AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - Basketball fever is back in full swing here on the Plains, and there’s no sign of another great season for the Tigers like the village of tents being pitched outside Neville Arena.
For the third straight year, students began camping outside Neville Arena the day before the game started, waiting to get in to witness the Auburn Tigers as they took on cross-state rivals the Alabama Crimson Tide. The tradition began back in 2021, as Auburn was preparing to face Kentucky with a chance of being ranked #1 in the AP poll for the first time in program history. The afternoon before the game, students began lining up and waiting to get in, and by the time the sun went down “Pearlville” was born.
With so many students gathering last Tuesday before the Iron Bowl of basketball, it drives the question of why they are willing to camp out for a game so far in advance.
“We were literally just sitting at Panda Express and decided, let’s camp out, why not,” said Jack from Lagrange, GA.
“It’s Bama, it’s cold, we’re sad we lost last game but we have to come back from that and show our support,” said Jackson, Jack's friend.
The feeling around Pearlville was optimistic, as fans were anticipating a big win from the Tigers. Students who predicted the scores unanimously predicted an Auburn win against Alabama, and many had high hopes for the rest of the season.
Amongst all the students mingling, members of the basketball team also decided to join in, as players were spotted various times throughout the night passing out snacks and socializing with their supporters. The players for the Auburn Men's Basketball team have spoken in the past about what the dedication from the fans means for them.
“It’s amazing, actually, because I have never been at a school where people are this dedicated. That’s why I came out here and try to talk to them a little bit because you have to show love back to the people. That’s the reason why I play like I do, I try to interact with them as much as I can, it’s all love. Like KD said today you love us we’re gonna love y’all," said Chad Baker-Mazara.
Auburn Men's Basketball will face off against South Carolina in Neville this Wednesday, Feb. 14.