Thursday, January 20, 2022

College basketball rankings: Auburn vaults to No. 2 in Top 25 And 1 as Tigers extend winning streak

College basketball rankings: Auburn vaults to No. 2 in Top 25 And 1 as Tigers extend winning streak

Auburn’s victory over Florida on Saturday pushed the winning streak for the Tigers to 11 games

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CBS Sports Graphic

Kentucky was the official preseason pick to win the SEC, according to the media who cover the league, and the Wildcats might still do it. They’re good. But, according to KenPom, it is Auburn that has emerged as the favorite through nine weeks of this season after Bruce Pearl’s team extended its winning streak to 11 games Saturday with an 85-73 victory over Florida.

The Tigers are now 14-1.

“I’m just having fun with my teammates, loving Auburn, and just working to win,” Auburn freshman Jabari Smith said in a televised postgame interview following his 13-point, five-rebound performance.

Smith was one of four Tigers who scored at least 13 points against Florida, which trailed for the final 37:25 of the game. In other words, Auburn, per usual, controlled things pretty much from start to finish while improving to 7-1 in the first two quadrants. FYI: the only team that has won at least seven games in the first two quadrants with a higher winning percentage in games played in the first two quadrants is undefeated and top-ranked Baylor. So if you’re wondering why I’ve moved Auburn to No. 2 in Sunday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings, it’s rooted in the argument that the Tigers, in my opinion, now have the second-best resume in college basketball. Their lone loss is a double-overtime loss to UConn nearly seven weeks ago.

Auburn will spend this week on the road — first for Tuesday’s game at Alabama, then for Saturday’s game at Ole Miss. So extending this winning streak to 12 or 13 games won’t be simple. But, for what it’s worth, the Tigers do look like a team built to win road games in the SEC. They’re very good offensively, even better defensively, and the byproduct of a roster with an ideal mix of legitimate NBA talent and valuable college experience.

Will these Tigers march to the Final Four like the 2019 team did?

As always, we’ll see.

But, there’s no denying, they definitely look the part.

Top 25 And 1 rankings

IN: Illinois, Miami, Oklahoma

OUT: Texas, Colorado State, Alabama

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