After the win over NC State last night, many people were quick to point out that the Tigers have just one loss since February. After the torrid finish to last season, in which Auburn reached the Final Four for the first time and came within an eyelash of playing for a national championship, Bruce Pearl’s guys have picked up right where they left off.
Auburn got drilled by Kentucky on February 23rd, then won twelve straight games. Included in that run was an SEC Tournament Championship and a trip to the Final Four. This year, the Tigers are 10-0 and the only remaining Power Five team still perfect. They’re one of just four teams overall that hasn’t suffered a loss, and Auburn will likely extend that record to 12-0 at the very least with Lehigh and Lipscomb on the horizon.
You might think that the Tigers’ slate has been cushy over the first month and change, but that’s not the case.
Auburn's opponents have a combined record of 76-39. They have played 8 teams with winning records, 1 at .500, and 3 with 10 wins or more— Gabe Keeter (@gabe_keeter) December 20, 2019
If you take away the games Auburn has played in, that overall record changes to 76-29, about a 6% increase in win percentage#WarEagle
Auburn’s played one of the tougher schedules in the country, and the fact that the Tigers are ranked first in the RPI attests to that notion as well. Anyone that was at Auburn Arena last night could see that the entire atmosphere and tone of the Auburn basketball program has changed from years past. A Thursday night game (late, nonetheless) less than a week before Thanksgiving when the students are on break and Star Wars is premiering in theaters would’ve been a recipe for a tepid crowd at best before a couple of years ago. Not anymore.
There’s really no point to this article except to show how Auburn compares to the “blue bloods” over the same time span, and then you can draw your own conclusions on how you’d like to use that information.
SINCE FEBRUARY 23rd, 2019 —
AUBURN: 22-1 (SEC Tournament Championship, Final Four)
DUKE: 18-4 (ACC Tournament Championship, Elite Eight)
NORTH CAROLINA: 13-7 (Sweet Sixteen)
KENTUCKY: 15-5 (Elite Eight)
GONZAGA: 18-3 (Elite Eight)
VIRGINIA: 20-2 (National Championship)
MICHIGAN STATE: 18-5 (Big Ten Tournament Championship, Final Four)
VILLANOVA: 14-5 (Big East Tournament Championship)
TENNESSEE: 14-6 (Sweet Sixteen)
Included in that list above are most of the current top ten and a couple of Auburn’s biggest SEC competitors. There are no teams on the list with more wins over that same span than Auburn’s got, and the only teams whose accomplishments compare to Auburn’s are Virginia (the Tigers’ only loss in that stretch) and Michigan State, who also got a tournament title and a Final Four berth. Auburn’s competition in the NCAA Tournament — Kansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky — have lost sixteen combined games in that time as well.
Let’s reiterate that this isn’t coming against some rag-tag Gonzaga schedule, either. Auburn is dominating some really good teams. Currently, we’ve faced the 4th toughest schedule in the country in 2019, and you know that the end of the previous season came against an absolute murderer’s row of competition. Bruce Pearl’s working some magic, and Auburn is only getting more and more established. The recruiting, the support, and the ability to win in different ways means that Auburn should be around for a little while. Buckle up. War Eagle.