While the #4, #5, #7, #10, #12, #13, and #18 teams in the country all lost games this past week (some of those teams went 0-2 — WVU at #7 and UNC at #10), the Auburn Tigers went 2-0 to improve their record to 19-2 overall, and a full two games clear of everyone in the SEC except for Florida.
Auburn beat Missouri on the road 91-73, and then stormed past LSU in a laughably easy game 95-70 on Saturday night at home. The Plains are rocking with basketball fever, and now so is the rest of the country as they’ve started to finally take notice of the Tigers, and have ranked them a little more appropriately.
Auburn is ranked 11th in this week’s poll, which is basically uncharted territory this millennium. The Tigers haven’t been this high in the rankings since early February 2000, when they were ranked 9th.
To be frank, Auburn is still working against history here. If you put a different name on the front of the jerseys, this would like be a top six or seven team in the nation. In last week’s top 25, there were six other teams with two losses or less -- #1 Villanova, #2 Virginia, #3 Purdue, #4 Duke, #9 Cincinnati, and #16 St. Mary’s — and they were all ranked ahead of the Tigers. Auburn came in at 5th in the RPI immediately following Saturday’s victory, behind only Villanova, Virginia, Purdue, and Duke. In ESPN’s BPI, Auburn’s 14th.
Now, the Tigers have an opportunity to make even more hay in the rankings before a tough stretch in the SEC presents itself. Auburn travels to Oxford tomorrow night to play Ole Miss (watch out, though, the Rebels have been good at home), then Vanderbilt at home, Texas A&M at home, and at Georgia to finish out the next two weeks. Those teams are a combined 11-21 in the SEC right now, with Georgia, A&M, and Vandy sitting at 12th-14th in the conference standings. If Auburn sweeps those four games, the Tigers will be 23-2 overall, 11-1 in the league, and in a fantastic position for a regular season title. They’ll also likely be a top ten team in every ranking at that point.
Be still, my heart. War Eagle.