Auburn men’s basketball shot up the AP Poll this week after an impressive 18-point road victory against Missouri and a 25-point drubbing of LSU at Auburn Arena. Now, sitting atop the SEC, ranked No. 11 in the most recent AP Poll, Auburn faces the pressures of being hunted instead of playing the role of the hunters.
Sophomore point guard Jared Harper believes his team will be prepared for these challenges. Earlier this week he said, “I think everybody wants to beat us.”
Harper might be right. Outside their lone league loss to rival Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Auburn has been nearly perfect in league play –– particularly during the second half. Against Missouri, and especially at the beginning of their most recent game, the Tigers looked unstoppable from start to finish. Mustapha Heron scored 16 points during the first five minutes and Auburn never looked back.
For Harper and his team, it’s not only that they are beating opponents with regularity, Auburn’s ability to score like rapid fire can quickly put an opponent on the ropes.
Harper also said, “I think we’re probably the hottest team in the SEC right now, so a win against us would mean a lot. We understand that, and we know we have to come in every game and play like it’s for the SEC Championship.”
Auburn takes on Ole Miss Tuesday at 8 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.
• It’s been a decade since Auburn beat Ole Miss in Oxford
• The last time Auburn defeated Ole Miss on the road: Feb. 16, 2008 (per James Crepea of AL.com)
• 25 points: Auburn’s margin of victory against LSU at Auburn Arena; a game that displayed the Tigers’ full force if they start hot and play focused for two halves
• No. 11: Auburn’s current standing in the AP poll
• Auburn’s No. 11 rank is the program’s highest mark since February 2000
• During the spring of 2000 the team climbed as high as No. 8 in the nation (per Josh Vitale of OANews)
• Auburn has scored 50 points in a single half 10 times during 2018
• Eight of those 50-point halves came during the second half – Auburn has sometimes struggled at the beginning of matches, but thrived during latter stretches of games
• Auburn is ranked No. 7 in RPI
• Auburn is ranked No. 9 in Ken Pom’s rankings
• Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl doesn’t expect his team will overlook Ole Miss – he said, “Obviously with Ole Miss being undefeated at home and having the run that they’ve had against us, it’s a tough matchup for us.”
• Per College Poll Tracker, Auburn was ranked by AP Voters this week as high as No. 7 and as low as No. 21