AUBURN – March and Auburn basketball have not gone together for over a decade, with the program’s last NCAA Tournament appearance coming in 2003. March is for spring football.March is for going outdoors.March is for watching college basketball – on TV.One year since his hiring, Bruce Pearl reminded Auburn what March can be about thanks to his team’s improbable, incredible and historic run in last week’s SEC Tournament.“It was year ago (Monday) I was sitting in his house talking to he and Brandy and his family about this job and signing a contract,” Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said. “Nobody would have ever guessed that we would have quite the run that we did in the SEC Tournament.”After closing the regular season with six straight losses and 12 of the last 14, Auburn gave fans a thrill last week with three wins in three days, the program’s best performance at the SEC Tournament since 1985. It all but erased Pearl’s inaugural record of 15-20 that few will care about or remember, or any of the bumps along the way.“It does take some of the pain away, it does,” Pearl said. “They got treated this (past) weekend to gosh, it’s Thursday and we’re still – it’s Friday and we’re still here – it’s Saturday and we’re still playing. All of a sudden at restaurants and bars and at work people are like what time’s the game and they’re starting to get off from work to go watch the game.“That’s March.”Pearl and a resilient bunch of rag tag players, nearly all of whom started their careers elsewhere, have quickly changed the culture of one of the worst programs in major college basketball.Pearl’s hiring one year ago upstaged the start of spring practice for the defending SEC Champions. From his jumping into a mosh pit of students at the airport to captivating Auburn Arena with his introductory press conference, Pearl took the Plains by storm and hasn’t stopped.A crowd gathered to celebrate the end of his NCAA show-cause on Aug. 24, he’s dropped in on college classes, been in a dunk tank and bought lunch for students, among countless other acts around campus over the last 12 months.Ever the showman, Pearl and his marketing background were instrumental in getting people back in the door of Auburn Arena after one of the worst four-year periods in program history.They came back, or arrived for the first time, in droves. Four sellout crowds – there were only five in the previous four years – helped drive attendance to 85.8 percent of capacity, third-best in the SEC and by far the highest in the five-year history of Auburn Arena.Spring football is under way again but it was basketball that was on people’s minds in mid-March.While attending the school’s alumni association Lifetime Achievement Awards event on Saturday, Auburn University president Dr. Jay Gogue suggested the gathering, historically held in March, change dates in the future because the basketball team might be playing some meaningful games in the years to come.“For me to hear that, that we were able to provide the combination of the hope and the product, is uplifting,” Pearl said.People have to think about Auburn basketball this time of year, and for good reasons.“The thing that is encouraging to me is we played our last (home) game against Georgia we had a sellout crowd,” Jacobs said. “We’ve got people are tailgating before basketball. That hasn’t happened in forever.“It was a fun time. We look forward to next year.”Year 2 starts today.