The Auburn Tigers were the last chance left for a Cinderella story in the 2019 March Madness college basketball tournament. The Chuma Okeke injury likely dashed those hopes.
In a tournament where fans all over the country cheer first for their home team and second for the plucky underdog to shake things up, this year’s March Madness tournament is slightly boring in that regard.
The Elite Eight sees three number one seeds, two number two seeds, one number three seed, and a fifth seed. That fifth seed, the Auburn Tigers, upset the number one seed, North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen.
Their top star Chuma Okeke was carried off the court in the win over North Carolina on Friday night and head coach Bruce Pearl said in an emotional interview that he believes “it’s serious.”
The 6-foot-8, 230-pound sophomore scored 20 points before his injury, including hitting three 3-point shots in the game. He also had 11 rebounds for a double-double.
Without him, the Tigers are undermanned, even though they still have Jared Harper and Bryce Brown.
The bad news is that he won’t be on the court when the Auburn Tigers head into the Elite Eight to battle the Kentucky Wildcats on Sunday.
The worse news is that the MRI today might end up ruling him out for the rest of the tournament, even if they get past Kentucky.
This is the deepest Auburn has been in the March Madness tournament and the Chuma Okeke injury might have ended their hopes.
The Chuma Okeke injury updates will not come fast, and the best that we can hope for is to hear his availability since he is a student-athlete and is protected by privacy laws.