Bruce Pearl calls playing Duke basketball program a 'tremendous responsibility'

The respect is high entering the ACC vs. SEC Challenge between the Blue Devils and Tigers
Auburn v Duke; Bruce Pearl coaches against the Duke basketball program
Auburn v Duke; Bruce Pearl coaches against the Duke basketball program / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

The ACC vs. SEC matchup for the Duke basketball program might not be what many people were expecting, but the Aubrun Tigers will provide another quality opponent for the Blue Devils and Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl knows how special the game will be.

In a press release published by the Auburn basketball program, Pearl said, "It's hard to put in perspective exactly what this opportunity means for our Auburn Basketball program."

"To be selected by ESPN and our conference, to compete against one of the greatest programs in the history of college basketball, is tremendous recognition for where our program is at right now."

It will be the fifth all-time meeting between Duke and Auburn, the first since 2018 when the two squads battled in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational. The Blue Devils are 4-0 against the Tigers and it will be the first time that Auburn has played inside Cameron Indoor Stadium since 1981.

Duke fell in the inaugural ACC vs. SEC Challenge last season on the road against Arkansas while Auburn defeated Virginia Tech at home.

"It's also a tremendous responsibility," Pearl continued.

"Personally, coaching in Cameron Indoor Stadium against head coach Jon Scheyer and the Duke Basketball program will be extremely meaningful to me. I know that it will be the same for our players and coaching staff."

Auburn is coming off an SEC Tournament Championship before losing in the Round of 64 of the NCAA Tournament to Yale.

The Tigers return its Third Team All-American, Johni Broome, for his final year of eligibility after averaging 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds last season, winning the Most Valuable Player of the SEC Tournament as well as being a First Team All-SEC selection.

Duke will have championship aspirations of its own behind Cooper Flagg, the presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2025 NBA Draft.