VIDEO: Barkley, Ludacris, Mike Epps make Auburn's Madness a big one

By Matt Norlander | Staff Writer

Auburn pulled out the stops for its fan-friendly festivities over the weekend.

"I've been blessed and lucky to go all over the world. Ain't no place I'd rather be than Auburn, Alabama," Charles Barkley told the crowd at his alma mater on Friday night.

Auburn held its Jungle Jam -- the Tigers' version of Midnight Madness -- in advance of a pretty critical season for head coach Tony Barbee. Barbee enters his fourth season with the program having averaged 11.6 wins in the first three campaigns.

In addition to Barkley, the Tigers brought in Ludacris and rapper/comedian Mike Epps. That's Epps engaging Barkley to bop in the Instagram video above. According to the school more than 7,300 people showed, which is an impressive pull in football-frenzied Alabama.

"I loved it," Barbee said afterward. "It was a celebration of Auburn basketball. Getting Mike Epps and Ludacris was big just to bring the energy to the building, and they definitely did that. Mike was funny and obviously Luda is a great performer. On top of it the fans got a chance to get an early glimpse of the team. It was a celebration of the Jungle too. Our student section has been the best since I have been here. This was an opportunity for me to give back to them because I know they are fans of both Mike and Ludacris. All combined I think it was a win for everybody. I think it was a great night."

Barkley has been a frequent attendee to Auburn hoop games in the past, and this year is as critical as ever for the program to stay in the thick of a 14-team SEC that will probably be better than last season overall.

Auburn's season starts at home on Nov. 8 against Nicholls State.

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