Auburn’s 20-2 and 8-1 in the SEC at the midway point of the conference slate. I don’t believe even the hardest-Barning folks on the Plains could’ve seen this one coming. I sure didn’t, but this is absolutely one of the biggest treats we could be getting to start of 2018.
Last night, the Tigers ground out a big road win at Ole Miss, a place where Florida and Alabama failed to succeed, and a big second-half surge opened up a double-digit lead that ended in a 79-70 victory for Auburn.
Bryce Brown went off in the second half with 19 points, and he finished with 23 points, showing off a more interesting range, following missed three-pointers and finishing around the basket. He got stronger as the game went on.
How good has Bryce Brown been this season? He has already set or is currently averaging new career-highs in points (343 - 16.3 per game), minutes (31.2), shooting % (40.4), 3-point % (40.2), 3s made (72), 2s made (37), FTs made (53) and assists (45).— Josh Vitale (@AUBlog) January 31, 2018
It's not even February.
Our boy Daymeon Fishback was even singing Brown’s praises on the SEC Network telecast, saying that Bryce is playing like an All-SEC first-team selection. Leading the best team in the conference in scoring is a pretty solid way to get on that list, Bryce.
With the victory, Auburn sweeps Ole Miss on the year, and reaches 20 wins as well. It’s the first time in nearly a decade that the Tigers have hit that plateau, and look at the list of other teams around the country that have 20 victories before the end of January.
Only seven DI college basketball teams have won at least 20 games this season.— Scott Scroggins (@ScrogginsNoggin) January 31, 2018
If you’re not keeping score at home, those teams aside from Auburn are ranked #1, #2, #3, #5, #6, and #13. Auburn’s at #11, the lowest-ranked Power Five team on that list. Like I’ve mentioned, put nearly any other name on the front of the jersey, and Auburn’s a top-five team in the land. The Tigers are starting to get the respect they deserve, and so is the head coach.
Bruce Pearl is a National Coach of the Year candidate. And Auburn is the best team in the SEC. Amazing how things have changed in a few months.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) January 31, 2018
Oh, and it was a big night for the birthday boy as well. Desean Murray finished with 9 points, but 10 rebounds (5 offensive/5 defensive), and was a general terror around the rim. Happy birthday, Desean!
But hey, it’s only going to get tougher. Over the last half of the SEC schedule, Auburn will play some tougher competition. I don’t think anyone believes that the Tigers will finish 17-1 in the league with home games against Kentucky and Alabama, and a daunting trip to Florida on the horizon, but they’ll at least get to ease into the back half of the slate with Vandy and Texas A&M, who currently sit 13th and 14th in the SEC standings.
“The back half of our schedule, it’s daunting. You’ve got to win the games you can.”— Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) January 31, 2018
@coachbrucepearl on 79-70 @AuburnMBB win at Ole Miss.
(AU leads all-time series 75-60. Ole Miss leads in Oxford 41-24). pic.twitter.com/t4u46Opaon
Either way, we’re enjoying the ride that we’re on right now. It’s been a heck of a season, and there’s a lot more left to come. War Eagle!