Auburn men’s basketball finds itself in pleasantly unfamiliar territory. In the most recent AP poll, Auburn is ranked No. 8. That moves them three spots ahead of their previous position; it’s the highest rank for an Auburn men’s basketball team since the turn of this century – 2000.
Bruce Pearl has trekked down a tough road, paving this season’s success throughout the past four years. Now, his time and effort appear to have come to fruition. At least, the blueprint looks solid.
Auburn host a streaky Texas A&M squad that plays poorly on the road, but still has a plethora of talent. Texas A&M has been putrid away from home while Auburn has yet to lose at Auburn Arena this season. Pearl’s unit, the current SEC standings leader, is favored and should be.
Nonetheless, the Tigers must play well to avoid losing to the Aggies, whose non-conference schedule has propped up their poor league play. A&M cannot afford to drop many more games if they want to make a run at the NCAA tournament. A road win against a top-10 Auburn team would be a huge step in the right direction.
Take a gander at this week’s version of Painter’s Points.
- No. 8 the highest ranking Auburn has earned in nearly two decades (18 years)
- Auburn is currently ranked ahead of blue bloods Duke (No. 9), Kansas (No. 10) and Kentucky (No. 24)
- Auburn carries a five-game win streak into Auburn Arena versus Texas A&M
- Auburn made a season-high 17 three-pointers against Vanderbilt
- The Tigers are ranked No. 5 in RPI
- Auburn’s 15-year NCAA tournament drought could end with Auburn as a No. 1 seed, although more projections have them listed as a No. 2 seed
- The NCAA denied Austin Wiley’s appeal – he will remain ineligible for the entire season
- Auburn has appealed, and still awaits a decision from the NCAA, on Danjel Purifoy’s eligibility
- Auburn is seventh in the country in scoring per game
- The Tigers are No. 33 in rebounds per game even without a traditional center
- 1986 was the last year Auburn men’s basketball won a tournament game