Pearl wants to bring Auburn and SEC back to basketball glory - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Pearl wants to bring Auburn and SEC back to basketball glory

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AUBURN, Ala. -

Bruce Pearl wants to bring Auburn back to basketball relevancy, but he fully admits that isn’t his only goal.

He wants to see the SEC back atop the hoops landscape, as well.

“Men’s basketball in the SEC has not been what it needs to be lately,” Pearl said at his introductory news conference Tuesday night. “The fact that we sent three teams to the NCAA tournament as a major conference in basketball, something has to be done.”

Those three teams are one-seed Florida, eight-seed Kentucky and 11-seed Tennessee, which defeated Iowa, 78-65 in overtime in a First Four game Wednesday night.

Pearl, a Boston native, said he fell in love with SEC basketball while at Tennessee.

“I want Florida to win the national championship this year and represent the SEC,” he said. “If they can’t, I hope Kentucky or Tennessee does, and that’s just what I want. I want to help those guys out. I want to add to that, because the SEC has been beat up way too much, and I’d like to try to do something about that.”

He’s got a great example in Gus Malzahn, who led the Tiger football team to an SEC championship and national title game berth in his first year.

“I visited with Coach Malzahn earlier today,” Pearl said on Tuesday. “We have a responsibility, and we want to try to bring our men’s basketball program up to that level that everybody else is competing at.”

Jonathan Huskey

Jonathan comes to News 3 from Fort Smith/Fayetteville, Ark., where he anchored weekends and reported during the week on some of the best high school sports in the state. More>>

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