Friday’s Sweet Sixteen matchups saw at least one gigantic upset, with the fifth-seeded Auburn Tigers taking down the top-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels 97-80 to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time in 33 years. Auburn fell behind 33-28 and 39-35 at points in the first half and only led 41-39 at the break, but they took over in the second half, building a 49-39 lead and then improving from there. And that led to an emotional interview from Tigers’ coach Bruce Pearl after the win:
Pearl then broke down talking about sophomore forward Chuma Okeke, who left the game with an injury after scoring a game-high 20 points (and adding 11 rebounds, two assists and two steals).
From that, it sounds like Okeke may not be able to return for the Elite Eight, where Auburn will play the winner of the Houston-Kentucky game. But the Tigers are moving on to that round for the first time since the 1985-86 season, back when they had the likes of Chuck Person. We’ll see how they do in that round this time around.