Auburn to upset No. 1 Houston

Auburn forward Johni Broome celebrates after the Tigers’ win over Iowa in the first round of the NCAA Tournament

Auburn forward Johni Broome celebrates after the Tigers’ win over Iowa inside the principal spherical of the NCAA event
photograph: Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire (AP)

Now that my undefeated doc of choosing No. thirteen seeds or decrease inside the NCAA event publicly continues to be intact after Furman’s victory over Virginia on Thursday, I’m deciding to not relaxation on my laurels and allow you to know all about one other prediction I made earlier this week. For followers of Deadspin’s conform to Disagree video sequence, this would possibly presumably be a various I’ve already proclaimed on digital camera. Auburn will upset the Midwest area’s No. 1 seed in Houston on Saturday. It’s not pretty the lopsided upset as choosing the Paladins or Saint Peter’s over Kentucky final 12 months, however it’s little question not what’ll be favored.

The Cougars seemed horrible in the direction of one among many worst teams inside the NCAA event. Northern Kentucky obtained out of a weak low-principal inside the Horizon League. The Norse genuinely impressed me final evening time and held strong with one among many supposed best teams inside the nation. Kelvin Sampson’s squad earned that No. 1 seed and was arguably basically the most fixed group inside the nation all by way of the common season. And Houston both was trying previous a group it knew it may simply defeat, or the upstart Norse actually uncovered what a Marcus Sasser-much less group seems like.

if you happen to take one among the best participant away from any good group, it obtained’t be as mighty anymore. Purdue with out Zach Edey is a bubble group and is liable to be having fun with inside the NIT proper now. Alabama with out Brandon Miller, which should be a actuality proper now with the off-courtroom drama surrounding the Crimson Tide, would’ve gotten a strong seed inside the large Dance, however seemingly extra in the direction of the 4-5 line. Sasser is that needle-mover for the Cougars. The drop-off with out the 6-foot-2 senior guard and seemingly NBA lottery decide as a consequence of a groin damage suffered inside the American Athletic convention event final week, is apparent. He was pulled at halftime by Sampson and Houston was inconsistent with out him.

Auburn had a exact toss-up matchup with Iowa on paper. The Tigers had been on a daily basis greater than their seeding, whereas Iowa wasn’t. The Hawkeyes have by no means had an prolonged time period inside the event beneath Fran McCaffery and this 12 months’s Kris Murray-led squad was no utterly different. The SEC outmuscled the large Ten. There’s no method round that. And Auburn can have thrown a pair of extra punches on the prime of the sport if needed. inside the nightcap, it was apparent by the prime of the sport how drained Northern Kentucky was. A group greater conditioned to play with Houston, which would possibly in all likelihood be every group the Cougars see the the rest of the season, will in all likelihood be in a place to take greater benefit of a susceptible, unmotivated squad. And if the scarcity of drive isn’t actuality for UH, it didn’t current it in the direction of the Norse. It additionally has a terrific likelihood for redemption in the direction of Auburn. however nothing’s assured. And Bruce Pearl-coached teams usually don’t miss when provided that variety of alternative.

It’s not clear if Sasser will play at 7:10 p.m. on TBS with a go to to the candy sixteen on the highway. it is clear that if he performs, he obtained’t be at full well being, which is already a downgrade from what we’ve anticipated from the Cougars for a lot of this season. Auburn is a group that’s gone by way of a bunch of adversity this season and nonetheless found its method safely into March madness. It’s a distinctive variety of lure to outline the adversity for Houston. Saying the Cougars have been by way of none can be foolish. Their paths of resistance have been examined in video games, with extra tangible rewards, like eleven extra wins than the Tigers this season, alongside the best method. That’ll imply little come Saturday evening time in Birmingham, a brief one hundred ten-mile journey from Auburn. And it might not be a dwelling sport for the AU, however it ought to really feel desire it from the gang. Houston’s strolling into enemy territory and that i don’t assume it’ll be strong ample to stroll out of the primetime matchup nonetheless with a season to play for.


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