MINNEAPOLIS (WBRC) - Even though Auburn knocked off three blue bloods in a row to make it to the big stage, the Tigers are still being overlooked and that's exactly how they like it.
"We've beat good teams. We still get the lower rankings and that's fine with us because we still have things to prove," said Auburn forward Danjel Purifoy.
"It truly helps us, the game we've been picked to lose, that definitely boost our chip and gives us extra motivation, we have guys who are made for moments like these," added Auburn guard Bryce Brown.
Auburn will be without star forward Chuma Okeke, who had ACL surgery Tuesday. He did not make the trip, but the Tigers bench is ready for whosoever’s name is called.
"We need everybody rebounding I'm going to try and get every rebound I can especially with Chuma out, I'm going to try my best to rebound, but we will need everyone," said Auburn guard Samir Doughty.
"We are doing this for Chuma. We are going to play for him and play hard for him," said Auburn forward Horace Spencer.
Auburn says they have not faced a team like Virginia this season. The Tigers play fast. Virginia doesn't.
"They're a much slower team than us. We will play our style, continue to get points in transition but we may have to make more threes than usual," said Brown.
"We're going to do our best to speed them up a little bit and make them play faster, ,we're not going to play their game and play slow," added guard Malik Dunbar.
Auburn and Virginia last met in 2009 on the Plains when the Tigers squeaked by with a 1-point win. No five seed has ever won a national championship, but Auburn is now two games away from changing that statistic.
"We believe we can do this and we feel like we should be here," said Samir Doughty.
No. 5 Auburn and No. 1 Virginia tip-off Saturday at 5:09 p.m. CT at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.