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Auburn’s Bruce Pearl Was Snubbed (Again) for SEC Coach of the Year
AP Photo/Julie Bennett

Take a look at the Southeastern Conference men’s basketball standings. Go ahead, do it. The Kentucky Wildcats, led by head coach John Calipari, are at the top. Right below them sit the Bruce Pearl-guided Auburn Tigers, who boast an identical 25-6 overall record.

The SEC released its postseason awards this week and somehow got it wrong. Coach Calipari took home SEC Coach of the Year honors despite Pearl clearly deserving it more. How is it that Auburn’s head coach, who took the Tigers to their first-ever Final Four last year and have them ready for another SEC Tournament and NCAA Tournament run, hasn’t received coach of the year recognition in either season?

Bruce Pearl was 100-percent snubbed, and someone needs to hear it.

Why Bruce Pearl Deserved SEC Coach of the Year

Never mind that Auburn has lost four of its last seven games, three of which came against shoddy opponents like Missouri, Georgia and Texas A&M. Look at the body of work.

The Tigers are 12-6 in SEC play, which is tied with the LSU Tigers for second place.

Pearl and Co. began the year 15-0. They picked up a big win over the Kentucky Wildcats at home on February 1, took care of LSU at home in overtime during the regular season and are currently the only other conference team ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 besides Kentucky.

​Here’s the thing, though: Pearl has done more, if not the same, with less talent than Calipari.

Calipari has two First-Team All-SEC players at his disposal, one of which is SEC Player of the Year Immanuel Quickley. Auburn has one in Samir Doughty.

Kentucky has reeled in the No. 2 recruiting class each of the last three years. Auburn’s best class in that span was last year, when Pearl posted the No. 20 recruiting class still behind SEC programs like UK, Florida and Georgia.

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Shoot, in 2018, Auburn didn’t even crack the top-10 recruiting classes in the conference.

Pearl isn’t nabbing five-star recruits left and right like Calipari, yet here Auburn is once again primed for a postseason run under the 59-year-old college basketball coach.

What’s even crazier is that the Associated Press overlooked Pearl altogether and tabbed another men’s basketball coach, Texas A&M’s Buzz Williams, as the SEC Coach of the Year. Huh? The Aggies are sixth in the conference.

I get that Pearl has a troubled past with NCAA violations and what not, but this is a little ridiculous. Give the guy some freakin’ credit.

2020 SEC Men’s Basketball Postseason Awards:

First Team All-SEC

Kira Lewis Jr., Alabama

Mason Jones, Arkansas

Samir Doughty, Auburn

Keyontae Johnson, Florida

Immanuel Quickley, Kentucky

Nick Richards, Kentucky

Skylar Mays, LSU

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Breein Tyree, Ole Miss

Reggie Perry, Mississippi State

Second Team All-SEC

John Petty Jr., Alabama

Isaac Okoro, Auburn

Kerry Blackshear Jr., Florida

Anthony Edwards, Georgia

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Tyrese Maxey, Kentucky

Maik Kotsar, South Carolina

John Fulkerson, Tennessee

Saben Lee, Vanderbilt

All-Freshman Team

Jaden Shackelford, Alabama

Isaac Okoro, Auburn

Scottie Lewis, Florida

Anthony Edwards, Georgia

Tyrese Maxey, Kentucky

Trendon Watford, LSU

Jermaine Couisnard, South Carolina

Scotty Pippen Jr., Vanderbilt

All-Defensive Team

Herbert Jones, Alabama

Isaac Okoro, Auburn

Ashton Hagans, Kentucky

Nick Richards, Kentucky

Yves Pons, Tennessee

Coach of the Year: John Calipari, Kentucky

Player of the Year: Immanuel Quickley, Kentucky

Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Skylar Mays, LSU

Freshman of the Year: Anthony Edwards, Georgia

Sixth-Man of the Year: Tyson Carter, Mississippi State

Defensive Player of the Year: Yves Pons, Tennessee

MORE: Auburn’s All-Time Starting 5 is as Dominant as It Gets

Patrick has spent parts of the last four years covering University of Florida athletics and spent two seasons with Major League Baseball. He's a baseball junkie who spends his days defending Derek Jeter and the Miami Marlins. A recent Gator grad, Patrick currently resides in Gainesville, Florida.
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