chacosrule
    8:26 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    I like Bruce. If you get stuck in the region that has Kansas, Unc, and UK, AND you beat all of them (btw, beat the a$$ off Unc), then you absolutely deserve some extra morale support from fanbases like ours.

  23. Cousins Fake Tooth
    8:50 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    I am. And if they don’t win, hopefully TX Tech will.

  24. Swizzle
    8:54 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    Hope its Auburn vs Texas tech

  25. Catcasey1
    9:23 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    Are the still under investigation

  26. jonthes
    9:33 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    No. I don’t think all the freshmen bombing was a coincidence, I think Pearl played head games through his players. And is there a pool on when his FF will be vacated?

  27. kbo24
    10:33 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    I have no rooting interest whatsoever – I may watch, I may not…but whoever wins, my reaction will be no more than that of a person who is mildly amused. That said, I will not be actively rooting for AU for a few reasons. 1. And I’m sure it’s already been mentioned, but they wouldn’t be rooting for us. 2. You’re setting yourself up for disappointment – AU ain’t winning the national title (it would just be too weird and a discredit to ‘The Dance’. You want proof the tourney is a total crap shoot and a complete circus? Auburn won a title.). 3. If they do, AU fans will use it against us as a means to poke fun at us.

  28. Newtype
    11:05 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    Nah, f**k Pearl. Dude’s a snitch and a hypocrite. Plus all the other SEC schools hate UK so why cheer for them?

  29. makeitstop
    11:21 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    It’s ok to cheer for anyone u like after we are out…who cares. Usually I root for the SEC and Bruce Pearl has grown on me, but I went to UVa, Tony Bennett does not recruit against us as much as AU does, just a different approach, and if he wins, it hurts Duke and UNC most in head to head battles for local kids, so I’ll be drinking Ky bourbon from a UVa cup and reminding myself how to sing the “good ole song”, but it wouldn’t kill me if either of them won. Just not Izzo.

  30. TateD
    11:21 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    I’m a huge UK fan. Graduated from Auburn. Go ahead and quiz me about basketball. I’m usually UK basketball Auburn football and this has been the polar opposite on both ends. But to see some (basically two) Uk fans hating on Auburn your just a sore loser. I pull for Uk when they have more going for them which is every year but this. I am an Auburn alum so this is truly incredible. War damn sec.

  31. ukbradstith
    11:31 pm April 5, 2019 Permalink

    My wife’s cousin played for Pearl at USI. He didn’t get treated very fairly but that’s the nature of the game. He did say Pearl frequently had parties with underage drinking and would take underage recruits to strip clubs. Lost some respect after hearing that.

  32. The Big Lebowski
    2:24 am April 6, 2019 Permalink

    If Kentucky is not in it and there is an SEC team there, I root for the SEC.

    I have no issues with Bruce Pearl. He did nothing that dozens of other coaches haven’t done.

    John Wooden was never sanctioned and all of the shenanigans that occurred when he was the Wizard of Westwood have been swept under the rug by Sports Writers, the NCAA and everyone else who constantly talks trash about Pearl, Calhoun, Calipari, etc.

    If Coach K is follow the straight and narrow, I’ll eat my dogs blood stained diapers.

    • UKDude
      5:45 am April 6, 2019 Permalink

      I second your Wooden comments Big L. And who can forget the refs ignoring what should have been a technical against him in the 75 title game, and the horrible calls that followed. If we win that game, we are only 1 behind the Bruins in National Championships, not 3. And another reason to like Auburn, since Kentucky has no school of Veterinary Medicine, I believe Auburn reserves slots at there for Kentucky residents. I know that several veterinarians here in Western Ky went to Vet School there.

  33. Dowser
    6:11 am April 6, 2019 Permalink

    I’m for Auburn…. but the rest of the SEC doesn’t root for us.

    • J. Did
      6:53 am April 6, 2019 Permalink

      Dowser – I agree with you. But we are KENTUCKY…….we are better than the rest of the SEC.

  34. makeitstop
    8:24 am April 6, 2019 Permalink

    I think the natural football rivalries kind of spill out in basketball… I hv no problem rooting for Auburn or Vandy or the Mississippi schools or even Florida or UGa in basketball but I struggle w EVER pulling for that gawdawful orange or even LSU. The ACC doesn’t seem so conference loyal btw – Duke and UNC hate each other and the rest of the league agrees w them both. I remember when UVa’s Coach Terry Holland has a dog he named “Dean” because it wined so much.

  35. jpendleton
    9:12 am April 6, 2019 Permalink

    I want to see Auburn and Michigan State in the finals to see which coach cries the most after the game.

  36. Urincatland
    1:25 pm April 6, 2019 Permalink

    I’m rooting for Auburn!