Auburn was the nation’s biggest riser in the polls when they were released yesterday, with the Tigers jumping from #19 to #11 in the AP Poll, and up to #13 in the Coaches’ Poll. That ascension comes after two blowout wins over the last week, as the Tigers scored over 90 points in wins over Missouri and LSU.
At this point, it would take a collapse of the highest proportions to keep Auburn out of the Big Dance, and the question just seems to be how high to place the Tigers after each successive win. The rise in the polls is synonymous with a rise in Bracketology across the board. Let’s check in with the experts to see where they’ve got Auburn heading in the NCAA Tournament.
New bracket, new overall No. 1. For now. https://t.co/ZpHHp78N1O— Jerry Palm (@jppalmCBS) January 29, 2018
Jerry Palm’s got Auburn as a 2-seed in the South Region (Virginia as the 1-seed) playing Stephen F. Austin in the opening round. If the Tigers got by SFA, they’d play the winner of the 7-10 matchup pitting Miami (FL) against Providence. It would be a fairly doable task to get to the Sweet 16, where they may see Michigan State.
ESPN’s resident expert, Joe Lunardi, has Auburn as a 2-seed as well. He’s got Auburn in the East Region with Villanova as the top seed, and the Tigers would be taking on Penn in the 2-15 bout. This bracket may be a little tougher, simply because the Tigers may see 10-seed Texas in the second round, and the Longhorns’ length with Mo Bamba would be tough to defend.
If you check out SI’s latest bracket, they highlight Auburn as one of the teams to watch as a Final Four contender (honestly, I just want to win a game at this point, but let’s go for broke!).
One thing you’ll learn from @MBeller’s latest bracket projection? Auburn is definitely a Final Four contender https://t.co/VRNjobg2E3 pic.twitter.com/W0F8pdSW7y— SI College Hoops (@si_ncaabb) January 29, 2018
This is the third bracket we’ve posted and it’s the third different region that Auburn’s placed into. Here, SI puts the Tigers as the 2-seed in the Midwest Region with Purdue as the 1-seed. Auburn would face off against Northeastern to start, and wouldn’t have a bad draw with Arizona State or Providence as the possible opponent in the Round of 32. If the Tigers got through to the Sweet Sixteen, they may face a long and lean North Carolina team.
And if you want the really fun stuff, you’ve probably seen that Auburn’s a big favorite of the RPI rankings, placing as high as 5th in that regard. RealTimeRPI.com has the Tigers as a 1-seed (albeit in the West Region). That draw would end up being very favorable for Auburn, with Texas a possible matchup in the next round, but other than that, nobody that’s incredible. If Auburn somehow drew that group, I’d all but pencil them in to the Elite Eight out of the gate.
It’s crazy that we went from one-and-done in the SEC Tournament last year, and now we’re talking about the possibility of a #1 seed. Some people, including Joe Lunardi, have Auburn as the automatic qualifier out of the SEC, which means the Tigers would win the SEC Tournament. With the way the Tigers are playing now, can you blame them?
Not one bit! War Eagle!