The Tigers’ 19-game win streak was snapped on Tuesday night in a jam-packed Bud Walton Arena
Auburn only won by a point at Missouri two weeks ago, and by just two points at Georgia three days ago. So Bruce Pearl’s Tigers had been flirting with a second loss for a while now. It seemed like a matter of time.
The time came Tuesday night.
Final score: Arkansas 80, Auburn 76 in OT.
The Tigers have now lost for the first time since the day before Thanksgiving. The Razorbacks have now won nine straight games, the latest of which came in front of a record-setting crowd inside a wild Bud Walton Arena.
“There won’t be a better crowd than that in the next 50 years,” Arkansas coach Eric Musselman told reporters afterward. “Nobody that was here did not have fun — unless maybe an Auburn fan.”
Wendell Green Jr. was responsible for Auburn’s last four field goals in regulation, three of which came on layups. But for reasons that weren’t entirely clear, the Eastern Kentucky transfer, who is a 33.3% 3-point shooter, decided to pull from 35 feet in the final seconds of a tie contest. Predictably, he missed. So the game went to overtime, where Arkansas took a six-point lead and won by four.
Then the court was stormed.
Even with the loss, an argument can be made that Auburn still has the best resume in the country and thus could remain ranked No. 1. But the truth is that the Tigers have been a little shaky for a few weeks while Gonzaga has been destroying absolutely everybody in a way that’s moved Mark Few’s team to No. 1 in the NET, at KenPom.com, in BPI, Sagarin and at BartTorvik.com. The Zags’ adjusted efficiency margin is 6.07 points better than everybody else’s and, at +34.63, better than what Baylor finished with last season after winning the national championship.
So now that Auburn’s 19-game winning streak is snapped, and now that Gonzaga and Auburn are both two-loss teams, the Zags have moved back to No. 1 in Wednesday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings — but it’s not all bad for the Tigers. They’re still 22-2 overall, an SEC-best 10-1 in league games, 12-2 in the first two quadrants, and the only team in the country that hasn’t lost a game in regulation. That’s an incredible 24-game body of work that won’t allow me to drop Auburn any lower than No. 2 in the Top 25 And 1.
Top 25 And 1 rankings
5 Saint Mary’s