With Kentucky in Town, Auburn Gets Another Chance to ‘Make History’ After It Was Judgment By AP’s Top 25 Voters

AUBURN, Ala. – Among the first things you see when you walk into Auburn’s dressing room is a sign with the Tigers logo. Both sides exchanged words. They don’t read “Auburn Basketball” or “Win Today” or anything like that. Instead, the only two words currently are the following two: “Create history.”

History was almost made last Monday.

The Tigers have never been #1 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll – but they have the track record to get there, and thus make history, following last weekend’s victory at Ole Miss. They have the best national record in the first two quadrants and as many Quadrant 1 wins as anyone else. They had the sport’s longest winning streak. They are the only team that has not lost according to the rules. They have the best record power. They are the #1 overall seed in every predicted sensitive person NCAA Tournament brackets, including CBS Sports ‘Jerry Palm’s. So not surprisingly, when the AP votes were tabulated, Auburn received 11 votes in first place more than any other school. But for a named voter Jon Wilnerwriter for San Jose Mercury Newshad Auburn sixth on her ballot, and another named Jesse Newellwriter for Kansas City Starshad Auburn ninth on her ballot, Bruce Pearl’s Tigers finished four points behind Gonzaga, first or second out of 59 out of 61 votes.

“We had the opportunity to make history,” Pearl told me. “But one voter, I guess, voted for us ninth.”

Yes, that’s what happened.

And before you argue that it doesn’t really matter as it is merely a poll in January that will have nothing to do with who wins the 2022 NCAA Tournament, you should know that Pearl disagrees with you. . He took Tennessee to No. 1 in the AP poll for the first time in history in 2008. That’s important. Now he’s desperate to do the same at Auburn, and he’s admittedly disappointed that so many voters who don’t prioritize victory have sent in their ballots, leaving his program four points off the top of the table. .

“We have the best resume – and it’s not even close to that,” Pearl said. “And rankings are important. They matter. I guess people [No. 1] all the time, maybe they can say it doesn’t matter. But it’s important to us. “

So here we are, less than 24 hours from the 12th-ranked Kentucky game on CBS in what many are calling the biggest game in Auburn Arena history, and Pearl has another chance to make history, infinitely, by repeating it. 1 in the AP poll in 2008, he did it by beating a team coached by John Calipari two days before the AP poll was updated. Now, if he beats another Calipari-trained team two days before the AP poll updates again, it’s reasonable to believe Auburn will move up to No. 1 on Monday – not necessarily. because the Tigers would overtake Gonzaga in any vote, but because it would be nearly impossible for even AP’s top voters to keep Auburn in the ninth or even sixth low. And, remember, all Auburn had to do to get past Gonzaga was create a four-point gap.

So yes, this is a big event.

The building is clearly sold out. Students began camping around the arena here early Friday. As of Friday night, standing room-only tickets cost no less than $300 per entry StubHub.

People want to see Auburn make history.

If the Tigers win, they will improve to 18-1 overall, 7-0 in the SEC and extend their winning streak to 15 games. If the Tigers win, they’ll be 6-1 in Quadrant 1 games and 11-1 in the first two quadrants, which would be the best record in the country. If the Tigers win, the team that Pearl accurately described earlier this week as the best in the nation will become even stronger if it will include a win over a Kentucky team that finished third at the KenPom.com and 10th in NET.

The stakes are very high.

In a nutshell, for absurd reasons, Auburn didn’t advance to No. 1 in last Monday’s AP poll and make history like that sign in the dressing room asks the players to do. But if the Tigers cross Kentucky on Saturday afternoon, they’ll most likely make history this Second, better late than never.

https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/with-kentucky-in-town-auburn-gets-another-chance-to-make-history-after-it-was-snubbed-by-ap-top-25-voters/ With Kentucky in Town, Auburn Gets Another Chance to ‘Make History’ After It Was Judgment By AP’s Top 25 Voters

John Verrall

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