Saturday, January 22, 2022

College basketball rankings: Surging Auburn on road to battle in-state rival Alabama

The Tigers, the No. 2 team in the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1, have won 11 consecutive games


Tuesday night’s schedule is loaded with 11 games featuring at least one team listed in Tuesday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. Lots of them are interesting for various reasons — but the most interesting matchup, I think, is Auburn at Alabama.

I can’t wait for that one.

It’s a game between in-state rivals headed in different directions lately. Auburn is on an 11-game winning streak featuring seven victories in the first two quadrants — among them wins over LSU, Loyola Chicago and Florida. Meantime, Alabama is just 3-3 in its past six games and in possession of the weirdest resume in the sport. The Crimson Tide have four Quadrant I wins. They’ve beaten Gonzaga, Houston, Tennessee and Florida. That’s great. But they’ve also lost two games outside of the first quadrant — specifically a neutral-court game with Iona and this past weekend’s road contest against a Missouri team that’s ranked 199th in the NET. What that suggests is that Alabama can beat pretty much anybody or lose to pretty much anybody. Such has been the case at least through the first 15 games of this season. The Crimson Tide’s ceiling remains high. But they’re not shooting it from three, or guarding, the way they did last season, and that’s made them susceptible to upsets they were mostly able to avoid last season.

So what should we expect Tuesday?

Who knows?

But both teams feature likely one-and-done lottery picks — Jabari Smith at Auburn, JD Davison at Alabama. That’s fun. And if Bruce Pearl’s Tigers want to remain No. 2 in the Top 25 And 1, they’ll need to extend their winning streak to 12 games via a win as a 3-point underdog inside Coleman Coliseum, a place where they last won in March 2019.

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Top 25 And 1 rankings

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