Thursday, February 22, 2024

College basketball rankings: Auburn is 16-2, has chance to pick up first Quadrant 1 wins this week

The Tigers, who are up to No. 7 in the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1, face Alabama and Mississippi State this week


Exactly 96 schools have recorded at least one Quadrant 1 win so far this season. Auburn isn’t one of them, which is among the reasons Bruce Pearl’s team is arguably the sport’s most fascinating outfit. It’s a team that has consistently moved up in computers during an ongoing 11-game winning streak, but also one that lacks the type of needle-moving victories that most of its contemporaries already possess.

None of this is lost on Pearl, by the way.

He’s been a noted skeptic himself.

“[My players] were asking me, ‘Coach, are you impressed yet,” Pearl said after his Tigers beat Ole Miss 82-59 on Saturday to improve to 16-2 overall, 5-0 in the SEC. “I really haven’t been. Part of it is we just haven’t played that many ranked teams, but Ole Miss comes in ranked, and they’re a good team that’s really well-coached. To play that well and control the game like we did was impressive.”

The victories in this 11-game winning streak have come by an average of 21.8 points. Auburn has beaten five top-100 NET teams in the stretch — specifically No. 39 Texas A&M, No. 70 Ole MIss, No. 90 USC, No. 93 LSU and No. 100 Indiana.

But none of those are Q1 wins.

So the Tigers remain 0-2 in Q1 but 6-0 in Q2, 5-0 in Q3 and 5-0 in Q4. In a world where Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Memphis and FAU have all taken at least one Q3 loss, Auburn has avoided any mishaps outside of Q1. That’s a positive. But the Q1 column still needs a boost — and one could be on the way.

Auburn has two Q1 opportunities this week. First, the Tigers will play at Alabama on Wednesday. Then, they’ll play at Mississippi State on Saturday. Because Alabama and Mississippi State are both in the top 40 of the NET, and because road games against top 75 teams in the NET are Q1 opportunities, Auburn could be 18-2 overall, and 7-0 in the SEC, with two Q1 wins by this time next week. For now, the Tigers are No. 7 in Sunday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings, where Purdue remains No. 1 for the 11th consecutive day. The Boilermakers won at Iowa 84-70 on Saturday to record their national-best seventh Q1 victory.

Top 25 And 1 rankings

In: Utah | Out: San Diego State

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