Just like the days of the Iron Bowl at Legion Field, the center of college athletics in Alabama will once again be in Birmingham this week as the city will host Auburn and Alabama for the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers are a No. 9 seed and will face Iowa. Birmingham will host portions of the first and second rounds of the South and Midwest Regions.
While the two rivals will not meet in the city, fans from across the state will likely flock to Birmingham in support of either squad. Auburn's NCAA Tournament hopes seemed to be in jeopardy before the win over Tennessee, but even after the victory against the Vols seemed to clinch a berth, the destination for the Tigers was still up in the air.
Now, Bruce Pearl and the Tigers have their destination, a familiar one, and their opponent, the Iowa Hawkeyes (19-13, 11-9). Iowa is No. 39 in NET, going 4-7 in Quad 1 games, as well as 9-3 in Quad 2 matchups.
This will be history for the Tigers in more ways than one, as it is the 12th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament for Auburn and the fourth under head coach Bruce Pearl. Auburn is 6-3 in tournament games under Pearl. This will also be the first time Auburn and Iowa face off in men's college basketball.
The winner of that contest will have to face the winner of No. 1 Houston (32-3) vs No. 16 Northern Kentucky (22-12). Auburn and Iowa are scheduled to tip off on Thursday at 5:50 p.m. on TNT.
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