SAN DIEGO (AP) - No. 4 seed Auburn (25-7) vs. No. 13 seed College of Charleston (26-7)
First round, Midwest Region; San Diego, Friday, approximately 7:27 p.m. EDT
BOTTOM LINE: Auburn leads the series 3-0 and is in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003.
CLOUD OF UNCERTAINTY: Despite being snared in a scandal, Auburn won the SEC regular-season title and returned to the NCAAs for the first time in 15 years. Assistant coach Chuck Person was indicted as part of a federal investigation that cost two of Auburn's best players their eligibility. Person allegedly accepted bribes to steer players to a financial adviser once they turned pro and allegedly funneled money to the families of Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy. Neither played this season. Head coach Bruce Pearl has yet to submit to a formal interview with a law firm conducting an internal review of his program. That will presumably come after the season. At that time, President Steven Leath and new athletic director Allen Greene could possibly determine his fate.
GEOGRAPHICALLY CHALLENGED BRACKET: Charleston and Auburn had to travel more than 2,000 miles to face each other. Of the eight teams in San Diego, none is from closer than Las Cruces, New Mexico (New Mexico State). The Charleston-Auburn winner will face the winner of New Mexico State-Clemson. Clemson also had to travel nearly all the way across the country.
QUOTABLE: "I'm not going to comment specifically about that, but I am confident when everything is said and done, that I will still be coaching at Auburn," Pearl said when asked if he thinks he'll come out of the investigation OK.
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