SEC Basketball Is Getting Roasted Across The Internet After Auburn’s Stunning Loss To Yale

Auburn Yale basketball

The nerds from Yale run a Moneyball version of a basketball program, and yet somehow found a way to knock off the SEC tournament champion Auburn in the Round of 64 on Friday.

John Poulakidas led the way with 28 points for the victorious Bulldogs, so let’s acknowledge how well they played to get the job done and advance as a 13th seed. What a bonkers finish they had to endure just to come away with the win.

But damn. Talk about a freezing cold take from Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl, whose squad indeed looked poised for a March Madness run after tearing through the conference tourney.

Prior to the tip-off of the NCAA Tournament, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was publicly advocating for the Big Dance field to shrink. That is, allow more power conference programs into the bracket, and shut out the mid-major Cinderella who become instant legends and capture the hearts and minds of America.

Sucks to suck, man. Between what Auburn did on Friday and Kentucky’s awful loss to Oakland that has the FBI on alert, the SEC just ain’t cutting it when it matters most this postseason.

For fuller context, here’s what Sankey said to ESPN before the SEC sh*t the bed:

“The bandwidth inside the top 50 is highly competitive. We are giving away highly competitive opportunities for automatic qualifiers [from smaller leagues], and I think that pressure is going to rise as we have more competitive basketball leagues at the top end because of expansion.”

“Giving away” automatic bids to programs from smaller schools who, Sankey implies, don’t deserve it, or don’t truly earn it. Meanwhile, Auburn is losing their first game as automatic qualifiers thanks to their SEC tournament triumph, and Yale is over here like…

Look at what Poulakidas just did for Yale, or take the electrifying performance by Oakland’s Jack Gohlke when he canned 10 3-pointers on John Calipari’s hapless Kentucky squad. Imagine being robbed of that in favor of a brand-name SEC team. It’d be such a bummer.

Amazingly, as Yale’s upset was wrapping up, 10th-seeded Colorado also knocked off their SEC foe Florida on a sick, shooter’s-touch winning bucket by KJ Simpson.

College basketball is at a weird stage at the minute where there aren’t many visible men’s stars, and the women’s Final Four is outselling that of the dudes by a hell of a lot (h/t Caitlin Clark). Zero standard sports fans would’ve sought out the names of Gohlke or Poulakidas if not for what they just did on the biggest stage in NCAA hoops. First of all, their names are hard as f*ck to spell and require a constant copy+paste maneuver upon repeat references. Secondly, the basketball programs of Oakland and Yale were not in the top 100,000 things in my head until the past 24 hours. Now it’s like a case of inception where I feel like I’ve cared the whole time, but just needed sleeper-cell mental preprogramming triggers to remind me.

Glad to know many folks out here on the Internets feel the same way I do about how excellent the NCAA Tournament is, and why Sankey’s elitist insistence on exclusivity rings hollow.

So no way, Greg Sankey. Don’t tighten up the NCAA Tournament. Your own conference hasn’t earned that pernicious privilege. The Big Dance is perfect as is with 64 teams. A nice, even number. Plenty of powerhouse/blue blood programs. Just enough Cinderellas to make things lovely and interesting. A four-day stretch whose peaks rival anything in American sports, if only for those 96 hours of the calendar year. Don’t touch. No touchie. Let it be. Please.


A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock